Three plead guilty over fatal homophobic attack in park

TWO men have admitted killing a council worker in a homophobic attack in a public park in Perth.

A 15-year-old boy also pleaded guilty to assaulting James Kerr, 51, in the South Inch park in April. All three, who were originally charged with murder, will be sentenced at the High Court in Perth today.

David Meehan, 19, admitted murder, while Martin Soutar, 21, admitted culpable homicide. The trio pleaded guilty after changing their pleas on the second day of the trial.

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The local authority worker had been out in the park late at night in an area known to be frequented by homosexuals. He entered into a conversation with the teenager, who was unknown to him.

A short time afterwards the boy phoned his two co-accused, who arrived just minutes later.

Meehan and Soutar, both of Perth, then hunted down Mr Kerr and subjected him to an attack that left him in a pool of blood. Although he was still alive on arrival at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Mr Kerr, also of Perth, died that day.

Meehan, Soutar and the 15-year-old all admitted punching Mr Kerr in the face and knocking him to the ground.

Meehan and Soutar admitted kicking him numerous times on the head, with Meehan admitting landing the blows that amounted to murder.

Soutar admitted committing culpable homicide and stealing his victim's lighter and a set of keys as he lay on the ground.

Mr Kerr had worked as an officer for Perth and Kinross Council for around three years.

Colleagues said he made no secret of the fact he was gay.