Teen Sentenced in Strangulation Death of Older Man Says It Was Erotic Play Gone Wrong

Photo credit: Greater Manchester Police

(EDGE) An 18-year-old suspect in the death of a 53-year-old gay man in England received a life sentence, The BBC reports.

The teen, Daniel Kurmelovs, reportedly went home with Frank Lennon on the evening of July 20 last summer. At some point that night he strangled Lennon to death and then left the man's home with money, jewelry, and a suitcase containing Spanish cigarettes. His departure with the suitcase was recorded on a security camera, the police said.

The autopsy confirmed that Lennon died of strangulation and also noted broken ribs and a cut ear.

The teen offered the explanation that Lennon had offered to give him money and asked that the teen provide erotic strangulation. Kurmelovs said that he had choked the older man around half a dozen times before accidentally killing him, the Manchester Evening News reported.

Kurmelovs claimed that Lennon had instructed him not to stop just before dying. When he realized the man was dead, Kurmelovs said, he became "really angry and annoyed. That's when I ransacked the place."

The teen claimed that he had been using drugs earlier in the day. He also said that the cut to Lennon's ear was his attempt to verify that Lennon really was dead.

The judge in the case seemed not to refute the circumstances of the death but held the teen accountable all the same, a Manchester Evening News account related.

"Frank Lennon derived gratification from being strangled," said the judge, David Stockdale, the Evening News reported.

"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," Stockdale added.

British tabloid the Mirror said that Kurmelovs had attempted to muddy evidence at the scene by applying toothpaste and cleaning products to Mr. Lennon's body. The Mirror also reported that Lennon's strangulation took place only 9 days after Kurmelovs' release following his incarceration for robbing an elderly woman. The Mirror's account said the robbery took place in the woman's home and that the teen had used a knife in that crime.

The prosecution told the court that after killing Lennon and leaving the premises with stolen property, Kurmelovs tried to sell the cigarettes.

The life sentence means that Kurmelovs will serve at least 25 years in prison, media accounts noted.