Amir Khan has provoked outrage by chatting to a convicted killer with an illegal phone in jail and telling him: ‘Keep your chin up bro.’

The boxer, 31, had a FaceTime call with Philip Merry, who is serving eight years for manslaughter after beating to death father-of-five Steve McKinnon in a pub fight in Leicester in 2014.

Merry, 31, posted a screenshot of the call on his Instagram story with the caption: ‘When Amir Khan Facetimes you to say ‘Keep your chin up bro’. Big love bro’.

The victim’s widow called Khan’s behaviour ‘disgusting’ – but he claims he was asked to make the call on a fan’s phone and did not know the person he was calling was in prison.

Mr McKinnon’s widow Clare said: ‘Amir Khan is meant to be a role model. It’s disgusting he would back someone like Merry.

‘He should be round here telling me to keep my chin up after what I’ve been through.

‘Merry is meant to be in prison serving his punishment, not getting morale-boosting messages from the likes of Khan. How’s Merry even got a phone in prison?’

Merry was convicted of manslaughter along with Gurdev Sangha, 26, and Eugene Bell, 32, at Nottingham Crown Court in 2016.

The three men attacked McKinnon by the Durham Ox pub in Leicester after he intervened when two of them launched an unprovoked attack on his stepson.

He fell to the floor and suffered a brain injury, before dying in hospital two days later. Bell was sentenced to ten years in prison.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘This behaviour is unacceptable and we have had this account taken down.’

A spokesman for Khan said: ‘We can confirm that Amir was provided with a mobile phone from a fan and asked to speak to his friend (something that occurs frequently).

‘There was no prior notice that his friend was in prison or had been convicted of such a serious crime.

‘To Amir’s knowledge, he has never intentionally used his mobile telephone to FaceTime anyone in prison.’

Amir Khan was recently blasted by road safety charities after he was caught on camera appearing to use a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel.

The boxer, who was filmed by his wife Faryal Makhdoom in a clip she posted to Snapchat, has been accused of having a ‘blatant disregard for the law.’

The video, which was later deleted, was captioned ‘Lmfaooooo’ as the pair drive along in the vehicle, and at one point he takes both his hands off the wheel.

Khan, 31, is seen holding the device in his left hand and chatting into the speaker phone as he wife watches on.

Khan also had a controversial appearance on I’m A Celebrity last year, when he made a number of gaffes, including asking whether the UK has ever had a female Prime Minister.

Despite Theresa May being in power, the boxing star left fans reeling when he asked the ‘idiotic’ question.

Viewers also accused him of ‘casual sexism’ after he called Georgia Toffolo a ‘small little girl’ while assessing her Kung Fu technique.

Last August, Amir was forced to apologise to boxer Anthony Joshua for accusing him of cheating with his wife after he was threatened with legal action.

The heavyweight boxer got his advisers involved after a series of sensational tweets in which Khan shared supposed messages between Joshua and his wife online.

Faryal Makhdoom broke her silence on the public spat to reveal the Snapchat messages were fake, adding that she had never met Joshua.

After several social media digs between the pair, however, Amir and Faryal finally apologised over their very public falling out.