If you were brought up in the North West of England, especially in parts of Merseyside, Lancashire, and Cheshire, you might be aware of Purple Aki. Before the days of the Internet, the legend of Purple Aki was part of playground folklore, often being cited by parents to get their children to bed. “If you don’t go to bed now, Purple Aki will come and get you!” was a familiar threat in many household. But far from being a mythical figure, Purple Aki is a real person, and, perhaps more worryingly, even more scary in real life!
Who is Purple Aki?
Purple Aki is the nickname of Akinwale Arobieke, now 53 years old and residing in the Merseyside area. At 6 ft 5 inches and weighing in at over 22 stone of pure muscle, he is a seriously big man, who has been an active bodybuilder for years. With regards to his name, Purple Aki, this comes from the darkness of his skin, which many people describe as being ‘so black it’s purple’.
The Legend of Purple Aki
Purple Aki was said to hang around outside gyms and fitness centres and try to pick up young men with his legendary catchphrase ‘Hello boys! Let me feel your muscles!’ He certainly didn’t limit his picking up of young men to gyms though, and he’d try it anywhere if he saw someone he liked. Travelling across the Merseyside region, he often went further afield, to places such as Wigan, Preston and Blackpool, but as the legend began to grow, he became a popular ‘bogeyman’ in other parts of the UK.
After his famous catchphrase, Purple Aki would then usually make the boy(s) in question let him feel their biceps, and then make them do some exercises in front of him, usually push ups or squats, claiming that he was a bodybuilding scout looking for future champions. However, things took a more worrying turn if the boy(s) refused, and he would ask them, ‘Pop or slash?
Answer ‘pop’, and you could expect to be bummed by Purple Aki, and if the answer was ‘slash’, he would carve his initials P and A onto your buttocks, marking you out as the property of Purple Aki.
Now these and a whole host of other stories circulated and were so outlandish, they were treated as completely bogus, the product of the overactive imaginations of children, the sort of childhood lies that always make their way around schools, such as the boy who committed suicide in an exam by putting two pencils up his nose and headbutting the desk.
Of course all of the above tales are made-up. However, in 1986, Purple Aki was arrested.
The Conviction of Purple Aki
On 15 June, 1986, at New Brighton railway station in Liverpool, a 16-year old boy was electrocuted after running on the tracks, allegedly running away from Purple Aki. Convicted of his manslaughter, he successfully appealed, and was awarded £35,000 compensation due to the presence of alleged racism in the case of the prosecution.
However, it wasn’t too long before he was in court again. In November 2001 he was in court on 50 counts of indecent assault and harassment against 14 teenage boys. Convicted only of threatening behaviour though, he was sentenced to thirty months in prison.
After his release in 2003, it was not long till he was arrested again, charged with 15 counts of sexual assault and harassment. A total of 123 people were interviewed as part of the case, one family even having to go into witness protection after threats from Purple Aki. In December of that year, he was jailed for six years, with the judge commenting “You are a danger to young men and your behaviour is both strange and obsessive”.
It doesn’t end there though. Released from prison in 2006, Merseyside police applied to the Courts for what is known as a SOPO, a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which would ban him from asking people to do squat exercises in public; entering the towns of Widnes, Warrington and St Helens without police permission; touching, feeling, or measuring muscles; and hanging around near schools, gyms, sports clubs or schools.
Since this date, Purple Aki has been in trouble time-after-time. In 2008, he tried to overturn his ‘muscle touching ban’, and in the subsequent court hearing, even more worrying details about Purple Aki came to light, including his stalkers manual in which he kept detailed logs of his victims body measurements, family members, and contact details. It was alleged that Purple Aki would confront his victims with details of their families such as address and car registration in a threatening manner. DC Andrew Rawlings commented in the Court that Purple Aki “became sexually aroused while forcing terrified young men to perform “inverted piggybacks” — ordering them to squat so he could lean over their backs with his face by their buttocks and his genitalia on their necks, while squeezing their quad muscles.”
Since his attempt at having his muscle touching ban was overturned was unsuccessful, he has appeared in court numerous times for similar offences, most recently being found not guilty for targeting young men in Manchester Crown Court.
So, next time a great big man comes up to you out of the blue and asks to feel your muscles… RUN!!!!!