JOEY Barton’s racist killer brother has launched a bid to be released from prison – but his victim’s mum has slammed the idea he could be let out early.
Michael Barton, 31, is currently serving an 18-year sentence for the 2005 murder of 18-year-old Anthony Walker, but is set to appear in front of a parole board in October.
Barton is the younger brother of Joey Barton, 37, a former midfielder for Manchester City and current manager of League One club Fleetwood Town.
Michael Barton was 17 when he and cousin Paul Taylor, then 20, followed Walker into a park after shouting racist abuse at him while he waited for a bus in Huyton, Merseyside.
Taylor then hit Walker over the head with an ice ace, killing him, and by the next morning, both Taylor and Barton had fled to Amsterdam.
The murder was the subject of a 90-minute BBC drama, Anthony, which aired tonight and left viewers in tears.
Speaking last week about the possibility of Barton’s sentence being reduced, Anthony’s mother, Gee Walker, said: “They promised me 18 years, a year for each year my son lived.
“If the justice system makes a promise and can’t keep it, what hope is there for us?
“When the judge passed a sentence of life, we are the ones who are sentenced to a life of ‘what?’, or ‘how?’
“We wonder what he would have been like, or how he would have turned out. We wonder what he’d be doing now.
“We are the ones who are left with this abyss of pain and wondering.”
Taylor admitted to murder and was sentenced to 23 years and eight months, while Barton was handed 17 years and eight months.
In 2016, Barton’s minimum term was reduced to 16 years owing to charity work completed in prison.
In October he is expected to ask to be moved to an open prison, a move that would make a release more likely once his minimum term has been served.
At the time of the 2016 decision, Mr Justice Mitting said Barton had undergone a “transformation from a racist thug into the sensible realistic young man” during his time in prison.
He said Barton had met a “high threshold” before the sentence had been reduced.
Regarding the October hearing, a parole board spokesperson told the Mirror: “Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.
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“The panel will carefully examine a whole range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as understand the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.
“Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.”
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