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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 16:39 GMT
Axe jury hears player's statement
Anthony Walker
Anthony Walker was attacked with an ice axe
Premiership footballer Joey Barton made a series of calls to his brother after the murder of black teenager Anthony Walker, a court has heard.

Anthony, 18, was killed with an ice axe near McGoldrick Park in Huyton, Merseyside, in July.

Michael Barton, 17, of Boundary Road, Huyton, denies murder at Preston Crown Court, sitting in Liverpool.

The court heard Manchester City player Joey Barton phoned his brother Michael to confront him about the killing.

In the statement from the midfielder, made three days after the attack in McGoldrick Park, he said that on 30 July, he was woken by his brother, Andrew.

I phoned Michael back because I wanted to confront him and ask him
Footballer Joey Barton

He said: "He told me he had just received a telephone call from (a friend) saying someone had been found dead in the flower park with an axe in his head.

"I telephoned Michael because I thought he might know what had happened because he socialises in that area, but his phone was switched off."

He said he finally got through to Michael Barton and asked him what had happened in the park, but he said he did not know.

"My brother Andrew said he thought Michael had been in the area on the night. I phoned Michael back because I wanted to confront him and ask him," said the footballer.

"I phoned him and he said 'Listen, I was there but I didn't kill him. It was Chomper, Chomper killed him'."

The area where Anthony Walker was attacked
Anthony Walker was attacked near the entrance to McGoldrick Park

He said on numerous occasions he tried to contact Michael Barton again, but the number either went to voicemail or was unattainable.

Joey Barton said that three days after the attack, he received a call from a number he did not recognise.

He said: "It was Michael. He asked if I could get him 1,000.

"I said I couldn't and asked him where he was. He wouldn't tell me. I told him he had to go home. He said he would go to prison and he hadn't done anything."

Michael Barton's cousin, 20-year-old Paul Taylor, of Elizabeth Road, Huyton, has already admitted murder.

The court heard that Mr Barton and Taylor had driven to Dover almost immediately after the attack, then taken a morning sailing to Calais and driven on to Amsterdam.

They agreed to meet Merseyside Police detectives and flew back to Liverpool five days after the attack.

Breaking glass

The jury heard a transcript of the interview between Michael Barton and detectives.

He said he was standing outside the pub when he saw "two black lads and a white girl".

Mr Barton said one of them walked towards him, "trying to hide a bottle behind his leg", so he had run away to escape.

He said he had told his cousin Paul Taylor what happened and he had told him to get in the car.

Mr Barton said they had driven to the park and "bumped into" Anthony and his cousin, but he claimed he had chased Anthony's cousin.

He then said he heard breaking glass and returned to see if Taylor was all right, but found only Anthony lying on the ground with the axe in his head.

Asked how he felt about black people, Mr Barton replied: "They're just the same inside, aren't they?"

The court had heard earlier from a Home Office forensic scientist that Anthony's blood was found inside a car used by the men accused of killing him.

The trial continues.




SEE ALSO:
Axe attack reconstructed at trial
21 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Anthony 'found with axe in head'
17 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Student 'killed over skin colour'
16 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Walker killing: prosecution case
16 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Man admits killing Anthony Walker
15 Nov 05 |  Merseyside


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