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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 16:22 GMT
Axe accused 'tried to aid victim'
Anthony Walker
Anthony Walker was attacked with an ice axe
A youth accused of murdering the black teenager Anthony Walker has told a court he tried to help him.

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

Michael Barton, 17, of Boundary Road, Huyton, is on trial for his murder, which he denies, at Preston Crown Court, sitting in Liverpool.

His cousin, Paul Taylor, 20, of Elizabeth Road, Huyton, has already said it was he who swung the axe.

He had denied murder but changed his plea to guilty in court last week.

I tried to remove the weapon
Michael Barton
Michael Barton, who is the brother of Manchester City footballer Joey Barton, was also charged with murder as the prosecution claims he supplied the weapon and was part of the attack.

Mr Barton told the court on Wednesday that he tried to help Anthony when he realised what had happened.

Asked what he saw that night in the park, he said: "Anthony Walker. He was lying there. He had something out of his head. I tried to help him. I tried to remove the weapon gently.

"I felt sick and in shock. When I couldn't move it I ran away back to the car."

Mr Barton said he and Taylor had "bumped into" Anthony, who was walking through McGoldrick Park with his cousin Marcus Binns and girlfriend Louise Thompson.

The area where Anthony Walker was attacked
Anthony Walker was attacked near the entrance to McGoldrick Park
But the prosecution claims the pair hurled racist abuse at Anthony on the night that he died.

Mr Barton told the court Taylor was driving a car aggressively and parked it by McGoldrick Park.

The pair then jumped over the wall, where they saw Anthony, Marcus and Louise.

Mr Barton said: "One of the lads and the girl ran off so I chased the lad. Paul stayed there. I chased the lad up Grahams Road, then I heard a glass bottle smash so I went back to the park to see if my cousin was all right."

The story Mr Barton told in court was different to the original one he told police, which the court had heard on Tuesday.

'Bus stop'

He originally claimed he had been standing outside the Huyton Park pub when Marcus had approached him in an aggressive way.

Mr Barton said he had run away, then gone with Taylor to have a fight.

He claimed he had picked up the ice axe after seeing it randomly lying at the side of the pub.

However, when he was asked by defence barrister David Steer QC when he first saw the axe, he replied: "In Anthony Walker's head."

When asked whether he had a problem with black people, he said he did not and had met Anthony Walker more than once on the bus and had no problem with him.

The trial continues.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Court hears accused tell of finding injured victim



SEE ALSO:
Axe jury hears player's statement
22 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Axe attack reconstructed at trial
21 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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