Student was murdered because of the colour of his skin, jury
told

By Ian Herbert, North of England Correspondent
Published: 17 November 2005

A student was murdered "for no other reason than the colour
of his skin" by a Premiership footballer's brother after
being subjected to a torrent of racial abuse, a jury was
told.

Anthony Walker, 18, was at a bus stop with his white
girlfriend and his cousin, who had a distinctive "Afro"
hairstyle, when the taunts "niggers, coons, microphone head"
and "Michael Jackson" were hurled at him from a group of men,
which included Michael Barton, brother of the Manchester City
player Joey Barton, it was alleged at Liverpool Crown Court
yesterday.

Anxious to prevent a confrontation, Mr Walker said: "We're
only waiting for the bus and then we're going." After hearing
the words "walk, nigger, walk", his group walked off to
another bus stop - only to be pursued in a Peugeot car by Mr
Barton and Paul Taylor, 20, his first cousin.

Mr Walker, his girlfriend Louise Thompson and cousin Marcus
Binns, 17, were then allegedly "ambushed" in McGoldrick Park
in Huyton, Merseyside, by Mr Barton, Taylor and others. Mr
Walker was either falling to the ground or on the ground when
the fatal blow was delivered from behind him, entering his
head above the left eyebrow and penetrating 4-5cms of brain
tissue. He died of injuries sustained by a single blow from a
2ft metal ice axe.

Mr Barton, 17, of Huyton, who allegedly supplied the axe and
helped plan the attack, denies murder and conspiracy to cause
grievous bodily harm to Mr Walker and his cousin. Taylor has
admitted murdering Mr Walker by delivering the blow.

The court heard that Mr Barton telephoned his brother Joey in
panic, hours after the murder. "Listen, I was there but I
didn't kill him," he told him. "It was Chomper [Paul Taylor's
nickname]. Chomper killed him." He admits attempting to
remove the axe from Mr Walker's head before leaving the
murder scene in the Peugeot car, with blood on his hands.

The men quickly transferred to a Vauxhall Vectra and drove to
Dover. They then boarded a 6am ferry for Calais and drove on
to Amsterdam, staying for four days until they were escorted
back to Merseyside.

"Michael Barton, Paul Taylor and almost certainly others
decided to get their own back on Anthony Walker and Marcus
Binns," said Neil Flewitt QC.

"The fact that they armed themselves with such a vicious
weapon is... a clear indication that they intended to cause
serious harm. [They then] put their plan into action. [The]
killing... was racially motivated."

At 11.55am on 29 July, the day of the murder, Mr Barton and
Taylor had been at the scene of an attempted burglary in
nearby Rainhill, the jury was told.

At 8.45pm, a witness saw Taylor scratching on a board by a
pub opposite the bus stop where Mr Walker was confronted.
Taylor's nickname was later found next to a swastika motif on
the same board.

At around 10.30pm, Mr Walker left his home to walk to the bus
stop, where his girlfriend was to take a bus home to nearby
Kirkby. Mr Binns carried a single bottle of beer. Mr Walker
seemed "his usual happy self" and had his arm around Ms
Thompson when a witness saw them, between 10.45pm and 11pm.

They had been at the bus stop for about five minutes when Mr
Binns heard the racial abuse. "He made no response to the
abuse and continued to drink his bottle of beer," Mr Flewitt
said.

After "sensing trouble" and moving on, Mr Walker's group
found themselves on a dark, unlit path in McGoldrick Park,
fleeing the Peugeot which had pursued them at speed with no
lights on. Mr Walker's girlfriend was so frightened she asked
him to walk between her and the bushes. But unknown to her,
four young men were waiting there.

She and Mr Binns both fled after the assailants pounced and
when Mr Binns was eventually driven back to the scene by a
local family he found Mr Walker's body on the path, the axe
in his skull.

The impact of the blow was "catastrophic", causing the
disintegration of his brain to a depth of 6-7cm. Lacerations
to Mr Walker's hand suggested he had attempted to fend off
the axe before he was struck.

The jury was told of a number of letters written by Mr Barton
on remand, three of which concluded with the same short
poem: "1, 2, 3: now we're trippin' off an 'e'. We jump on the
microphone with a shout going out to the Pete Daley." Mr
Flewitt suggested "microphone" may be repetition of the
initial term of racist abuse.

Mr Barton first told police he was threatened by Mr Walker's
group, prompting the pursuit, but has since said that Taylor
alone had the altercation. The trial continues today.

A student was murdered "for no other reason than the colour
of his skin" by a Premiership footballer's brother after
being subjected to a torrent of racial abuse, a jury was
told.

Anthony Walker, 18, was at a bus stop with his white
girlfriend and his cousin, who had a distinctive "Afro"
hairstyle, when the taunts "niggers, coons, microphone head"
and "Michael Jackson" were hurled at him from a group of men,
which included Michael Barton, brother of the Manchester City
player Joey Barton, it was alleged at Liverpool Crown Court
yesterday.

Anxious to prevent a confrontation, Mr Walker said: "We're
only waiting for the bus and then we're going." After hearing
the words "walk, nigger, walk", his group walked off to
another bus stop - only to be pursued in a Peugeot car by Mr
Barton and Paul Taylor, 20, his first cousin.

Mr Walker, his girlfriend Louise Thompson and cousin Marcus
Binns, 17, were then allegedly "ambushed" in McGoldrick Park
in Huyton, Merseyside, by Mr Barton, Taylor and others. Mr
Walker was either falling to the ground or on the ground when
the fatal blow was delivered from behind him, entering his
head above the left eyebrow and penetrating 4-5cms of brain
tissue. He died of injuries sustained by a single blow from a
2ft metal ice axe.

Mr Barton, 17, of Huyton, who allegedly supplied the axe and
helped plan the attack, denies murder and conspiracy to cause
grievous bodily harm to Mr Walker and his cousin. Taylor has
admitted murdering Mr Walker by delivering the blow.

The court heard that Mr Barton telephoned his brother Joey in
panic, hours after the murder. "Listen, I was there but I
didn't kill him," he told him. "It was Chomper [Paul Taylor's
nickname]. Chomper killed him." He admits attempting to
remove the axe from Mr Walker's head before leaving the
murder scene in the Peugeot car, with blood on his hands.

The men quickly transferred to a Vauxhall Vectra and drove to
Dover. They then boarded a 6am ferry for Calais and drove on
to Amsterdam, staying for four days until they were escorted
back to Merseyside.

"Michael Barton, Paul Taylor and almost certainly others
decided to get their own back on Anthony Walker and Marcus
Binns," said Neil Flewitt QC.

"The fact that they armed themselves with such a vicious
weapon is... a clear indication that they intended to cause
serious harm. [They then] put their plan into action. [The]
killing... was racially motivated."
At 11.55am on 29 July, the day of the murder, Mr Barton and
Taylor had been at the scene of an attempted burglary in
nearby Rainhill, the jury was told.

At 8.45pm, a witness saw Taylor scratching on a board by a
pub opposite the bus stop where Mr Walker was confronted.
Taylor's nickname was later found next to a swastika motif on
the same board.

At around 10.30pm, Mr Walker left his home to walk to the bus
stop, where his girlfriend was to take a bus home to nearby
Kirkby. Mr Binns carried a single bottle of beer. Mr Walker
seemed "his usual happy self" and had his arm around Ms
Thompson when a witness saw them, between 10.45pm and 11pm.

They had been at the bus stop for about five minutes when Mr
Binns heard the racial abuse. "He made no response to the
abuse and continued to drink his bottle of beer," Mr Flewitt
said.

After "sensing trouble" and moving on, Mr Walker's group
found themselves on a dark, unlit path in McGoldrick Park,
fleeing the Peugeot which had pursued them at speed with no
lights on. Mr Walker's girlfriend was so frightened she asked
him to walk between her and the bushes. But unknown to her,
four young men were waiting there.

She and Mr Binns both fled after the assailants pounced and
when Mr Binns was eventually driven back to the scene by a
local family he found Mr Walker's body on the path, the axe
in his skull.

The impact of the blow was "catastrophic", causing the
disintegration of his brain to a depth of 6-7cm. Lacerations
to Mr Walker's hand suggested he had attempted to fend off
the axe before he was struck.

The jury was told of a number of letters written by Mr Barton
on remand, three of which concluded with the same short
poem: "1, 2, 3: now we're trippin' off an 'e'. We jump on the
microphone with a shout going out to the Pete Daley." Mr
Flewitt suggested "microphone" may be repetition of the
initial term of racist abuse.

Mr Barton first told police he was threatened by Mr Walker's
group, prompting the pursuit, but has since said that Taylor
alone had the altercation. The trial continues today.