A Cumnock hotel has released a statement in response to the suspected murder of a former employee who was beaten to death, tied to a lamppost and set alight.

The body of Stuart Walker was found by passers-by in Caponacre Industrial Estate in Cumnock, Ayrshire, at 4.50am on Saturday morning.

The 28-year-old of Hearth Place, Cumnock, is believed to have formerly worked as an assistant manager at the Royal hotel, based in Glaisnock Street.

A hotel spokeswoman said: “Stuart Walker was a former employee, colleague and most of all friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Stuart and his family at this sad and tragic time. His smile and charm will be remembered always.”

More than 6,000 visitors have visited a Facebook site set up in his memory.

It is understood the hotel worker died from his injuries and not as a direct result of having been set alight.

Police in Ayrshire have launched a murder inquiry and are appealing for witnesses. Detective Inspector John Hogg, Ayr CID, said: “Stuart had been out with friends in the Cumnock area earlier during the night and was last seen alive by a family friend near to the fire station in Glaisnock Street around 0230 hours on Saturday morning – nearly two-and-a-half hours before he was found.

“It is imperative that we find out where he was between 0230 and 0450 hours, who he was with and why this happened to him.”

By Helen Gilbert

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