Carrick man’s apology over Paris incident

Richard Barklie, seen on CCTV
Richard Barklie, seen on CCTV

A Carrick football fan who is one of three men sought in connection with an alleged racist incident has apologised for his involvement.

But Richard Barklie, 50, insisted he is not a racist.

The Chelsea fan’s image was released by Scotland Yard as part of an investigation into a group of supporters who allegedly pushed a black man off a Paris Metro train and chanted a racist song last week.

The ex-RUC and PSNI officer is currently a director with the World Human Rights Forum and has also worked with the WAVE Trauma Centre.

On Sunday, Mr Barklie issued a statement through his solicitor Kevin Winters, which read: “We act on behalf of Mr Barklie identified as one of the people sought by authorities investigating an incident on the Paris Metro on 16/2/15.

“We contacted London Metropolitan Police to advise that our client is happy to assist with inquiries. Pending formal engagement with police, our client is anxious to put on record his total abhorrence for racism and any activity associated with it.

“As someone who has spent years working with disadvantaged communities in Africa and India he can point to a CV in human rights work which undermines any suggestion he is racist. A senior official in the World Human Rights Forum [has] confirmed their support for him.

“Mr Barklie is a Chelsea season ticket holder and has travelled to matches for over 20 years without incident.

“He travelled alone to the Paris St Germain match and has no knowledge whatsoever of the identities of the other people depicted in recent YouTube video releases. He wants to stress that he was not and never has been part of any group or faction of Chelsea supporters. He did not participate in racist chanting and singing and condemns any behaviour supporting that.

“He accepts he was involved in an incident when a person now known to him as Souleymane S was unable to enter a part of the train.

“He has an account to give to police which will explain the context and circumstances as they prevailed at that particular time.

“In the meantime pending that, he wants to put on record his sincerest apologies for the trauma and stress suffered by Mr Souleymane.

“He readily acknowledges that any judgement on the integrity of his apology will be kept in abeyance pending the outworkings of the investigation.

“Given the extremely sensitive nature of the issues engaged we urge upon all media outlets to exercise as much restraint as possible when commenting on the case.

“We accept on behalf of our client that public interest demands nothing but total indignation and condemnation from all media reporting but such reporting ought not to persist at the expense of undermining Mr Barklie’s right to a fair trial.

“London Met confirmed with us that arrangements were in hand to take the investigation to the next stage.”

The WAVE Trauma Centre, said it had suspended a part-time worker pending further investigation into the Paris incident.

“As this matter is subject to an investigation by the Metropolitan Police it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage,” said a spokesman for the charity.