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Murdered gay barman ‘may have been sexually assaulted’

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  1. This gets more and more confusing for me as an observer through the media (and I realise that has its limitations due to the lack of information, and that it may be perfectly responsible for Strathclyde Police to limit the information in the public domain to ensure the integrity of the investigation).

    Clearly some in the community view this as a homophobic crime given the media frenzy on Sunday evening and yesterday. Yet (for whatever reason) the police are playing this down as a line of enquiry. This seems to be in breach of the guidance on hate crimes investigation from ACPOS.

    There was some mention of historic assaults against Mr Walker and a report to fiscal in connection with him by Sky News yesterday.

    Now there is mention of a possible sexual assault prior to the murder.

    Clearly, given that sexual assault is often more about having power over a victim than about the sex – this could also be perpetrated as a homophobic attack (although not without a paradox!).

    I would …

    1. … make three more observations at this stage:

      1) My thoughts, condolences and best wishes remain with Mr Watsons family and friends at what must be an incredibly difficult time for them
      2) I wish Strathclyde Police well in what is clearly a difficult and high profile investigation and hope they solve it expeditiously
      3) I suggest Strathclyde Police engage in more community and media support towards the local and wider LGBT communities as the mixed messages they are sending on this case is unsettling and confusing.

    2. Stu

      Sexual assualt/or rape is always about power and control you can’t rape someone lovingly.

      1. @James!

        I agree that rape or sexual assault is always about power and control …

        What I was trying to say, perhaps slightly clumsily, is that some offenders will actually enjoy the sexual element as well as the power, to others the sex is almost irrelevant – it is entirely about the power and the sex is a particularly humiliating method by which to exercise that power …

        Hope that clarifies?

        1. Im sure the perp gets pleasure from the act wether it needs to be categorised is debatable

    3. I am sure that the police are more than capable of investigating this crime without the need for back-seat drivers.
      I am also sure that some people in the community may see this as being possibly homophobic, so what? That most certainly doesn’t make it so no matter what rubbish the press decide to make up.
      The police have made it perfectly clear that, to date, there is no evidence that indicates this was a hate crime. They have also clearly stated that they have not ruled that out and are following a number of lines of enquiry including the possibility of it being a hate crime. As it has not been established as a hate crime then the ACPOS guidelines do not apply. That is not to say they haven’t been following such guidelines anyway.
      Public reassurance and community impact assessments have been done.
      A young man has been killed, let the police do their job and less harmful speculation please.

      1. @WTF

        I am sure the police are capable of investigating …

        I am equally sure, that Strathclyde Police would engage with constructive criticism of how they can improve and adapt their handling of cases. If they are not responsive to constructive criticism then that in itself speaks of arrogance and lack of community cohesion.

        You clearly have not read the ACPOS guidelines on hate crime investigation … I suggest you go back and re-read them before presuming they do not apply …

        I have no doubt that community impact assessments will have been done …. whether they were sophisticated enough and whether they are being followed with rigor is less obvious …

        As for public reassurance, well, Strathclyde Police may think they are ensuring this, but from my perspective this is the area they are catastrophically failing in …

        I want the police to do their job and catch the killer. I want them to add to their resources and be more sophisticated in how they handle their reassurance

        1. All you are doing, Stu, is adding speculation to speculation. Nothing is actually based on any facts of the case as revealed by the police. As you know, the police will not reveal specific details when a murder enquiry is ongoing. That could compromise the whole investigation, something none of us want. The family, friends and community are fully behind the police and actively urging people to come forward with information. At this stage, surely that is more important. You can be ‘constructive’ all you want once someone is behind bars and the police have completed their investigation.
          The reason the ACPOS guidelines do not apply is that the police, as they have already stated, have not established the motive, hate or otherwise. As the guidelines qualify, the ‘hate element’ has to be evident regardless of who ‘perceives’ it to be motivated by hate. If I ‘perceived’ all gay victims of crime were victims of a hate crime, does that mean they all are? Of course not. That equally must be

        2. supported by ‘active ill will or evidence of vindictive feelings towards and individual or their perceived association with a social group’ and the crime is based on the ‘motivation of malice or ill will towards a social group’…..these are the key elements together with whomever perceives it, as the guidelines clearly specify.
          As for public reassurance, the police have held press conferences and clearly stated that there is no evidence at this stage to suggest any element of homophobia but that they are not ruling it out. What more re-assurance do you want. Surely, if they said it was a hate crime, then had to retract because it wasn’t, that would cause unnecessary alarm to the community.
          The only lack of reassurance is coming from the speculation mongers!

          1. @WTF

            The guidelines state:

            “If a crime is perceived to be a hate crime by the victim or
            any other person, including a police officer, it should be
            recorded and investigated as such”

            Therefore, even though the motive may not have been fully established the guidelines are relevant to the offence as “any person” perceives the crime as a hate crime. It may be that during the invesitgation that further evidence is found that establishes that the crime was motivated for entirely different reasons – in which case the hate crime guidance can (if deemed a reasonable act) be discontinued. Until the motivation is known, the guidance should be followed.

            You (whether deliberately or not) misinterpret some of my views. I do not (and I thought I had made this clear – so perhaps I need to deliver more clarity this time) believe that every crime experienced by a gay person is necessarily a homophobic crime, some will be – some will not.

            However, where there is good reason to suspect …

          2. … homophobia as a possible motive then the ACPOS guidance on hate crime should be followed. I would contend that failure to do so is a dereliction in the duties of the police.

            Its pointless waiting till successful prosecution to make constructive criticism (as I suspect you well know). Criminal investigations, particularly those of serious category crime are often fast paced, time critical matters. That said, the issues in crimes which are perceived as hate crime are incredibly sensitive and risk damaging the delicate relationship that police have with both geographic and protected characteristic communities.

            By playing down the hate crime element, whether correct or not, and whether intentional or not, they use language which is dismissive and can make it seem that such investigative leads are not being pursued or developed. I suspect that is not the message that is intended, but from friends in Scotland in the LGBT community and reading various press reports – this is …

          3. … being received.

            Let me state this categorically, I want Strathclyde Police to expeditiously and robustly carry out this investigation and I earnestly hope they succeed and bring those responsible to justice.

            I believe Strathclyde Police have good professional and capable officers.

            I have not speculated that this crime is homophobic – for the record, I suspect it may be – but I have always said we should be open to all possibilities.

            My problem lies in the police not appearing to believe that it might be homophobic and failing to follow their own national policy, failing to support the LGBT communities and failing to recognise the importance this crime has for the LGBT population not just in western Scotland but across the entire UK.
            That is nothing to the importance this crime has for Mr Walkers family, friends and associates … but nonetheless, an issue a responsible and aware force would consider

          4. As I thought you might, you quote one (not all) of the key aspects, actually when I contacted ACPOS they stated that all key elements should be present. I have suggested that they change the wording since some people seem to be mislead about it.
            Again, I have not seen any ‘dismissive’ comments or downplaying ANY aspect of the investigation (something you keep stating). ‘We are keeping an open mind’ suggests to me that they have or are still considering a ‘possible’ homophobic element. They have NOT said they are not. It is only homophobic if it actually is, not because you or anyone else ‘thinks’ it might be.

          5. @WTF

            In terms of prosecution and charge it only is homophobic if it actually can be evidenced as such.

            In terms of investigation it is a hate crime until and unless proven otherwise if perceived as such by any person.

            That certainly is the attitude that senior police officers I met with last weekend (including 2 from Scotland) felt when discussing hate crime which is a significant aspect to my current research.

            In terms of finalising the crime, yes there needs to be evidence – but when investigating you do not down play options until you know that they are not options.

            When you begin to investigate any crime you consider a whole range of offences, eg in some deaths it is clearly murder, in others proof of intention to kill is an important aspect to prove. One will have to look at (in England & Wales) whether it is murder, manslaughter, infanticide, assault etc etc …. in Scotland I am less familiar but there are a variety of homicide options. (In this case, it appears …

          6. … that the brutality of this offence that the intention to kill seems obvious). However, it is important to keep an open mind. In the same way, it is important to keep an open mind – but that means an open mind to the including and excluding options.

            I have seen various concerns about police actions in this case – you have not ….

            I think the police could do more on reassurance – you do not …

            I think the police are lacking an open mind to the enquiry and their media strategy is flawed – you do not …

            We both want them to succeed in this case. We both want them to have an open mind.

            Will it harm them to reflect on how they have handled this in the media and rebuild confidence? It might actually benefit the investigation and encourage people to supply information.

            Yes, lets keep an open mind – this murder horrendous though it is, might not be homophobic, but there is good reason to be concerned it might be

          7. “I have seen various concerns about police actions in this case – you have not ….” – name them? Gay Mens Health, Stonewall Scotland, Strathclyde LGBT Switchboard and everyone else have supported the police publicly and made no criticism. That seems to be stemming from you.
            “I think the police could do more on reassurance – you do not …” even though the police are actually fully engaging with the local community and LGBT advisors, what more re-assurance should they be doing exactly?
            “I think the police are lacking an open mind to the enquiry and their media strategy is flawed – you do not …” even though the police have categorically stated on many occasions they are keeping an open mind and have at no time ruled out the possibility of homophobic involvement. As for the media, they printed a headline “gay slaying” and have warped the whole incident to suggest it was homophobic without any factual basis.

          8. “In terms of investigation it is a hate crime until and unless proven otherwise”
            so you totally don’t understand the guidelines or accept them. That is the most ridiculous assumption of crime ever stated. So every gay or black victim of a crime should be investigated as a hate crime until the police can prove it is otherwise not!! Talk about creating unnecessary fear and alarm in those communities. Imagine the outcry when the police suddenly announce they got it wrong and in actual fact it had nothing to do with hate.
            You believe in trial by media and have made that quite obvious since the only source of information you have comes from that source. Having read the press, you ‘perceive’ the victim, because they are gay, to ‘possibly’ have been the victim of a homophobic hate crime. Under your inaccurate interpretation, the police should say that they are investigating this as a hate crime! Not surprisingly Leicestershire Police don’t agree with you either!

          9. They are not treating the pub attack as a homophobic hate crime until they know the facts! Looks like the ACPO guidelines are the same as the ACPOS ones!

          10. @WTF

            Do not tell me what I do and do not believe in …

            I believe in natural justice and (although I suspect you will not believe me) passionately believe in supporting the police and ensuring justice through the criminal justice system.

            Don’t tell me what I have and have not heard. If it was a web based article etc then I would provide you a link to the article, but I have seen vox pops on Sky News and BBC News where commentary has been dismissive of police support to the communities.

            I perfectly understand the guidelines of both ACPO and ACPOS, maybe my interpretation (along with a number of other people) is different to yours but you seem to not understand that a crime charged is different to necessarily the viewpoint when an investigation has commenced. For example, when in the police I arrested someone on suspicion of kidnap and assault and then charged them with blackmail and fraud offences. If during the investigation there is evidence that a particular crime has not …

          11. … occurred (due to the results of an investigation that is meticulously carried out) then it can be no-crimed or altered to a different crime on the crime recording system – that is irrelevant to the crime that is charged (if indeed one is charged).

            You criticise the media, and some of that I would agree with … so please do not tar with a brush of trial by media – some of the reports from the media have been unhelpful …

            What I believe is required is reassurance and that is not forthcoming, you can disagree with this – but that is my perception and that of people I have seen being interviewed in the media, and of some friends I know in Ayrshire.

            You talk about Leicestershire police and I think their decision to comment that the offence is not homophobic is risible

          12. “Don’t tell me what I believe in…..” Oh come on Stu, you spent most of your previous post claiming what I’m supposed not to believe in. Double standards there methinks.
            Of course you are perfectly entitled to your opinion as is anyone else. The only ‘facts’ of the case as those revealed by the police, not your friends or media. It is hard not to draw conclusions, I accept, but I still they should be factually based not supposition.
            They make an example about an arrest, yes you can change the charge and crime but before you can make an arrest, you need facts and evidence. Something that is absent here, otherwise I’m sure the police would have made an arrest. Murder can be changed to culpable homicide but still you need evidence.
            I don’t totally disagree with you on the re-assurance issue, but perhaps for different reasons than yours.
            Lastly, according to todays press reports, looks like there could be a new ‘motive’ for the crime!

          13. @WTF

            Not once have I told you what you think, I may have said you appear to be interpreting things in a particular way – and thats your opportunity (if I am misinterpreting) to clarify … you however are blatantly putting words in my mouth saying “you believe ..” etc …. Not double standards … If I have been unclear, because you clearly misinterpret me (whether deliberate or otherwise) I apologise, please let me know how I can clarify things …

            I agree the facts are those in the domain of the police … (and to an extent witnesses etc)

            I agree the media and most community observers will have few (if any) confirmed facts that the police do not (or will not) have …

            However, the whole point of my concern with Strathclyde Police in this investigation is about perception. They are causing certain perceptions to happen (you may not agree with that but plenty do) and in an investigation (I am sure you are aware …) there is a need to manage and respond to the perceptions that …

          14. … exist within the local community and wider afield.
            That is where I feel Strathclyde Police are failing.

            I wish them well, and I think this investigation is going to be hard for them. However, I do wonder if they may have been more successful if a slightly different media strategy had been adopted.

          15. Good grief… now the police have released information linking Stuart to child sex abuse (12 yrs old) …

          16. @jonpol

            Interestingly the police also believe that the prior link to a child abuse inquiry also had nothing to do with Watsons murder …

            Now either the police have solid information on which they are certain and acting (and I hope they havent been careless and closed off routes of evidence that should have been followed) or the police are just denying every possible motive that is suggested publically ….

            I hope it is the former …

  2. The way the strathclyde police are handling this- and the statements they are issuing are very confusing. The immersion Ia getting from their last statement is that his murder is due to his “lifestyle” – and at the same time they are saying it might not be homophobic. How do they square that one up then?

    1. At no time have the police stated that this murder was due to his lifestyle or sexual orientation. If they have, as yet, to prove a motive (or at least inform the public of that) then they can neither say that was was a homophobic crime or not a homophobic crime until that is established.

      1. Compare and contrast the public comments from Strathclyde Police in the Stuart Walker murder and Leicestershire Police relating to the men burned in a gay bar in Leicester last night and you will see how Leicestershire are being more open to public suggestion, keen to explore every option and not downplaying any potential motive (very different from the spin that Strathclyde are using). However, the use of language by the investigating team in Leicester does not categorically state their crime was homophobic but nonetheless seeks to effectively reassure the community. Strathclyde have a lot of lessons to learn (worrying given they are supposedly the Scottish police experts in public relations and media affairs).

        1. Stu, I am sure that your criticism is well meaning, you make very valid points on a whole range of issues. I just don’t really get this one.
          Strathclyde Police have stated that although there is no evidence to suggest, at this stage, there is a homophobic element behind this horrible murder, they are open minded and looking at all lines of enquiry, including homophobia. That is quite reassuring from where I sit.
          Yes, the media spin might use headlines such as ‘gay murder’ but I would much rather they caught the perpetrator then told me what motivated it, rather than all this misinformed speculation.
          If this was a hate crime, and I sincerely hope it wasn’t, I am sure we will be informed in due course.

          1. @WTF

            I am sure it all will become clear in time …

            I am not jumping on the gay murder spin … having been involved in investigating high profile cases in the past, I realise that some media language is not always helpful …

            I am recognising that there are people who have been interviewed in the media (and using their own words) who perceive this as a hate crime – it should therefore be investigated as such …

            The choice of language to the media by Strathclyde Police is dismissive, arrogant and damaging …

            I don’t want to suggest they carry out any action that damages the integrity of the investigation … merely, that they consider how their language could be perceived and ensure they support the relevant communities.

            Whether this crime is homophobic or not, it is probably one of the most high profile murders in the UK that could be perceived as homophobic for some time. It is therefore crucial that the police demonstrate that the investigation is throrough, rigorous etc

          2. “I am recognising that there are people who have been interviewed in the media”

            – trial by media. Maybe they gave an entirely different story to the police. Who knows. Perhaps we should leave it to the professionals to find out?

          3. @WTF

            Its not a trial by media … there was no criticism in the two comments (one I watched and one I listened to on radio) of the police when the two girls said they believed the crime was homophobic … If anything there was encouragement for the police to find the perpetrator soon … It was an observation that they believed this crime to be homophobic … not saying who did it, what they thought of who did it, what they thought of the police etc etc

            We also live in a media age and the police should be savvy to this and react with appropriately worded and clear statements that can not be misinterpreted – the police have a responsibility to encourage confidence in their work. An aware police service would take this into account. Look how media savvy Northumbria Police were in the Raoul Moat affair.

            Yes, let the professionals deal with it. I once was such a professional – so whilst these are armchair comments (as I acknowledge elsewhere on this thread), they are informed

  3. Does this mean the murderer was gay?

    1. Not necessarily – sex crimes are often more about power than the sex. If indeed there was a sex crime, then it could be a heterosexual that carried it out in order to humiliate and have power over their victim

    2. no they could have done that as a way of this is a way of punishing the guy before death…

    3. No – there is nothing in the police statements to indicate the sexuality of the perpetrator just that a sexual assault “may” have taken place before his murder.

      As Stu pointed out not all sexual assaults are driven by attraction, many are driven by the need to exert power. (eg in the clerical child sex abuse cases many of the perpetrators were not gay even though their victims where the same sex). If someone has the capacity to inflict the kind of physical assault which this poor man received it would be quite reasonable to assume that they have some issues in the anger management and power departments.

      Until we know more about the people involved and the motives it really is impossible to speculate further.

    4. maybe

      If a closeted person may have their sexuality exposed they may kill someone. Somemen become completly different people once they get what they want

  4. Alastair J, Mainland 25 Oct 2011, 11:40am

    I simply cant believe after all these years and opportunities to wise’n up that leading Police men are still banging on about “lifestyle,” people who choose to ignore are PIGHEADS! They are making matters worse by airing their ignorance as if it has no consequences whatsoever , it has great consequence and Scotland looks very very ugly due to their complacency.

    1. I’m not really sure where this ‘lifestyle’ comment comes from. Not quoted from any named police source I have read. Of course, if it was said, it may have nothing whatsoever to do with the victims sexuality. What the police have said is that the victim was known to them although they didn’t think his ‘background’ was a factor, although I’m sure that would have been a process of elimination in any police enquiry.

  5. Eddy - from 2007 25 Oct 2011, 11:47am

    Meanwhile there is an individual, or several individuals, probably resident in that town who are capable of tying a fellow human-being to lamp-post and then beating him and burning him to death.

    Actually NO ONE is safe in that vicinity at the moment.

    1. I agree there is danger in the Ayrshire community (unless the police know better … in which case they should be further reassuring the community) …

      However, the police have stated that the reports that Mr Watson was tied to a lamp post are incorrect – that he was found by the side of the road

  6. If the police focused all their efforts on investigating this as a homophobic crime they would be making a big mistake and jumping to conclusions. Something doesn’t fit here. If this was, for example, a violent rape by an unrequited lover or jealous former partner then they would miss that out completely.

    It sounds as though the police are doing their best here and allowing for all possibilities.

    1. @Dromio

      I agree it is a responsible police service that investigating a crime considers ALL lines of enquiry …

      Whilst they may be carrying out the investigation with complete propriety and following the likely lines of inquiry from information they have established to date. Whilst the police may have good reason to play down the sexuality aspect of the crime (if indeed it does relate to the crime) for good reasons linked to the integrity of the investigation; and whilst the police may have the appropriate level of resource allocated to this horrendous crime with experienced and diligent officers dealing with it – this does not mean that Strathclyde Police are immune from criticism in this matter.

      They are very lacking in their providing community safety support to either the local geographical community or the local and wider LGBT communities. There are separate community safety units who could work in parallel with the investigation to ensure that the investigations …

      1. … integrity is maintained but demonstrating support to the relevant communities whilst not diluting the investigative strength and numbers that are necessary. The police are allowing confusion to fester by their media strategy and their failure to address concerns (whether real or perceived) that there is a danger to gay people specifically and perhaps to others more generally in Ayrshire.

        I wish the police every success in their investigation but I believe their approach to community support and handling the public concerns has been shoddy.

        1. Dr Robin Guthrie 25 Oct 2011, 12:55pm

          Believe me, their is clear and present danger in that county.for gay people.

          I couldn’t leave the place quick enough and I do not like going back there to visit my parents. Bless them.

      2. Have you been made aware of any criticism of the police from the town concerned? As far as I have read in all reports, the police have instigated reassurance patrols throughout the town and engaged with LGBT organisations as well is independent advisors.

        1. I have seen some concerns expressed of being frightened and the police not having responded to previous issues …

          Its disappointing that it took until today for the divisional commander of the area to issue a statement of reassurance to the media …

          That said, I know Strathclyde Police to be strong and robust investigators … I just think they are missing their mark on this one …

          1. Actually the Divisional Commander held a press conference on Monday.

          2. I stand corrected on the timing of the divisional commanders initial press conference.

            That does not change that it was 48hours plus after the incident – clearly a crucial time frame in a murder enquiry – one for which there are particular community safety concerns … It would have been better practice to have had a senior police leader making comment within the first 24 hours … providing reassurance and demonstrating a dynamic, robust, wide ranging but focused investigation …

            That is not the impression I get from Strathclyde Police on this matter

  7. Mr. Walker’s “lifestyle”? Why oh why when it comes to a murder that might be about sexual orientatoin always garner the term “lifestyle”. Do we choose to be gay as a hobby? Why is it that the term is NEVER applied to heterosexuals when it’s a question of rape or murder? I’m sick and tired of it and it’s about time this disgusting terminoloy were confined to the dustbin of history. It’s offencive and disrespectful to the victim and to his family and friends.

    1. I agree with your comments, Robert, but I have yet to see a named source for the “lifestyle” comment. The media are particularly good at choosing words from “police sources” without naming said source. Im media circles that usually means it has been made up otherwise they would name their source of information. I would certainly hope that such comments didn’t come from the police as you rightly point out, would be most inappropriate.

      1. No, unnamed sources can often be that … a source who wishes to remain anonymous for various reasons – including a whistle blowing element, an unofficial comment (whether unofficially authorised or not), etc etc

        Of course, none of this means that the unnamed source actually used the phrase “lifestyle”, that may have been a media manipulation of what was said …

  8. Lifestyle is code for bringing it on yourself

    1. Its sloppy choice of language that further undermines the police media relations and imapct with the communities it serves

      1. It’s not just the police the media also use it and use frequent to ddescribe someone who goes to gay bars and clubs

  9. So -are they really saying “what do you expect living that lifestyle”?
    Or”it’s your own fault for living that kind of lifestyle”?
    So the “lifestyle” becomes the problem?

  10. paddyswurds 25 Oct 2011, 12:56pm

    “Lifestyle” needn’t necessary mean or have anything to do with ones sexual orientation. It could mean that a person was known to live precariously: ie: engaging in very risky behavior in areas that are clearly dangerous night or day…..there is more to this story than is currently being disclosed for whatever reason.

    1. Of course this is true – they could be referring to anything. But they must know that when the victim has been identified as gay, using the term “lifestyle” brings up very negative connotations for the general public. They must know that 99% of people are going to infer the lifestyle in question is his being gay. It is also implying that his lifestyle was partly to blame for his murder. This just gives out all the wrong messages. However, having been brought up in Ayrshire and being familiar with Strathclyde Police, it really doesnt surprise me. It could be as stupid as them not thinking about the consequences of using the term “lifestyle”. Or it could even be that they think he had it coming being openly gay in Cumnock. It’s not the sort of town to be having a Pride march.

    2. You’re talking out of your crack lifestyle is only used when reporting gay men just like frequenting if a LGBTQ person goes out to a bar

      1. Usually used in that sense James!, but has been used to refer to other lifestyles by the police in the past eg student lifestyle, drugs lifestyle, protester lifestyle, travellers lifestyle … the commonality is that whilst LGBT “lifestyle” (if the word lifestyle is appropriate which I dispute) is not a choice, and the other lifestyle descriptions are perceived by some negatively, thus the implication is that LGBT “lifestyle” is a negative thing …

        1. The use of lifestyle is a bastardisation it devalues us

          1. I agree James, however the media, to the best of my knowledge, are the ones who are quoting this comment ‘from a police source’. It is common practice for quotations to come from a named individual. Such things as ‘a police insider said’ and variations on that theme indicates that this did not in fact come from the police since all police ‘official’ statements are always tagged with a name.

          2. @WTF

            I agree this appears to have not come from an official source, but that does not necessarily mean it did not come from the police.

            If it came from within the Strathclyde enquiry then it suggests there are officers in the enquiry who also are unhappy with the manner the force are liaising with the community and the media

  11. My experience of Steathclyde Police, admittedly from several years ago, was that homophobia was rampant within their ranks. I was once told by a Police officer in Glasgow that he didnt want people like me ‘on his patch’. If this investigation is being carried out by local police in Ayrshire then I would have no doubts that they think to some degree that he brought it on himself.

    1. From the research I am conducting into LGBT issues and the police (for study linked to a course I am doing) it is interesting that Strathclyde Police are the only Scottish force to not respond to me ….

    2. ‘rampant within their ranks’ – so one, admittedly bad, comment from a police officer makes that so? Did you make a complaint? I would have, that is not acceptable coming from any public servant. Generalisations and stereotyping are something we in the LGBT community should know better.

      1. @WTF

        As a former police officer, I know that the vast majority of police officers are not homophobic and I find it alarming to see the LGBT communities portraying the police with this stereotype. Things are improving.

        We do need to maintain the spotlight on the integrity of the police in investigating all issues, including hate crime, given that there is a lack of confidence from many in the LGBT communities. We need to make sure the advances the police have made are sustained and grow and ensure they do not become apathetic.

        1. On my experiences of reporting a homophobic incident on a few weeks ago, the London Transport Police do an excellent job. They couldn’t be more supportive.

      2. No – there were several more examples, over a number of years. It wasn’t just one comment. The most recent that directly affected me was the treatment I received after my house had been broken into. My comment about it being rampant was based on my experiences with them. It wasn’t a generalisation, or a stereotype. I would be delighted if they could prove me wrong. As far as I am concerned, the ball is in their court on this one.

        1. Gerry, sorry you didn’t state in your initial post that this was a series of incidents. However if you are unhappy about any aspect of your treatment by the police there is a complaints procedure. I’d be interested to know how that turned out.

    3. I’ve personally had 2 terrible experiences with Strathclyde Police here in Ayrshire – about 3 years apart and with different officers involved in each incident.

      1. What was the outcome when you made an official complaint?

        1. @WTF

          Whats you personal link to Strathclyde Police?

        2. Nothing happened, of course – both times.

          1. @BennieM and Gerry

            I am not fully aware of the full procedures in Scotland due to the difference in legal systems (although there is a great deal in common with the legal system in England & Wales). I accepted the comment of WTF above about there being no IPCC in Scotland and that complaints should be made to the local police service. However, I have found this to be incorrect. Where someone wishes to make a complaint against police wishes to they may either do it to the local police force or to the police complaints commissioner for Scotland – this is their website:


            Most decent officers have nothing to fear from a complaint being made and would encourage it where there has been significant wrongdoing .

          2. Intrigued that someone finds scrutiny of the police a negative thing given the red thumbs down on my comment about police complaints commissioner …

            Scrutiny is essential in public life …

          3. Thanks for the info, Stu.

  12. Just because this may be classed as a sexual assault does not necessarily mean the attacker was gay, they (dread thinking about it) could have used some instrument on him to punish him for being gay, either way I hope they catch the murderer!!

  13. Dan Filson 25 Oct 2011, 1:58pm

    “Mr Walker was found lying on the ground and was not tied to a lamppost, as initial reports said.” Well then, how did that story start? It does seem a little fertile of someone’s imagination if not true, so the police should come clean about who first put that about.

    1. To be fair, Dan – not all information about crimes that journalists report comes from within the police – it could have come from someone in the local community that contacted the police or the hospital, or the ambulance service, or the fire service etc etc

      Chinese Whispers?

  14. Until the police start using “lifestyle” to identify the heterosexual victims of violent crime, I’ll remain unconvinced that this is not a negative term when referring only to gay crime victims. If this had been a murdered female prostitute, you’d NEVER hear or see the term used.

    1. I agree Robert, however I have not found any (please feel free to prove me wrong on this) named source for said “lifestyle” comment. In my own experience “a police source said” or variations on that theme means it was made up by the media. It is a common practice unless they name the source.

  15. Mr. Ripley's Asscrack 25 Oct 2011, 8:49pm

    I agree that the news reports from Strathclyde Police are confusing me too.

    Was Stuart Walker not tied to the lamppost now? How did that get out to the wider media if not by the police in their initial statements? Weird! Why the “main focus” on his lifestyle now? Are they about to apportion blame? Scapegoating?

    Our national news didn’t think to mention this tonight… also no mention was made of a sexual assault/aspect to his killing. (But BBC Scotchland are just a tad pathetic… IMHO.)

    (Their was an insinuation on yesterday’s report that the site of Stuart Walker’s attack and murder was some sort of gay cruising/pick up place… because it was a lonely place where you wouldn’t normally go (paraphrasing) – maybe just me though.)

    Stuart’s murder was a totally sick and brutal attack that I hope IS solved sooner rather than later.

  16. Like many others i agree, the use of word ‘ lifestyle ‘ instantly makes it sound as if he did something to bring this upon himself.

    A woman beaten, abused and burnt … Thats hideous its disgusting, we must make it the top priority to catch this monster. When its a gay guy because of his ‘ lifestyle ‘ its probably why it happened.

    The police really have learnt nothing in tr last 40 years have they. You dont choose your sexuality and it certainly has no bearing on the victims death. He was murdered, it doesent matter that he was gay, its irrelevant he was killed and thats what should matter.

    So far all theyve really said is even in not so many words, ” he prob made a pass at a guy and it got him killed or maybe not we dont really know and dont seem too bothered to find out really. ”

    I feel so sorry for his loved ones :(

  17. Im surprised that the police havent thought that there have been 2 other similar attacks in the west of scotland in the past year!!
    To me it is a homphobic attack. I’ve said for a long time that it was bound to happen at some point in this area, and now it has.

  18. Oh-oh! All is not as it seems. Looks like the police now have a reason. However there’s still no excuse.

    1. Police are now saying that is has nothing to do with the allegations against Mr Walker, which were not substantiated …

      Seems the police in Ayrshire deny anything …

  19. This story has taken on a new twist now that the police have released information that the word “lifestyle” refers to possible pedophilia.

    Again, I feel such sympathy for Stuart’s family.

    1. @Jonpol

      I feel a lot of sympathy for Stuarts family too

      Interesting to read this account of the allegations against Stuart that were made:

      Also interesting to note that across the media today police continue to play down the homophobia motive but state they have not yet established a motive, although believe he was specifically targetted …

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