The racist brother of Joey Barton’s killer has been granted parole and could be released from prison next month


The racist brother of Joey Barton’s killer has been granted parole and could be free as early as next month.

Michael Barton was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2006 for his role in the gruesome murder of black 18-year-old Anthony Walker with ice picks.

In February, Barton, 33, was transferred to HMP Thorn Cross, an open prison in Cheshire.

The parole board announced its decision today following an oral hearing earlier this month.

Barton has now been told he will be released and could walk the streets again in October.

A Parole Board spokesman said: “We can confirm that the Parole Board has ordered the release of Michael Barton following an oral hearing.

Anthony Walker

Michael Barton (left) murdered Anthony Walker, 18, (right) with his cousin Paul Taylor, 20, in Huyton in 2005 and will have a parole hearing days before the 15th anniversary of the murder.

‘Parole Board decisions focus solely on what risk a prisoner might pose to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

‘The department will carefully consider the vast amount of evidence, including details of the original crime and any evidence of a change in behaviour, and investigate the harm caused and the impact the crime has had on victims.

‘Members read and digest hundreds of pages of evidence and reports before the oral hearing.

‘Evidence may be given at the hearing from witnesses such as probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officers supervising the offender in prison and personal statements from the victim.

“It is common for the prisoner and witnesses to be questioned at length during the interrogation, which often lasts a full day or more. Parole reviews are conducted thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our priority.

‘Parole reviews are carried out thoroughly and with the utmost care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.”

Joey (pictured this month) told his brother to turn himself in after the crime

Joey (pictured this month) told his brother to turn himself in after the crime

Barton’s release is subject to a number of strict conditions.

The killer gave evidence in support of his parole bid and reportedly highlighted his exemplary behavior and progress in prison.

A written summary of the decision states: ‘Evidence was presented at the hearing regarding Mr Barton’s progress and behavior in custody during this sentence.

‘He attended accredited programs to address his decision-making and completed a regime for two years designed to support people to deal with drug misuse.

‘Mr Barton has also completed victim awareness work and joined a regime designed and supported by psychologists to help people identify and deal with their problems.

‘There have been no behavioral concerns for many years and Mr Barton has secured trusted roles in prison.

“Mr Barton was considered to have addressed past concerns about racist attitudes through his improved level of maturity and life in prison with a diverse group of people.”

The report added: ‘The commission was told that Mr Barton made good use of his time in an open prison, which included community testing through several periods of conditional release on licence.

Gee Walker, Anthony's mother, said the parole decision made her feel good

Gee Walker, Anthony’s mother, said she felt “betrayed” by the parole decision

“No major concerns were raised and in a report to the commission Mr Barton’s probation officer supported his release.”

It concluded: “Having considered the circumstances of his offence, the progress made in custody and the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel finds that Mr Barton is suitable for release.”

Strict permit conditions include an exclusion zone, regular drug testing, wearing an electronic tag and observing a curfew.

Barton was 17 when he and his cousin Paul Taylor, then 20, ambushed 18-year-old Anthony on July 29, 2005, after racially abusing him at a bus stop.

Taylor drove an ice ax into Anthony’s skull in a park in Huyton, Merseyside, and the killers fled to Amsterdam.

Barton was found guilty of manslaughter at Preston crown court that year and sentenced to a minimum of 17 years and eight months in prison, while Taylor admitted murder and must serve a minimum of 23 years and eight months.

At sentencing, Barton was told he was “poison to any civilized society”.

But in 2016 it emerged that Barton’s sentence had been reduced to 16 years from 18 after he became a charity worker in prison.

Because of this decision, Anthony’s mother, Dr. Gee Walker felt “betrayed”.

Dr Walker said: ‘Our justice system is the laughing stock of the world. Life definitely does not mean life.

‘But I choose to forgive because living in hatred is so destructive.’

She previously said: “I was promised 18 years, a year for every year my son lives.

If the justice system makes a promise and can’t deliver, what hope do we have?

‘When the judge hands down a life sentence, we who are sentenced to life are the ‘what?’ or ‘how?’

We wonder what he would be like or how he would turn out. We wonder what he would do now.

‘We are the ones left with this abyss of pain and wonder.’

In reducing Barton’s original tariff, Mr Justice Mitting said the killer’s “extraordinary” transformation in prison met the “high threshold” for the sentence to be commuted.

The judge found that the summary of the post-sentence assessment was that Barton was a “racist thug” and that he and his fellow gang members “regularly carried out violence”.

But he went on to claim that Barton had “transformed from a racist thug into a sensible realistic young man” during his detention.



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