Anthony Walker: what happened to his killers Michael Barton and Paul Taylor?
Anthony Walker was an 18-year-old teenager when he was killed in a racist attack 15 years ago. A new BBC drama, Anthony, airs on Monday night, and takes a look at what Anthony’s life could have been like if it hadn’t been cruelly taken from him by his attackers, Michael Barton and Paul Taylor.
Michael Barton is serving nearly 17 years in prison for the murder of Anthony
The teenager and his cousin, Marcus, were walking his girlfriend Louise to a bus stop back in 2005 when they were heckled by the pair from a pub, who then followed and ambushed the trio. While Marcus and Louise managed to run away, Anthony was murdered by the pair.
Michael and Paul initially attempted to escape following the murder, driving to Dover and getting on a ferry before continuing to Amsterdam. They eventually returned to the UK five days after the attack and were charged with murder on 5 August.
Paul Taylor is serving 23 years and eight months for Anthony’s death
Paul Taylor pleaded guilty to murder while Michael Barton pleaded not guilty. However, both were found guilty by a unanimous jury, with the presiding judge Lord Justice Leveson saying that it was a “racist attack of a type poisonous to any civilised society”.
While Paul has been sentenced to 23 years and eight months in prison, Michael received 17 years and eight months, and has since had his sentence reduced by one year in 2016. At the time of his sentence reduction, Mr Justice Mitting said: “His progress has been exceptional. It could not have been foreseen, except as an unlikely possibility, when he was sentenced.
“His transformation from a racist thug into a sensible, realistic young man satisfies the high threshold for a reduction in his minimum term.”
Michael’s sentence has been reduced by one year
Anthony’s mother, Gee Walker, responded to the decision, which will see Michael released in the next two years, telling ITV News: “It is a big let-down. I’m very disappointed and I feel deeply betrayed. We put our trust in the judges, in the law, and then they go and do this. It’s just wrong… This sends completely the wrong message to criminals. It tells them that if the pretend to be good they will win. I don’t believe what he has done in prison is anything more than pretence. I believe he is playing a game and he sees that he is winning by doing that.”
BBC’s new drama imagines what Anthony’s life could have been
It was reported back in 2011 that Paul appeared to have posted racist content on Facebook from prison, with Gee telling the Liverpool Echo at the time: “The family and I are shocked by this. I thought prison was meant for punishment and rehabilitation, not for networking and socialising with partners in crime.”
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