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David MEEHAN

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Homophobic attack
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 22, 2007
Date of birth: 1988
Victim profile: James Kerr, 51 (gay man)
Method of murder: Punched and kicked in the face and head
Location: Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
Status: Plead guilty. Sentenced to life in prison (minimum 16 years) on November 12, 2007
 
 
 
 
 
 

Teen gets 16 years for homophobic murder

By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent - Telegraph.co.uk

November 14, 2007

A teenager who murdered a gay council worker in a homophobic attack in a public park has been jailed for life.

David Meehan, 19, was ordered to serve at least 16 years for his part in the "savage" attack on James Kerr, 51.

His accomplice Martin Soutar, 21, pleaded guilty to culpable homicide and was jailed for nine years, and a 15-year-old schoolboy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be sentenced today.

The youth sparked the attack on the South Inch in Perth and admitted assaulting the victim by punching him in the face and knocking him to the ground.

Lord Macphail, at the High Court in Edinburgh, told Meehan: "This was a killing of a callous and brutal character which appears to have been marked by a homophobic element. This was a savage and sustained attack on a defenceless man who had done you no harm."

The judge added Meehan was "liable to be detained for life" and would have faced a minimum 18-year term had he not pleaded guilty.

The court heard earlier that Mr Kerr, a civic officer with Perth and Kinross council, was in the park in the early hours of April 22 when the boy was taking a shortcut home. A witness heard the boy threatening him before using his mobile phone to call Soutar, claiming that he had been assaulted.

Meehan and Soutar, both from Perth, were given a lift to the park and met up with the 15-year-old before attacking Mr Kerr.

The schoolboy punched him in the face in an unprovoked attack and Meehan and Soutar punched and kicked him on the head and body as he lay on the ground.

They left him bleeding heavily from a head wound and went to a house in Craigie where they boasted about the incident.

As they left the park the schoolboy was heard saying that he hated "gays and poofters".

A woman walking her dog found Mr Kerr later that morning but he died in hospital without regaining consciousness. His blood was found on training shoes worn by Meehan and Soutar.

Jack Davidson, QC, for Meehan, said he had expressed remorse and maintained that no homophobic motive was involved in the offence.

Mhairi Richards, defending the schoolboy, said he had "made it plain the deceased made no sexual approach to him".

The court heard that Soutar had been drinking and had taken "two or three kicks" before stopping.

 
 

Teenager jailed for life for brutal murder of gay man

Three savagely beat victim hunted down in park

The Guardian

Tuesday November 13, 2007

A man has been jailed for life and another for nine years for beating a gay man to death in a "callous and brutal" attack in a city centre park.

James Kerr, a catering worker, died in hospital after being repeatedly punched and kicked in the face and head by three people in April. They had hunted him down and attacked him for allegedly "trying it on" with one of the gang.

After leaving Kerr, 51, dying in a pool of blood in South Inch park in central Perth, the group went to a party nearby, where they boasted about the attack.

One of the gang, a 15-year-old who had claimed Kerr had assaulted him, told one partygoer: "There's a poof tried it on with me and I hit him."

As he left the scene of the attack, the teenager was heard remarking: "I hate gays and poofters."

After leaving the party two hours later, the three walked past Kerr, who was lying barely alive where they had left him, but did nothing to help.

Yesterday, the judge, Lord Macphail, said all three had taken part in an unwarranted and cold-blooded homophobic attack on Kerr.

"He had major head injuries, and the photographs of his body are horrifying," the judge said. "This was a killing of a callous and brutal character, which appears to have been marked by a homophobic element."

The trial had heard that the 15-year-old claimed to have met Kerr and another man in the park at around 2.30am, as he was taking a short cut home. After they asked him for a cigarette, Kerr's companion allegedly hit him.

Witnesses heard the youth shout at them: "If I ever see you again, I'm going to kick your fucking head in."

The teenager then admitted calling one of the accused, Martin Soutar, on his mobile phone, who then arrived at the park with another friend, David Meehan. The three then began searching for Kerr.

As all three youths looked straight ahead at the high court in Edinburgh, the judge said the most violent assailant, Meehan, 19, had launched a "savage and sustained attack upon a defenceless man who had done you no harm".

His assault was so vicious and sustained that Kerr died without recovering consciousness. Meehan later told a social worker he believed Kerr was a paedophile.

The judge sentenced Meehan, of Perth, to life imprisonment for murder, with an order that he spend at least 16 years in jail. Two years had been deducted because Meehan had pleaded guilty but the judge said this did not guarantee he would be automatically released on licence - Scotland's version of parole - within 16 years.

Soutar, 21, also of Perth, was jailed for nine years on a reduced charge of culpable homicide, an offence similar to manslaughter, after he confessed to punching Kerr to the ground, and repeatedly kicking him. He then went through the council worker's pockets, stealing his keys and cigarette lighter, which he threw into a nearby pond.

The judge said that while Soutar did not have the mental age needed to face a murder charge, he had five previous convictions, including one for assault. As a result, he would be also put on licence for a further three years after his release, putting him at risk of immediate reimprisonment if he committed a further offence.

The 15-year-old, who is too young to be named, is to be sentenced today after also pleading guilty to assaulting Kerr.

The Scottish parliament is to introduce new "hate crime" legislation bringing Scottish courts into line with those of England and Wales by allowing them to increase a sentence to take overt prejudice into account, particularly over disability and sexuality.

Patrick Harvie, the Green MSP proposing the legislation, said: "This kind of savage murder is quite rightly always going to attract a huge sentence.

"If this had been committed in England or Wales, then the court would have the option of increasing the sentence to reflect that."

 
 

Homophobic killer jailed for life

BBC News

Monday, 12 November 2007

A teenager who murdered a gay council worker in a public park in Perth has been jailed for life.

David Meehan, 19, from Perth, admitted murdering James Kerr in a homophobic attack at South Inch Park in April. He will serve at least 16 years in jail.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, his co-accused, Martin Soutar, 21, from Perth, pled guilty to culpable homicide and was jailed for nine years.

A 15-year-old youth, who sparked the attack, will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Mr Kerr, 51, was left lying in a pool of blood with major head injuries while Meehan and his accomplices went to a party.

'Homophobic element'

Meehan later claimed they walked past their victim two hours later and ignored him as he lay on a path near a boating pond.

The schoolboy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted assaulting the victim by punching him in the face and knocking him to the ground.

Judge Lord Macphail said: "This was a killing of a callous and brutal character which appears to have been marked by a homophobic element."

He said photographs of the victim's body were "horrifying".

He told Meehan: "This was a savage and sustained attack on a defenceless man who had done you no harm."

The judge said the murderer would have faced a minimum term of 18 years, if he had not pled guilty.

He told him he was not guaranteed automatic release after serving the 16 years set and added: "You remain liable to be detained for life."

Lord Macphail told Soutar, who was on bail at the time of the attack: "You have admitted responsibility for contributing to killing this man."

He ordered that he should serve an extended sentence for a further three years when he will be kept under supervision to protect the public.

The court had heard how the 15-year-old was walking in the park in the early hours of 22 April, taking a shortcut home.

Mr Kerr, a Perth and Kinross Council civic officer, was in the park and a witness heard the boy shout at him.

After the boy later called Soutar, claiming he had been assaulted, Meehan and Souter went to the park and all three attacked Mr Kerr.

As they left the scene the schoolboy was heard to say that he hated "gays and poofters".

A woman walking her dog later came across Mr Kerr. He died later that day in hospital.

Blood from the victim was later found on trainers worn by both Meehan and Soutar.

Defence counsel Jack Davidson QC, for Meehan, said he had expressed remorse and maintained that no homophobic motive was involved in the offence.

Gordon Jackson QC, for Soutar, said he had also been drinking and got involved by taking two or three kicks before stopping.

Defence counsel Mhairi Richards said on behalf of the schoolboy: "He has made it plain the deceased made no sexual approach to him."

The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomed the sentences.

A commission spokesperson said: "We are glad that the judge's comments left in no doubt that this was a homophobic murder and that the sentences reflect the seriousness of the crime and the public horror at them."

 
 


James Kerr, the victim

 

David Meehan

 

Martin Soutar (left) and David Meehan (right)