A gay man in Scotland has been killed and left at the side of the road with horrific injuries in what local media are calling a possible homophobic attack.

28-year-old Stuart Walker (pictured) was beaten, tied to a lamp-post and set on fire in the early hours of Saturday morning.

His charred remains were found by a member of the public at 5am on Saturday in Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland reports the UK’s Mail Online.

Local police confirmed the body had scorch marks and that the victim had suffered horrific injuries. They would not rule out that Walker had been murdered because of his sexuality.

He had been out with friends in the area and was last seen alive about two hours before his death.

Hate crimes against the gay community in Scotland have risen almost fivefold in the past five years, statistics revealed earlier this year.

A freedom of information request to Scotland’s eight police forces showed a disturbing rise in reports of violent attacks, indecent assaults, abuse and vandalism against people targeted just because of their sexual orientation.

There were 666 incidents of homophobic abuse in 2009-10, almost double the 364 incidents reported in 2007-8, and almost five times the 114 incidents reported in 2004-5.

New laws were introduced in Scotland in 2010 to tackle hate crime against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, putting it on the same footing as incidents involving racism.

The Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Act brought Scotland into line with the rest of the UK by widening the definition of hate crimes.

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