Girlfriend of murder victim weeps as she tells jury of racist abuse before killing

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The Independent Online

The cousin and girlfriend of the murdered black teenager Anthony Walker yesterday recounted in court the distressing incidents that led to his death.

Mr Walker, 18, was killed in what the prosecution says was a racist attack last July in Huyton, Merseyside, killed by an ice axe that was driven into his skull.

Paul Taylor, 20, has admitted Mr Walker's murder but his cousin, Michael Barton, 17, the brother of the Manchester City footballer Joey Barton, denies the same charge.

Preston Crown Court, sitting in Liverpool, heard how the black teenager was waiting at a bus stop with his girlfriend Louise Thompson, who is white, and his cousin, Marcus Binns, when they were approached outside the Huyton Park pub. Louise, 17, broke down as she described how one person, his face covered by a hood and scarf, shouted "nigger" and "coon".

When Mr Walker told them they were waiting for a bus and would soon be gone, she said the man shouted: "Walk, nigger, walk." Mr Binns, now 18, was combing his afro hairstyle in the reflection of a phone box at the time.

Both Mr Binns, who comes from Coventry but was staying with the Walkers following a christening, and Louise said they walked away to avoid trouble.

But as they walked to the next bus stop, Mr Binns told how they were passed by a speeding Peugeot 406 car without its lights on.

He said the car immediately turned left after passing them, which made him feel "anxious and wary".

When Mr Walker suggested they cut through McGoldrick Park, Mr Binns told the court he still felt uneasy. He said: "We were walking at a normal pace, but there were just inner feelings that someone was following. I didn't see anything, it was just a feeling.

"There is a lot of trees in the park and it was dark, very dark. I glimpsed towards my left and I saw a dark, shadowy figure in the bush. It crept out of the bush. I've noticed it and I've told them to run."

Mr Binns told the court that he "sprinted" away, only returning after he had roused a local householder. By now, he said, he was "out of breath, in shock, frightened".

The householder and his son drove Mr Binns back to McGoldrick Park, where they found a horrific sight.

Mr Binns said: "All three of us got out of the car, walked up and we saw him lying there. He was in a critical condition. He was face up. There was an axe in his head."

Louise also told the court how she had escaped the scene before the fatal blow was delivered.

She said: "People jumped out from the bushes, about three or four I think, I couldn't really tell, it was dark. I just saw them jump out and when Anthony let go, I just ran. I panicked. I didn't look around.

"I saw Marcus run, he was ahead but went a different direction."

She told the court that she ran to a local police station but did not return to the scene that night.

On the night of his death, she had spent the evening at his house, helping him to look after his two-year-old nephew, Reuben.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.