Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Tuesday, 2 August 2005 17:49 UK

Shame and sorrow at senseless death

By David Green
BBC News, in Huyton

Flowers left outside McGoldrick Park, Huyton
Scores of flowers and tributes have been left at McGoldrick Park
As Huyton tries to come to terms with the brutal axe murder of black student Anthony Walker, a sense of sorrow and shame is palpable.

Sorrow at the senseless slaying of a promising and popular young man.

And shame that this racially-motivated killing has taken place in their own backyard.

For people from ethnic minorities the murder is doubly worrying.

Kevin Mello, a black man from nearby Kirkby, said he now feared for the safety of his own children.

I just hope people see Huyton through the example Anthony set rather than the murderous scum
Message left on bouquet
"This could have easily been my sons standing at a bus stop being targeted because of their colour," he said.

"It's just such a brutal attack. Black or white, it doesn't make any difference. These people have got to be caught."

The brutality of the murder is in striking contrast to the quiet, leafy town on the outskirts of Liverpool where it took place.

Home to some 40,000 people, Huyton is predominantly white with a mix of comfortable semi-detached and Victorian houses as well as local authority estates.

The entrance to McGoldrick Park - where Anthony was killed by a gang of up to four white men - has been transformed into a sea of flowers and messages from well-wishers.

One message left on a bouquet seemed to capture the mood better than the rest.

It read: "I just hope people see Huyton through the example Anthony set rather than the murderous scum."

Anthony Walker
Anthony Walker was 'a good citizen of Huyton'

On the other side of the park, in the St John's estate, the danger that the mainly white town could become synonymous with racism is on everybody's minds.

People are also sceptical that the murder was racially motivated.

"Anthony was in the wrong place at the wrong time, this could easily have happened to a white lad," said one woman, who did not want to be named for fear of being targeted.

"I think there must have been some kind of history between him and his attackers. It's a small minority of individuals who are evil."

Another woman said: "I went to Asda yesterday and for the first time I realised that I was being served by a Chinese man and an Asian man.

Kevin Mello
Kevin Mello fears for the safety of his sons

"I'd never noticed before - you just don't think about it. You see the person, not the colour."

On the estate where Anthony grew up in Mellor Close, neighbours spoke highly of a friendly young man.

"We have lost a good citizen of Huyton - many of us feel ashamed a bit that this is happening where we live," said Joyce Turner, of Bardley Crescent.

"I don't think I'll ever be able to go through McGoldrick Park again without thinking about this.

'Coming together'

"Everyone is very upset - the kids are scared and so are the parents."

In the nearby Hare & Hounds pub, where Anthony and his friends would often go, people are rallying around the Walker family.

"His cousins came in for a drink the other night and everyone just went up to them and consoled them," said its manager, Eve Payne.

"It's good that everyone is coming together. Everyone is dumbfounded by the ferocity and evilness of the attack."

video and audio news
See the tributes paid to Anthony Walker

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02 Aug 05 |  Merseyside
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01 Aug 05 |  Merseyside
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01 Aug 05 |  Merseyside
Family in plea over axe killing
31 Jul 05 |  Merseyside

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