CLOSURE: Gee Walker with a picture of Anthony
THE MOTHER of a black teenager who was murdered in 2005 says she intends to meet with one of her son’s killers to gain closure.
Gee Walker, whose 18-year-old son Anthony died after being hit with an ice axe said she one day hopes to meet with Paul Taylor, who is now serving a 23–year prison sentence for delivering the fatal blow.
She said she might also meet Michael Barton (half-brother of Premiership footballer Joey Barton) who got a 17-year prison sentence for his role in the July 30 2005 racist attack at a bus stop in Liverpool.
Taylor recently wrote to Walker to apologise for racist abuse that was posted on his Facebook page. He told her someone else posted the vile messages and said he didn’t want to cause her any more pain.
Walker, a lecturer, told The Voice: “My son’s murderer used to play so nicely with him in the playground. He sent me a very in-depth letter (from prison) and I’m beginning to remember that person I used to know so hopefully we can meet and resolve some of these unanswered questions. I would like to find out what happened to the lovely boy Anthony used to play with when the pain subsides. I've always said from the start, I would like to know what happened to my son when he breathed his last breath. How can I be at peace without asking these searching questions? As a mum, I need to know.”
Walker has long said she has forgiven Anthony’s killers and that God gave her strength to continue after the aspiring solicitor’s murder.
“Why would I waste my time being angry and full of revenge?” she said. “Anthony would be the first to say ‘Mum let it go.’ He was a leader and an example. He was a blessing to me. The Lord’s Prayer says ‘forgive those who trespass against us’ and Anthony would quote this back to me. He was always bringing people together. He was a good Christian boy.”
Recently Walker said she would be glad to see Taylor and Barton get out of prison and live normal lives if they accepted that they did wrong.
“If they've turned their lives around and are truly saddened or fully accept they've done wrong, and are willing to change their lives, then I don't see any reason why they shouldn't live a normal life," she said. Six years after Anthony’s murder, Walker told The Voice her pain at losing her son is still fresh.
However, she and her family want to keep helping aspiring youngsters and grieving families in Anthony’s memory.
“Anyone who loses a child, if they ask me to come just to sit with them, I’d be more than willing. If I can just be there for them, I’d do it, they’ll just have to ask,” said Walker, who set up the Anthony Walker Foundation in 2006.
Last week, the Foundation received £3,700 to launch Spray It, Don’t Say It, a campaign aimed at teaching youngsters to express their frustrations, combat racism and celebrate cultural diversity through street art. A mobile canvas will tour youth clubs and public areas.
On October 21, the Foundation will also host its annual Anthony Walker Memorial Lecture at the Council House in Bristol.