Prosecutors throw out Arobieke racism complaint

Akinwale Arobieke
Akinwale Arobieke

A police probe into alleged racial hate crimes in a documentary about a bodybuilder concluded that no wrongdoing had taken place.

Merseyside Police began investigating accusations of racism in the BBC documentary The Man Who Squeezes Muscles: Searching for Purple Aki, last October.

The show, which was broadcast on BBC Three in September, examined Akinwale Arobieke and his infamous fetish for touching young men’s muscles in gyms across the North West.

A police spokesman today confirmed that the Crown Prosecution Service had dealt with and concluded the issue.

They said: “Following a consultation, the CPS are satisfied that they have concluded the matter.

“The recommendation was that no further action should be taken.”

The 55-year-old, who was born in Manchester but lived in the Liverpool area, completed several jail sentences for his bizarre and horrifying crimes.

Arobieke’s statuesque figure and intimidating actions left one man so frightened that he was killed in a desperate attempt to hide from him.

Gary Kelly was electrocuted by a live rail at a train station in June 1987. He had jumped onto the tracks and climbed underneath a train to conceal himself after Arobieke spotted him at New Brighton railway station. He was 16 years old.

Arobieke was convicted of manslaughter over the incident, and spent two and a half years in prison, but his conviction was overturned in November that year.

His most recent conviction came in 2009 when he was jailed for 18 months after decades of repeating the same offence.

He had been given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order the year in 2008, but had disobeyed it when he attempted to touch a 17-year-old boy’s biceps just two months after the order was imposed.

That order in itself was served after Arobieke’s release from prison following a six-year sentence which began in 2003, after 16 men complained about him.

The BBC commissioned their documentary after the court order that curtailed his activities was lifted last May.

But the BBC was accused of inciting racial hatred, stemming from the use of the term Purple Aki, which was widely considered a racial slur.

Police then revealed that officers were investigating an allegation of a race hate crime.

The BBC refused to comment on the investigation at the time it was opened, saying: “This is a serious and considered film made in line with our usual editorial standards, and we stand by it.

“As a matter has been raised with the police, we are unable to comment further.”

Arobieke had repeatedly taken issue with the nickname even before the documentary was produced.

Arobieke’s actions were so notorious, and spread across such a vast period of time, that many people believed him to be a myth - a gym-goer’s version of the bogeyman, someone who a friend of a friend had once been accosted by.

But Arobieke and his crimes were very much real.

Arobieke was first documented to have touched a young man as far back as the eighties.

His crimes predominantly took place in Liverpool, but he was also known to have terrorised men across Wigan, making more bizarre requests to touch their muscles - so much so that he was even banned from the town.