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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 19:39 GMT
Youth guilty of racist axe murder
Michael Barton (left) and Paul Taylor
Barton and Taylor followed Anthony to McGoldrick Park
A 17-year-old has been found guilty of murdering black student Anthony Walker, who was found with an axe in his head.

Michael Barton had denied killing Anthony but was found guilty of murder. His cousin Paul Taylor, 20, had admitted his part in the killing.

Anthony, 18, was killed with an ice axe at McGoldrick Park in Huyton, Merseyside, on 29 July.

The judge, Mr Justice Leveson, said the murder was racially-motivated and the pair would be sentenced on Thursday.

Mr Justice Leveson told the court he was "sure this attack was racially-motivated and pre-meditated from the moment that the two men set off in the motor car".

Anthony Walker

Barton, whose brother is Manchester City footballer Joey Barton, and Taylor face a mandatory life sentence and the minimum tariff for racially motivated murders is 30 years.

Anthony's mother Gee, said outside the court "justice had been done".

The court heard Barton had shouted racist abuse at Anthony as he waited at a bus stop near the Huyton Park pub with his cousin Marcus Binns and girlfriend, Louise Thompson.

The three walked away to go to another bus stop, but Barton and his cousin Taylor ambushed them near McGoldrick park.

Marcus and Louise escaped, but Taylor caught up with Anthony and drove the ice axe into his skull, the court heard.

Outside court, Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Currie, of Merseyside Police, said: "A young man with his girlfriend and cousin minding their own business, doing absolutely nothing wrong, subjected to a torrent of racist abuse, they go to another bus stop... everything they did was right but it ultimately turned out wrong.

"It is beyond belief."

Gee Walker
I knew from the start there was only one verdict
Gee Walker

Taylor, of Elizabeth Road, Huyton, inflicted the fatal blow, and pleaded guilty to murder but Barton, of Boundary Road, Huyton, was convicted on the grounds he supplied the weapon and started the confrontation.

He was found guilty by a jury at Preston Crown Court, sitting in Liverpool, on Wednesday.

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers told the court the axe had smashed a 5.5cm-wide (2.1in) hole into Anthony's skull, penetrating his brain.

Barton had claimed he was not there when Anthony was murdered but it emerged in court that Taylor had swung the ice axe at the student because he was getting the better of Barton in a fight.

He phoned his girlfriend after the murder telling her he struck Anthony "because Michael was getting battered and I had to stop him".

Louise Thompson
Anthony's girlfriend, Louise Thompson, gave evidence

During the trial Andrew Menary QC, defending, said Taylor had gone along with Barton to back him and race was not an issue.

Joey Barton told his brother's trial 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."

The court heard Michael 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.

The ice axe used to kill Anthony Walker
The ice axe was deeply embedded in Anthony's skull

Outside court, Anthony's cousin David Okoro said: "Anthony was a wonderful young man who had everything to live for and his murder has subjected my family to a living nightmare.

"Anthony posed no threat to these people. They chose to kill him purely because of the colour of his skin.

"We are satisfied with the verdict but we are not celebrating. We have no reason to be jubilant, because that will not bring Anthony back."

His mother Gee said: "I knew from the start there was only one verdict.

"I've got to forgive them, my family and I still stand by what we believe - forgiveness."

CCTV images of Anthony Walker

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