It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


The Legend of Purple Aki : “The Mersey Bogey Man”

page: 1

log in


posted on Sep, 15 2016 @ 03:44 PM

The greatest trick the bogey man ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist……

We all hear stories as a kid of the bogey man. A mythical shady character that would carry out retribution on us for getting up to no good, acting mischievously or refusing to do as our parents and teachers requested. As to what that retribution would be was never expanded on. That was left to our imaginations.
But this is the story of a real life bogey man. School kids of the early 1980s first heard the rumours of a huge black man who had a weird obsession for “touching your muscles” and other unhealthy habits. Legend has it that despite his huge frame he would suddenly appear, as if from nowhere, before approaching young men he targeted across a certain corner of the British mainland.

Starting in Liverpool these rumours soon spread to the surrounding towns of North West England and nearby North Wales. Many of us treated it is an urban myth or, at best, considered it all an exaggeration.
That all changed after the death of a young man in New Brighton, a small seaside resort on the opposite side of the River Mersey to the city of Liverpool, some thirty years ago.

The legend of ‘Purple Aki’ had become mainstream news. He was no longer an urban myth. But the story would still take even stranger twists in the years that followed. It is a story that even involves him harassing and scaring professional sportsmen out of their wits.

But first let’s go back to the beginning of it all in early 1980s Liverpool.

Can I Feel Your Muscles?

There was a lot going on in Liverpool during the early 1980s. A vibrant music scene and two successful football clubs provided the backdrop to a city in deep recession and afflicted with social and racial tensions.

Around this time a certain Akinwale Arobieke entered local folklore. A six and a half foot, 310 pounds bogey man dubbed ‘Purple Aki’.
One of the earliest stories of this imposing figure comes from South Liverpool.

A local schoolboy from the Garston area of the city was walking to play a game of snooker when a large, imposing figure approached him asking the whereabouts of a local gym. Then this huge black man asked him “Can I feel your muscles? Can I feel your biceps?”

Startled and scared, the schoolboy James Vaughan, flexed his muscles whilst Arobieke ran his hands over them and gripped his biceps. Slowly but surely other stories surfaced about this large six and a half feet tall black man. Many were similar to Vaughan’s while other young men told how Arobieke would get them to do squat thrusts whilst he lay on top of them feeling their biceps often in a reverse ‘piggyback’ position.
This bizarre story took a grip in local school playgrounds. Many of us kids at the time thought it was all silly urban legend for sure. There were always plenty of others saying it was completely true ,seemingly spinning a yarn from a friend of a friend. But to some ‘Purple Aki’ was the real life ‘Mersey bogey man’.

Aki made a concerted effort to target young men (as young as 13) that frequented gyms, school or college sports events, and rugby clubs. He stalked them and even kept a notebook on their behaviours and regular places they visited. He even carried a tape measure to ‘measure muscles’.
For a long time he remained under the radar of the police and the local media. Few, if any, of his victims reported his activities.  

Purple Reign

Now a football journalist for the Times newspaper, Tony Evans, came face to face with Arobieke in his younger days. Here is the tale of this encounter in his own words.

AT first, it seemed like a joke. The name sounded funny: Purple Aki. It was Spring Heeled Jack for the 1980s. Just another terrifying urban legend that spread through fear and mass hysteria.

The whole thing appeared preposterous. My younger brothers — five and ten years my junior — were athletes and came home from school and training with tales of this modern folk devil. He was unnaturally tall and unnaturally black — “so black he looks purple” — and he stalked young boys. Then came the comedy payoff: he asked to feel their muscles.

At 22, it was about the funniest thing I’d ever heard.

And then I met him....

I was working in a warehouse in Canning Place, across the road from the Albert Dock. It was heavy manual work, humping sacks of Littlewood’s catalogues into cages and then out again into 40-foot lorries. One afternoon, I was going up the stairs from the loading bay when I heard a voice behind me. “Do you do weights?”

There he was behind me. Akinwale Arobieke. Taller than a tall man. Black but not purple. The bogeyman materialised. “I’ll bet you’ve got big biceps.” He reached out towards me.

“And I’ll throw you down the f!*^% stairs!” I said.

He seemed unfazed by the violent reaction and disappeared out the stairwell door. There was nothing aggressive about him. The devil had materialised and he spoke softly.

Over the next year you’d see a lot of Aki. There were a dozen companies in the seven-floor tower block we worked underneath but nobody could work out which one he was connected with. He never spoke to me again but he was around and everyone who worked there was wary, though the lorry drivers from outside the city knew nothing about him. There was much hilarity among the warehouse lads when he asked a runtish wagon driver from Wigan for a feel and was granted a squeeze of a quad.

On one baking July afternoon a group of us were standing on the loading bay having a laugh and wasting time before the pubs opened again. Aki suddenly came tearing down the pavement opposite, on the other side of the 14-foot spiked fence that enclosed the loading area. At the end of the fence, he stopped, looks back towards the Holiday Inn and then began to climb. He scaled the railings with amazing dexterity and the small group of us looked on in awe. As he reached the top and began to negotiate the jagged points, we saw why.

A dozen troll-like Southenders (inhabitants of South Liverpool), bare chested and clutching pickaxe handles, were in pursuit. They looked up, Aki looked down. Our side of the fence was five-feet deeper than the pavement where he’d begun his climb. He decided the lesser evil was a 20-foot drop and leapt down, leaving the Southenders smashing their weapons against the fence in frustration. Aki hit the floor hard. At first, it looked like he was injured.

He limped to the steps to the loading bay, while the Dingle hit squad bayed for us to stop him. Then Aki recovered his speed and disappeared into the stairwell where I’d first seen him.....

Source :

As the 1980s wore on the stories of ‘Purple Aki’ became more and more unbelievable including the totally untrue rumour that he would give male victims the choice of being raped or allowing him to carve the initials ‘PA’ into their flesh.

>>> continues below >>>>

edit on 15/9/16 by mirageman because: corrections

posted on Sep, 15 2016 @ 03:45 PM
Tragedy in New Brighton

Thirty years ago the Wirral coastal town of New Brighton was the home of the largest outdoor swimming pool in Europe. On sweltering summer days the pool was a popular destination for locals from the Wirral, Cheshire and of course the people of nearby Liverpool.

During 1986 a young Birkenhead student, Gary Kelly, had constantly been stalked by ‘Aki’. Aki would often be seen waiting outside his school. So much so that he had become petrified that Arobieke was going to murder him. Wherever Gary went Arobieke seemed to be there and attempt to squeeze his muscles. Complaints to the police had not stopped Arobieke.

On Sunday June 15th 1986 Gary was with a group of friends in New Brighton swimming pool when someone shouted the warning “Aki’s here”. The sight of this huge black man once again was too much.

Terrified and frantic, Gary left his group of friends, and sprinted for New Brighton train station which was a short distance up the hill from the swimming baths. New Brighton is an end of line station and it seems Gary had tried to hide from Arobieke on a stationary train. However at some stage he had spotted Arobieke following him and fled onto the railway track touching a live electric railway line. Gary could not be revived after receiving a lethal electric shock and was pronounced dead on reaching the local hospital.

A year later Arobieke was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for two-and-a-half years. The judge stated the case was one of the strangest he had ever heard of. He also ordered 12 more alleged offences of indecent assault and assault causing actual bodily harm to lie on file.

In the winter of 1987 Arobieke appealed against his conviction claiming it was not an offence to stand on the platform of a station looking into trains. The appeal judges ruled that his presence at the station was not an unlawful act of harm.
His conviction was overturned and he was set free.

Then in 1989, to rub salt into the wounds of Gary Kelly’s family, he was reported to have been awarded £35,000 in compensation for “racially charged overtones in the prosecution” case.

Hounding Wolves & Bears

Stories of “Aki” went quiet in the early 1990s across the North West. There were still whispers and the stories never quite went away. But then in 1997 Arobieke was in the news yet again. This time he was harassing professional sportsmen at the Rugby League clubs of Warrington Wolves and Oldham Bears.

The People newspaper of March 16th 1997 reported :

Top Rugby League clubs were last night on full security alert after a giant stalker launched a campaign against young players.
Strapping stars at Warrington Wolves and Oldham Bears are living in fear of 6ft 5in bodybuilder Akinwale Arobieke. Arobieke - dubbed Purple Akie - has been accused of waging a vicious vendetta against the tough heroes. A warning has now been issued to all 12 Super League clubs. Police have also been informed.

Warrington chairman John Smith said: "I am worried that unless something is done soon somebody is going to get hurt. "This man's a menace. He has an astonishing ability to get hold of players' addresses and phone numbers and they just don't feel safe."
A sinister harassment campaign, which began three years ago, included:

ATTACKS on players' houses.
VANDALISM to cars.
VIOLENT threats to stars, many still teenagers.

Source : The People

Arobieke instigated libel action against the paper, but it was dropped on the second day in court.

In the early 2000s Merseyside Police launched ‘Operation Ice’ to investigate over a hundred accusations against Arobieke. This covered much of Northern England and almost the whole of Wales. Apart from threats, feeling young men’s muscles, asking them to do push-ups or squat thrusts whilst he lay on top of them, he was also accused of measuring their muscles by getting them to stand in a ‘scarecrow’ or’ crucifix’ position. More disturbing were the findings that Arobieke would make comprehensive notes about his targets in a notebook. Recording the places they visited, their family and friends and their muscular measurements. He had even threatened at least one person with a gun.

On Monday 15th December 2003, Arobieke was jailed for six years at Preston Crown Court after pleading guilty to 15 counts of harassment and one of witness intimidation. 61 alleged counts, mostly of indecent assault, were left to lie on file. 31 restraining orders banning him from contacting any of the young men named in the case were also issued.

Even in prison, stories of strange behaviour from Arobieke circulated. Fellow inmates complained he had asked to measure their biceps with a shoelace it was also rumoured that he was moved 14 times while in prison, all the while Arobieke claimed these allegations were untrue. Arobieke had always denied getting sexual gratification from his unusual habits and claimed the young men he harassed were his friends.

He was released from prison in 2006 and served with a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (Sopo). This banned him from touching, measuring or feeling muscles and asking people to do squat exercises in public. It restricted him from feeling muscles in private without consent, loitering near and inside gyms and sports clubs, talking to anyone under 18 on purpose, entering schools or universities without permission, driving or being a passenger in any car other than a taxi, leaving Merseyside without the chief constable’s permission and entering the neighbouring towns of St Helens, Warrington or Widnes without police permission.

A year later he approached a man in Preston and touched his biceps. Arobieke went back to jail and appealed yet again. He was given counselling but the police maintained the SOPO should stay in place as he was still stalking people and making detailed notes of their movements and their friends and families. More jail sentences followed for similar unhealthy behaviour in North West England and in North Wales.

>>> continues below >>>>

posted on Sep, 15 2016 @ 03:45 PM
Arobieke's Re-invention

In recent years the legend had grown so much that social media picked up on the antics of this strange man. From brave people asking for ‘selfies’ to music fans waving banners at summer music festivals.

In May of 2016 Akinwale Arobieke successfully appealed against his SOPO claiming his behaviour was not criminal and vowing to reinvent himself. Judge Richard Mansell QC, sitting at Manchester Crown Court, stated Arobieke's breaches of the order were a 'serious matter' and the restrictions it placed on his 'freedoms' could 'no longer be justified'.

He felt that lifting the order would allow Arobieke to continue his interests in an 'appropriate venue', such as a gym or a bodybuilding event. “The ban on touching muscles is just not on”, Mansell said. “I'm not into bodybuilding myself, but I'd have thought men who have muscles in their arms the diameter of my leg are the sort of men who will admire each other's bodies. They don't build the body up to hide it under loose-fitting sweatshirts. They are men likely to talk to and weigh and measure each other.”

Whilst Arobieke is now in his mid-50s it seems the system has totally failed to deal with this man in an appropriate manner. For 30 years he’s been continually arrested and jailed for unacceptable behaviour under laws that don’t adequately cover his extreme fetishes. Nor does it seem has he ever undergone any serious mental health treatment other than speak to a counsellor.

Now he's free again .Who’s to say he won’t ‘offend’ again?

Sources & Further References

edit on 15/9/16 by mirageman because: corrections

posted on Sep, 15 2016 @ 04:06 PM
I watched that programme last night.
I don't there there is a more lasting urban legend in Liverpool then purple Aki ! When I was a kid, he was like some kind if bogeyman.. The I was shocked to realise he was real ! It's shows you, how something rooted in reality, can evolve into an urban myth.. Tho it is scary to think he is still around somewhere ! So at the moment, it's not a myth !

posted on Sep, 15 2016 @ 04:19 PM
No it's not a myth. It never was to be honest. But back when I was a schoolkid in the 80s it seemed that way. There was no internet and so Aki's legend took time to spread. Although he seemed to get around a lot himself.

He's known (or at least known of) by a large number of people all over the North West and along the North Wales coast.

The man has serious mental health concerns. But it seems the police try to lock him away and then legal games are played with the law to prove he's done 'nothing legally wrong' (Aki has sometimes defended himself in court).

No one seems to order him to seek professional psychiatric help for his very weird and threatening behaviours.
edit on 15/9/16 by mirageman because: typo

posted on Sep, 16 2016 @ 01:06 AM
a reply to: mirageman

Officially weird, and creepy. Wow.....bad enough he's some sort of creeper, harassing these boys, but treated as a folk hero of some sort!? Not arrested? Not placed in a treatment center? What the heck?

The skin color, seen that once or twice. Very cool, actually.

posted on Sep, 16 2016 @ 01:43 PM

originally posted by: LadyGreenEyes
a reply to: mirageman

Officially weird, and creepy. Wow.....bad enough he's some sort of creeper, harassing these boys, but treated as a folk hero of some sort!? Not arrested? Not placed in a treatment center? What the heck?

The skin color, seen that once or twice. Very cool, actually.

Aki has been arrested and sent to jail a number of times. The problem is that it his habit of wanting to feel other men's muslces is obviously disturbing to most normal human beings. But it does not easily slot into a particular crime category and the law often becomes a game rather than a search for justice to be done whenever there are loopholes.

posted on Sep, 18 2016 @ 06:26 PM

originally posted by: mirageman
Aki has been arrested and sent to jail a number of times. The problem is that it his habit of wanting to feel other men's muslces is obviously disturbing to most normal human beings. But it does not easily slot into a particular crime category and the law often becomes a game rather than a search for justice to be done whenever there are loopholes.

Ah, well, of course. Not a real assault, and thus he'd end up walking. I can see that. Still, you have to wonder if he hasn't done worse. Maybe not. But always that chance.

new topics

top topics


log in