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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 15:58 GMT
Anthony's family 'still forgive'
By Mark McGregor
BBC News, Liverpool

Anthony Walker's mother, Gee Verona-Walker, arriving at court
Gee Walker's children attended the same school as Taylor and Barton
The killing of Anthony Walker united a community in anger at the ferocity and senseless nature of the racist attack.

Paul Taylor and Michael Barton now face lengthy jail sentences after being convicted of his murder.

But for the Walkers, anger gives way to sorrow as they consider his killers - two boys who attended the same school as Anthony and his siblings.

And while they will never forget, his mother Gee and sister Dominique said they had certainly forgiven.

"Why live a life sentence? Hate killed my son, so why should I be a victim too?" said Mrs Walker.

"Unforgiveness makes you a victim and why should I be a victim? Anthony spent his life forgiving. His life stood for peace, love and forgiveness and I brought them up that way.

I don't know what hell feels like but I'm sure I'm sitting in hell right now
Gee Walker

"I have to practice what I preach. I don't feel any bitterness towards them really, truly, all I feel is... I feel sad for the family."

Her feelings are echoed by daughter Dominique, whose appeal in the aftermath of Anthony's death was seen as a key turning point in the police investigation.

The 20-year-old told BBC One's Real Story that she stood by her decision then to forgive whoever killed her brother.

"I did say I forgive and I do still stand by that because you have to. That's one of the things I was raised on and what my mum taught me.

"I feel sorry for them because they didn't know what they were doing, they don't understand the magnitude of what they've done."

Daniel Okoro, Anthony's cousin, said the family were satisfied with Barton and Taylor's convictions but would not be celebrating.

Paul Taylor (picture courtesy of Merseyside Police/PA)
The Walkers said they had forgiven Paul Taylor

"We have no reason to be jubilant because that will not bring Anthony back," he said.

"Anthony was a devout Christian and the world is a worse place without him. Our lives will never be the same again."

Mr Okoro went on to thank the thousands of people across Liverpool, the UK and the world whose support had been a "great comfort" to the family.

Despite that enormous support, Gee Walker said the family was still struggling to cope with Anthony's death.

She said: "Every day we wonder, where is our lad?

"Every day we still wait. We call his name, we hear a ball bounce and we are all looking and waiting."

Mrs Walker said her other son Daniel had been particularly affected by Anthony's death.

"I just feel sad for him, every night climbing into the top bunk and his brother's not there. He is just a shadow of himself. When you say, 'how do you feel son?' He just says, 'lost'."

The time between Anthony's death and the trial was relatively short for a murder investigation and Mrs Walker revealed the hearings had been testing.

Dominique Walker
Dominique Walker feels sorrow for her brother's killers

"I don't know what hell feels like but I'm sure I'm sitting in hell right now. Every day you have to relive the pain and I just hope to God no other mother has to sit where I am sitting."

For Anthony's father, Steve Walker, the proceedings brought shock - it was the first time he had seen the kind of weapon used to kill his son.

"When they said to me, 'an axe', at first I thought it was one of those little six-inch or nine-inch things.

"But the handle is about two feet long and I just thought, 'no, you can't use that on somebody'.

"I don't know what was going through his (Taylor's) mind. He couldn't have been thinking like a normal human would."

Dominique Walker and her brother attended the same primary school as Paul Taylor. Her mother said they all grew up knowing one another "in one way, shape or form".

Although they were not friends, they had certainly shared the same playground, Mrs Walker added.

"That's what made it so unbelievable, because they all played together. Was it there all the time? Why didn't they say it? That's a question we will never know."

Anthony Walker - The Real Story - BBC ONE on Friday 2 December at 1930 GMT.


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