The brother of former Premier League football Joey Barton who murdered a black teenager could be move to an open prison.
Michael Barton, 32, was 17 when he hurled racist abuse at 18-year-old Anthony Walker and then attacked him in a park in Merseyside in 2005.
Barton’s cousin Paul Taylor, 20, then smashed an ice axe into Walker’s head before the thugs fled to Amsterdam.
At the time, sentencing judge Mr Justice Leveson said the pair were guilty of “racist thuggery of a type that is poisonous to any civilised society”.
But Parole Board papers detailing the decision described Barton at the time of his offending as someone who led an anti-social lifestyle, fuelled by drink and drugs, showing “misguided loyalty” to like-minded people and displaying “racist attitudes” as well as condoning violence, Daily Record reports.
According to evidence presented at the hearing, Barton’s initial behaviour behind bars had been poor but he had matured over the last decade and, now 32, had been taking part in courses on victim awareness and substance abuse.
The document said: “After considering the circumstances of his offending and the progress made while in custody, as well as the benefits and risks of Mr Barton transferring to open conditions, the panel recommended that he should be progressed in this way.”
It is now for the Justice Secretary to decide whether to accept the Board’s recommendation.
A Parole Board spokesman said: “We will only make a recommendation for open conditions if a Parole Board panel is satisfied that the risk to the public has reduced sufficiently to be manageable in an open prison.
“This was supported by all those who gave evidence at the hearing.”
Barton, who was told to serve at least 17 years for the murder, will be eligible for parole in just under two years’ time when his minimum term expires.