Teen found guilty of murdering gay man during ‘sex game’
A teenager has been found guilty of murdering a 53-year-old gay man during a sex game.
Daniel Kurmelovs, 18, was sentenced to serve at least 25 years in prison on Tuesday (January 29) for strangling Frank Lennon to death after meeting him in Manchester’s Gay Village, according to the Manchester Evening News.
A jury at Manchester Crown Court convicted Kurmelovs of murder after less than an hour of deliberations.
Frank Lennon invited Daniel Kurmelovs for sex game
The court was previously told that Lennon had met Kurmelovs outside The Eagle bar in the Gay Village on July 20 last year, before inviting him back to his flat in Collyhurst.
Lennon then asked Kurmelovs to strangle him for “masochistic pleasure,” the court heard.
But Kurmelovs took the sex game too far and strangled Lennon to death before stealing watches, jewellery, 5,000 cigarettes and £900 in cash from the flat.
During the five hours he was in the property, he tried to hide the evidence by “squirting liquids, pastes and gels from a variety of containers on Mr Lennon’s body,” Paul Reid QC told the court.
Kurmelovs, who admitted to smoking and injecting drugs earlier that day, also cut Lennon’s right ear after his death. He said he did this to check whether the victim was alive.
He was arrested after telling a woman that he had “killed someone” for the cigarettes he was trying to sell on.
Judge condemns Daniel Kurmelovs for “foul, wicked” murder of Frank Lennon
In sentencing Kurmelovs, Judge David Stockdale QC said: “Frank Lennon derived gratification from being strangled.
“When he invited you to his flat his purpose was to ask you to strangle him. It was not in order that he would suffer significant injury, and certainly not so he would die.”
The judge told Kurmelovs, who said he was bisexual, that he had seen a “heaven-sent opportunity” to steal from Lennon during the sex game.
“You revelled in your appalling crime. The murder of Frank Lennon was a foul, wicked act”
— Judge David Stockdale QC to Daniel Kurmelovs
“Lying face down on his sitting room floor, he could not have been more vulnerable,” he said in court.
“He was at your mercy. You took your opportunity and you strangled him. Your purpose was to rob him, and that’s exactly what you did.
“You revelled in your appalling crime. The murder of Frank Lennon was a foul, wicked act.”
The judge added: “You ruthlessly killed a vulnerable man in his own home for the sole purpose of taking his money and his valuables.”
Family of Frank Lennon responds to sentencing
Lennon’s family, who were set to go on holiday with him just a few days after his death to celebrate his 54th birthday, released a statement after the verdict, also quoted in Manchester Evening News.
The statement read: “Frank was much loved by all his family and friends and had much life ahead of him.
“We cannot express how devastated we are that his life has been stolen from him. Frank is missed every minute of every day”
— The family of Frank Lennon
“Frank was taken from us in July in completely unnecessary circumstances. We cannot express how devastated we are that his life has been stolen from him.
“Frank is missed every minute of every day,” they continued. “Today his killer has been sentenced, and justice has been served.
“We can try to repair our heartache although no matter how long the sentence is, it will not bring Frank back or make our loss any easier.
“We need to attempt to move on and hopefully today will now provide closure for our pain over the last few months, however, we will never forget Frank or the many memories he has given us.”
Greater Manchester Police Senior Investigating Officer Bob Tonge also reacted to the outcome of the trial.
He said, quoted in the Manchester Evening News: “Kurmelovs brutally murdered Frank in his own home.
“My thoughts remain with Frank’s family who have had to sit through the agony of a trial and the suffering of Kurmelovs’ excuses”
— Senior Investigating Officer Bob Tonge
“Not satisfied that he was dead, he even took some scissors and cut Frank’s ear—an attempt, he claimed, to see if he was alive.
“Frank also suffered fractured ribs at the hands of Kurmelovs who undeterred by his actions, set about ransacking his flat and stealing his possessions which he brazenly tried to sell just days later,” continued Tonge.
“Kurmelovs tried to suggest that his actions were accidental and eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter but thankfully the jury were able to see through that excuse and today convicted him of murder.
“My thoughts remain with Frank’s family who have had to sit through the agony of a trial and the suffering of Kurmelovs’ excuses but I hope today can provide them with some comfort, knowing the man responsible is locked away where he can’t harm anyone else.”