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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 15:08 GMT
Cousins jailed for racist murder
Michael Barton (left) and Paul Taylor
Barton and Taylor followed Anthony to McGoldrick Park
The racist killers of black teenager Anthony Walker have been told they must serve minimum terms of 17 and 23 years.

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

Michael Barton, 17, of Boundary Road, Huyton, who was found guilty of his murder on Wednesday, will serve a minimum of 17 years and eight months.

Paul Taylor, 20, of Elizabeth Road, Huyton, admitted murder and must serve at least 23 years and eight months.

On Thursday, Mr Justice Leveson told Taylor and Barton: "This was a racist attack of a type poisonous to any civilised society.

"In spite of your youth, deterrent sentences are vital."

You crept into the park with evil on your mind
Mr Justice Leveson
"You took from Anthony Walker his most precious possession, that is to say his life and all it held for him.

"He was a young man of enormous promise, lost in a moment.

"You have damaged forever the lives of those who loved him."

He told Barton, who was convicted on Wednesday, that although he did not wield the axe, he was jointly responsible for the murder.

He said: "This was a terrible incident and you played a full part in jointly bringing the ice axe to further your terrifying attack.

Anthony Walker
Anthony Walker was out with his girlfriend and cousin

"You knew what you intended to do as you drove searching out your quarries and you crept into the park with evil on your mind."

On Wednesday Preston Crown Court, sitting in Liverpool, heard Barton shouted racist abuse at Anthony as he waited at a bus stop with cousin Marcus Binns and girlfriend, Louise Thompson.

The three walked away but Barton, whose brother is Manchester City footballer Joey Barton, and Taylor ambushed them near McGoldrick Park.

"The terror evident in Marcus Binns and Louise Thompson proves beyond all reasonable doubt that this was not simply two groups bumping into each other," Mr Justice Leveson continued.

"I am sure that the fear [the defendants] generated was deliberate and the plan was premeditated."

Marcus and Louise managed to escape but Taylor caught up with Anthony and drove the ice axe into his skull, Preston Crown Court, sitting in Liverpool heard.

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

Taylor pleaded guilty to murder but Barton, who denied the same charge, was convicted of the killing on the grounds he supplied the weapon and started the confrontation.

Outside court, Anthony's mother Gee Walker said she accepted the sentence and hoped Taylor and Barton would use their time behind bars to "reflect on what they've done".

"No amount of time, no sentence, no matter how long, it will not bring my son back," she added.

She said she "admired" Taylor for having expressed remorse at the murder.

Defence barrister Andrew Menary QC had told the judge in mitigation that Taylor was "horrified" by what he had done and wanted to apologise to the family.

'Long time'

"Surely his mum must have instilled some goodness in him for him to accept that he has done something wrong," Mrs Walker said.

Det Ch Supt Peter Currie, who led the murder investigation, said he was pleased with the sentences handed out.

"Whichever way you look at it, it's a long time, longer than the time either have been alive up to now," he said.

He blamed friends of Barton and Taylor for racist graffiti daubed in the park where Anthony died on Wednesday.

"It's so close in time to the verdict, you can only assume it's either friends or associates or supporters that is responsible."

See Anthony's mother visiting the scene of his death

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