His target was one Calvin Robert Johnson, who Barker believed to have been responsible for the death of his brother, Chris Barker, a former National Front local election candidate and National Front steward prior to joining the Army. Back in October 2007 we wrote;
'Whichever way you read it, the story of Chris Barker's death is a tragedy. A former soldier suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, he succumbed to heroin and other drugs and eventually died in June 2001 after what an inquest described as a 'drugs and booze binge' at his then partner's home. Barker's arms were covered with up to ten injection marks and traces of heroin and cocaine were found in his body.Immediately following the publication of this article, I reported Barker to the police (log no: 134nq22102007 at Lancaster nick if you feel the need to check) and expected some swift action to be taken. After all, while racism is a criminal offence, incitement to violence is one that tends to be treated even more harshly and if the incitement has racist overtones, one expects the law to get a tad tetchy and speedily grab the person concerned.
There are a number of peculiarities about the story, one being that Barker allegedly kept £10,000 in cash at his home, this sum having been saved from his occasional work as a cabinet maker. True or not, after his death his credit card showed a debt of £4000 and there was no cash found. In addition to this, Pete Barker claims that his brother had given up hard drugs twelve years before his death.
The case is both convoluted and disturbing, and while we can be sympathetic to Pete Barker's continued campaign to seek what he perceives as justice for his brother's death, which he regards as murder (more details here and here) our sympathy rapidly evaporates when we encounter Barker's appalling racism. Johnson, who Barker accuses of his brother's murder, is 6'4", black and Rastafarian, and is the half-brother of the dead man's partner, Melonie Ellis. Barker variously describes Johnson as looking like a gorilla, 'a nigger' and 'a savage negro beast'.
His racism is not aimed at Johnson alone. Referring to the Johnson family, he states 'There is no resident father...as is typical with negro families'. Barker has also approached organisations connected to the armed forces for support but has claimed that '...because Chris was murdered by blacks, the main official [in one of the organisations he approached] who has black grandchildren, did not want to know.'
This is not the first time he has offered a bounty in exchange for violence. Back at the end of June, Barker wrote:
'The family have a £10,000 reward for info on the negro scumbags leading to an arrest.But being as the Police in Sheffield are not worthy of the name, the family will pay to have 'street justice' donated to Johnson and Ellis. Please contact this site...'
Back in May of this year, Barker printed a picture of Melonie Ellis along with her full address and date of birth and with the headline 'Wanted for murder', with the claim that she and her half-brother '...and other blacks were also involved in the murder of the manager of the Niche nightclub in Sheffield around 1999'.'
Not so. Despite a number of enquiries from myself and others, nothing seems to have happened for seventeen long months. Today though, we read that Barker has finally been done for his crime. Before we tell you what he received though, there's a little background to be taken account of. Barker himself responded to our article thus;
'Many thanks for the fairly unbiased story. It wouldn't have made an hap'orth of difference if the killers of my late brother had been white or even martian. I have an hatred for them. What does one do when Police Officers fail in their duty ?'While I have a lot of sympathy for someone who has lost a family member and can even make a lot of excuses for their moments of apparent madness as a result of such a loss, Barker's statement that 'it wouldn't have made an hap'orth of difference if the killers of my late brother had been white or even martian' simply doesn't ring true. Nor, frankly, that he made the post when he was drunk.
Simply put, Barker is a long-time nazi, formerly in the NF and BNP, and when the police raided his home, was in possession of 'nationalist' books and magazines, British National Party and National Front election manifestos, images and books of far right ideology and photographs showing men holding up Union Jacks with Rochdale National Front written along the front of them. Barker at one point ran Rochdale BNP (or at least said he did) and claimed to have been close to the BNP's nazi founder, the late John Tyndall.
He is said to have been involved in the far-right for well over thirty years, bragging about having been in the National Front during its heyday in the 70s, though he does little now. But here we see a long-time and active member of the far-right inciting violence against someone he describes variously as a 'nigger', a 'gorilla' and 'a savage negro beast. Like it or not, Barker is clearly a racist.
Given his history and given the pretty extreme nature of the incitement, one would have expected a term of imprisonment. But no. Barker admitted a charge of stirring up racial hatred and was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years. He will also be electronically tagged for six months and was ordered to complete a two-year supervision requirement.
A suspension and two-month tagging? And that's it? Just for a change, I am lost for words...