Sister of murdered schoolboy Anthony Walker begins her new life – as a police officer
The sister of a black teenager murdered with an ice-axe blow to the head in a racist attack has joined the police force that brought his killers to justice.
Seven years after her brother Anthony was killed, Dominique Walker, 26, is patrolling the same kinds of tough Merseyside estates where his two young killers grew up.
The job represents a remarkable life change for the graduate, who left university with plans for a career in television. She says she decided to sign up as a PC after being impressed by officers' determination to catch her brother's murderers.
"I want to be Britain's first black woman chief constable. I know it's a big ambition but I believe in aiming high and I really want to try to do it," said Ms Walker who signed up two years ago. "I am not trying to prove anything for Anthony. But if by doing my job I bear witness to his life then I am showing he did not lose it in vain and that is good."
Mr Walker, 18, was killed on 29 July 2005, as he walked with his cousin and girlfriend, who is white, so she could catch a bus. They had cut through a park near his home after they were racially abused, but were confronted by two men who attacked Mr Walker in what was described in court as a premeditated racist attack.
When Dominique found out what had happened, she went to the park and asked residents who was behind the attack. "I went straight down to the police station and I got to see the Deputy Chief Constable and another senior officer," she said in an interview with a Liverpool news agency.
"I gave them a piece of paper with the two names written on it. He said: 'We'll get them' and I could see in his eyes that he meant it 100 per cent. Over the days that followed all the police we dealt with were very kind and caring towards us. I think it was then that the seeds of the idea of following a career in the police were planted in me."
The two attackers fled the country after the murder but were arrested within a week, following a police inquiry and an appeal by Joey Barton, the QPR footballer and brother of one of the two men. Michael Barton, then aged 17, and Paul Taylor, 20, were later jailed for life.
The killing had echoes of the murder of Stephen Lawrence – another black teenager with a potentially bright future killed as he made his way to a bus stop. Merseyside Police said from the earliest days of the inquiry it had learnt from the bruising experience of their counterparts in London.
Ms Walker's experience contrasted with that of Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen, who complained that when she handed a list of suspects to police in the aftermath of her son's killing it was repeatedly folded into a tiny square.
Gee Walker, Anthony's mother, told The Independent earlier this year: "I really can't fault my police officers in any way, shape or form. I believe that they are the best in the country. This is a different era."
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