The hunt for the racist killers of a black teenager who was
left with an axe embedded in his skull in an unprovoked attack
A-Level student Anthony Walker, 18, died in hospital after
a gang of up to four white men attacked him in Huyton, Merseyside,
on Friday. He had been taunted at a bus stop with his white
girlfriend and a male cousin. They fled but were set upon
in a park. Police believe the killers are local, and want
the community to give them up. 'Torrent of abuse' Mr Walker
had spent the evening with his girlfriend, who attended
the same sixth-form college in Huyton. Merseyside Police
said that as the couple waited for a bus outside the Huyton
Park pub with Mr Walker's cousin they were subjected to
a "torrent of racial abuse" by a man in his 20s
wearing a hooded top. Police want to trace two men who were
seen talking to the man shortly after he hurled the abuse.
We believe the offenders are local and we believe it is
the responsibility of the local community to give [them]
up Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Lawson Mr Walker and
his companions did not retaliate to the abuse and left to
find another bus stop. But they were followed and as they
walked through McGoldrick Park they were attacked by a gang
of three or four men. Mr Walker's girlfriend and cousin
saw a man carrying an axe bludgeon him, and ran to get help.
When they returned minutes later they found him slumped
on the ground with massive head injuries. The axe was embedded
in his skull. Police hope CCTV footage from a camera just
yards away from where Mr Walker was attacked will provide
vital clues. Mr Walker was taken to Whiston Hospital and
later transferred to Walton neurological centre where he
died at 0525 BST on Saturday. 'Despicable act' Merseyside
Police Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Lawson said: "What
we are dealing with here is an unprovoked and vicious attack
on a young black man which we believe to be racially motivated.
The area around the pub has been sealed off "This was
a despicable act and we are absolutely determined to find
the people responsible." Mr Lawson urged local people
to help catch the killers. "We believe the offenders
are local and we believe it is the responsibility of the
local community to give these people up," he said.
"There are a lot of decent people in the local area
who are absolutely shocked at what has happened." Police
said there have been a series of racially motivated attacks
in the area, and were not ruling out a connection. Several
floral tributes have been left at the scene of the murder.
Mr Walker was a churchgoer who was also a keen basketball
player. The BBC's Richard Wells said local people had told
him that those who knew him said he "wouldn't hurt
a fly". Mr Lawson added: "Anthony was a young
Christian studying for his A-levels and wanting to be a
lawyer. "Those dreams for him and his family are now
Two men have denied murdering Liverpool
teenager Anthony Walker.
The 18-year-old died after he was attacked with an axe near
McGoldrick Park in Huyton, Merseyside, in July. Michael Barton,
17, and Paul Taylor, 20, are also charged with conspiracy
to cause grievous bodily harm to Anthony and his cousin, Marcus
Binns. The pair pleaded not guilty to both charges at Preston
Crown Court and their trial is expected to start on Tuesday
at Liverpool Crown Court. Three other people appeared in court
last week facing charges associated with the killing. Paul
Morson, 25, from Huyton, appeared before Liverpool magistrates
charged with perverting the course of justice. Robert Williams,
31, and Tracy Garner, 34, both of Kirkdale, are charged with
conspiring to assist an offender. They were all bailed to
appear at Liverpool Crown Court on 8 March when they are expected
to enter a plea.
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.
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 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."