27 July 2020 18:45
Anthony Walker, the subject of a new one-off BBC drama, was just 18 years old when he was brutally murdered for the colour of his skin. The teenager was walking home when he became the subject of a racist attack in 2005. His killers, Michael Barton and Paul Taylor, were found guilty of murder. Here's what happened to them: Who are Michael Barton and Paul Taylor? Michael Barton is the younger brother of former footballer Joey Barton, and grew up in Merseyside.
His cousin, Paul Taylor, was with him on the evening of Anthony Walker's murder. The two shouted racist abuse at Walker as he was waiting at a bus stop with his girlfriend Louise Thompson and Marcus Binns on July 29, 2005. After the three walked on and ignored the yelling, Barton and Taylor chose to follow and attack them in a nearby park. Thompson and Binns managed to escape the attack, but Walker was caught and Taylor brutally hit him in the head with a mountaineering axe. Walker died in the early hours of the next morning. What happened to Anthony Walker's killers? A few hours after the attack, Michael Barton and Paul Taylor fled the country and went to Amsterdam via a ferry to Calais. Merseyside police then named them as suspects, and Barton's brother Joey made a televised appeal urging the two to return home. He said: "My side of the Barton family is sickened by his death. "Although I was not brought up with Michael, I urge him to come forward. "You must do this for the Walker family, so they can mourn Anthony and because you know it is the right thing to do." Days later they returned to the UK, and were arrested on arrival. During their trial Taylor pleaded guilty to the murder while Michael Barton denied the charge of murder, but the jury came to a unanimous guilty verdict and they were handed sentences of 17 years and eight months and 23 years and eight months respectively. Sentencing, Judge Leveson said: "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. Further, you have destroyed your own lives and affected the lives of all who are dear to you." In 2011, Barton sent a letter of apology to Walker's mother. In 2016 Barton's sentence was reduced by a year after judge Mr Justice Mitting said he had made "exceptional progress" in prison. He added that jail had led to "a remarkable transformation in his outlook and conduct" for Barton. Anthony premieres on BBC One at 8:30pm Monday July 27, and will be available on BBC iPlayer afterwards.