Published On: Thu, Nov 30th, 2023
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Joey Barton under fire for remarks on brother and cousin’s racist murder of Anthony Walker | Football | Sport

Former , and midfielder has become the subject of fierce criticism for his comments on the racist murder of teenager Anthony Walker back in 2005. Barton’s brother, Michael, and cousin, Paul Taylor, were both convicted in relation to the incident.

Anthony was hit in the head by Taylor with an ice axe while walking to a bus stop with his cousin and girlfriend in 2005. On the day of the murder, Michael Barton hurled racist abuse at Anthony and his cousin before following them, hiding in the bushes and launching a vicious attack alongside Taylor.

The judge, Mr Justice Leveson, sentenced Michael Barton to a minimum of 18 years before parole, which was later reduced by one year, telling him that although he was not the one to wield the murder weapon, he was jointly responsible, adding: “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.”

Now, his older brother Joey has sparked uproar by describing the incident that led to Anthony’s death as a ‘scrap’.

Speaking on the James English podcast, in a clip viewed over a million times on social media, he said: “My brother lost 17 years of his life from 17, because his mate, who was his cousin at the time, thought it would be a fantastic idea, when they were having a f*****g scrap, to pull an ice axe out and swing it into somebody and it stuck in his head.”

The Anthony Walker Foundation, which was set up in 2006 to tackle racism and hate crime, responded by issuing a lengthy statement.

“We consider [Barton’s] description of Anthony’s murder as factually incorrect, lacking in any sensitivity given the serious nature of the incident, in which Anthony Walker tragically lost his life to a violent racially motivated attack by Mr Barton’s brother and his cousin Paul Taylor,” it read.

“This year is the eighteenth anniversary of Anthony’s murder, so we express our hope that Mr Barton will reflect on the impact of his words and the profound significance of the actions of his brother as he walks the street a free man. It is worth noting that Michael Barton did not lose 17 years of his life, the only life lost that day was Anthony’s and not for 17 years, but forever.

“It saddens us that someone with his reach and status would seem to trivialise the incident that led to such an outcome and heap further pain and suffering upon the family and friends of Anthony.”

Michael Barton was released from prison last September after serving 17 years behind bars. Taylor, meanwhile, remains in prison after being sentenced to a minimum of 23 years and eight months.

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