Joey Barton appeared to downplay his brother Michael Barton’s role in a 2005 racially-motivated murder as his taking part in a ‘f***ing scrap’ in a clip from an upcoming podcast appearance.
Michael – whose brother featured for Manchester City at the time of the murder of Anthony Walker – was released from prison in September 2022 having served 17 years of a life sentence for his part in killing the black 18-year-old in McGoldrick Park in Liverpool.
Walker was returning home with his girlfriend Louisa Thompson and cousin Marcus Binns when Michael – accompanied by his cousin Paul Taylor – began hurling racist epithets at Walker, saying: ‘walk, n*****, walk’ as the trio passed by.
The pair later stalked and ambushed Walker and Taylor drove an ice axe in his skull which left the teenager brain-dead within moments.
Michael and Taylor fled to Amsterdam, but later returned to be charged with his murder, and later tried at Liverpool Crown Court.
A promotional clip for Joey Barton’s appearance on a new podcast appeared to show him downplay his brother’s role in the racially-motivated killing of Anthony Walker
Michael Barton (left) was jailed for a minimum term of 17 years and 8 months after racially abusing and ambushing Anthony Walker (right) before he was struck with an ice axe
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Barton appeared to tamp down the severity of his brother’s crime in promotional material for his appearance on the podcast Anything Goes with James English which circulated on social media on Thursday.
‘My brother lost 17 years of his life from 17,’ Barton said. ‘Because his mate who was his cousin at the time thought it would be a fantastic idea when they were having a f***ing scrap to pull an ice axe out, and swing it into somebody, and he’s stuck it into somebody’s head.’
As the clip gained traction on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) a number of users highlighted the insensitivity of Barton’s description of racist assault that preceded Walker’s ambush and murder a ‘scrap’, labelling his description as ‘disgusting’.
A statement shared by the Anthony Walker Foundation with Mail Sport stated that they considered the description ‘factually inaccurate’ and ‘lacking in any sensitivity given the serious nature of the incident’.
‘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,’ Kaushik Mistry, the CEO of the foundation continued.
‘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 trivialize the incident that led to such an outcome and heap further pain and suffering upon the family and friends of Anthony.’
‘The Anthony Walker Foundation will continue to strive for a more inclusive world where such an incident never reoccurs,’ he added in the statement. ‘Our charity will continue to tackle racism, hate crime and discrimination by providing educational opportunities and victim support services and by promoting equity and inclusion for all.’
During his trial, Michael stated that he believed he was the victim of the murder, and said that he bore no responsibility for Walker’s death.
Presiding judge Lord Justice Leveson said that the cousins had perpetrated a ‘terrifying ambush’ and a ‘racist attack of a type poisonous to any civilised society’.
After being sentenced to a minimum term of 17 years and 8 months, Michael’s initial behaviour in prison made him a ‘high risk’ prisoner, and he was disciplined for offensives including fighting, stealing, and possessing illicit hooch.
However, in 2016 the London High Court heard that his behaviour and attitude had improved dramatically, and his sentence was reduced by eight months.
Barton previously discussed his brother’s role in the killing and subsequent imprisonment in his book
Granted parole by the Parole Board in September last year, Michael was released just over two years after a BBC drama was made about the life of the devoutly Christian Walker following a collaboration between his mother Gee and screenwriter Jimmy McGovern.
Barton, who grew up in a different household to his brother, and at the time described himself as ‘sickened’ by Michael’s actions whilst urging him to come forward after fleeing the country.
In his 2016 book ‘No Nonsense’, the former Bristol Rovers manager discussed the murder, and singled out the strength shown by Gee, calling Walker’s mother as ‘a woman of immense dignity, incredible tolerance, immeasurable moral courage and inspirational goodness’.
He stated that he cannot ‘forget or forgive’ the actions of Taylor, and believed that both men ‘deserved their sentences’, as well as wondering if he ‘could have done any more to prevent’ Walker’s murder.
Post source: Daily mail