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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 19:28 GMT
Axe accused denies changing story
Anthony Walker
A youth charged with murdering black teenager Anthony Walker has been accused of lying to "save his skin".

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 admitted inflicting the fatal blow.

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

It was a story Paul made up. I went along with it to help him
Michael Barton

Mr Barton, who is the brother of Manchester City footballer Joey Barton, is accused of murder on the grounds he supplied the axe, and he took part in the attack on Anthony on 29 July.

The jury was told he claimed he originally jumped over a wall to escape Anthony, who was with his cousin Marcus Binns and girlfriend Louise Thompson at the time of the attack.

He claimed he found the ice axe outside the Huyton Park pub, and brought it with him to "scare" the group and said he later dropped the axe in McGoldrick Park.

In court on Wednesday, Mr Barton's story was different. He said the first version was concocted by himself and his cousin, Taylor, after they fled to Amsterdam.

The area where Anthony Walker was attacked
Anthony Walker was attacked near the entrance to McGoldrick Park
He denied being involved in any fight outside the pub, or seeing Anthony and his friends.

He also denied picking up the ice axe, or even seeing it until it was embedded in Anthony's skull.

He said he agreed to go along with the first story to help Taylor get a manslaughter charge instead of murder.

He said: "It was a story Paul made up. I went along with it to help him get a manslaughter."

When questioned on why he lied, he said: "Because Paul told me to say it."

Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting, accused Barton of changing his story to put all the blame on to Taylor.

Paul Taylor (picture courtesy of Merseyside Police/PA)
Paul Taylor has pleaded guilty to Anthony's murder

"You lied through your teeth to help Paul get a manslaughter. That has dropped you right in it, hasn't it?," he said.

"It has put you as the person having words with Anthony and Marcus at the bus stop and it has put the axe in your hands.

"Now you're keen to abandon your actions and put as much distance in between as you can.

"You know that if it was you having the argument with those people, and you who took the axe to the park, then you are just as guilty as Paul Taylor.

"That's why you've moved away from that action. It is nothing to do with Paul Taylor, it is to do with saving your skin, isn't it?"

Barton denied changing the story to save his skin and insisted the original story was made up by Taylor.

He said he was not present when Taylor struck Anthony with the axe, and said when he saw him he felt "sick and in shock."

He said he tried to remove the axe gently but could not, then ran away.

The case was adjourned until Thursday.




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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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