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Albert Johnson WALKER

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: To assume a new identity
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 20, 1996
Date of arrest: October 31, 1997
Date of birth: 1946
Victim profile: Ronald Joseph Platt, 51 (his business partner)
Method of murder: Drowning
Location: Exeter, England, United Kingdom, USA
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment on July 6, 1998
 
 
 
 
 
 

Albert Johnson Walker is a Canadian criminal currently serving a prison term for embezzlement and murder. He is noted for murdering and assuming the identity of an Englishman and posing for years as though his daughter were his wife.

Early life

Originally from Paris, Ontario, Walker was a high school drop-out. After numerous odd jobs, he eventually was hired as a bank teller for a trust company. He also started filing other people's income tax returns. Walker quit his job at the trust company, some two years later, to establish his own freelance bookkeeping business.

Walker Financial

Over a decade, Walker Financial grew into a six-branch operation with about thirty employees. In 1986, a stock deal that Walker had invested collapsed. As a mortgage broker and financier, Walker defrauded about 70 Canadian clients of $3.2 million. In 1990 he fled to Europe with the second of his three daughters, Sheena. In 1993, Walker was charged in Canada with 18 counts of fraud, theft and money laundering. In time Walker became Canada's most wanted criminal and the second most wanted by Interpol.

Time in England

Walker eventually made his way to Harrogate in North Yorkshire where he lived with his daughter, Sheena, who was posing as his wife. During this time, Sheena had two children, the paternity of whom has not been revealed. He changed his name to David Davis and began a business career with television repairman Ronald Joseph Platt. Platt, raised in Canada, wished to return to his home country. Walker bankrolled this trip, but claimed he needed Platt's driver's license, signature stamp and birth certificate for the business. When Platt left for Canada in 1992, initially with the intent of permanently settling there, Walker assumed his identity.

Murder and Conviction

Platt was out of money and returned to England in 1995. Walker took Platt out on a fishing trip 20 July 1996 where he murdered him, weighed him down with an anchor, and dumped his body in the sea.

Two weeks later the body was discovered in the English Channel by fisherman John Copik with a Rolex wristwatch the only identifiable object on the body. Since the Rolex movement had a serial number and was engraved with special markings every time it was serviced, British police traced the service records from Rolex. Ronald Joseph Platt was identified as the owner of the watch and the victim of the murder.

In addition British police were able to determine the date of death by examining the date on the watch calendar and since the Rolex movement had a reserve of two to three days of operation when inactive and it was fully waterproof, they were able to determine the time of death within a small margin of error. Walker was apprehended shortly thereafter.

In the spring of 1998, Walker's preliminary hearing was held in the village courtroom in Teignmouth England. On 27 April 1998, Walker pleaded not guilty in his murder trial in the English city of Exeter. He was found guilty in 1998 and received an automatic life sentence for murder. Had Walker not been convicted, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office would have transferred him back to Canada to face his fraud charges.

Transfer to Canada

On 22 February 2005, The Globe and Mail reported that Walker would be transferred to a Canadian prison, where he faced additional charges of fraud, theft and money laundering.

On 23 July 2007, Walker was sentenced in Kingston, Ontario to four years for fraud and one year concurrent for violations of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada). He is currently serving his life sentence at Kingston Penitentiary.

Media

In 1998 a book detailing the story of Albert Walker, A hand in the water: The many lies of Albert Walker, by award-winning Toronto Star journalist Bill Schiller, was published by HarperCollins.

Also in 1998, a second book detailing Walker's story, Nothing Sacred: The many lives and betrayals of Albert Walker, by award-winning Toronto Sun journalist Alan Cairns, was published by McClelland-Bantam, Inc.

A made-for-TV movie AKA Albert Walker documenting Walker's crimes and eventual arrest was released in 2002.

In 2002, Walker's wife, Barb (née MacDonald), authored a book entitled "Dancing Devil - My twenty years with Albert Walker", detailing her life with Walker leading up to his departure from Canada.

A documentary detailing the crime called "Interpol Investigates - Body Double" was made by National Geographic.

A Forensic Files episode titled, Time Will Tell details Walker's murder investigation.

A theatrical play by Peter Colley, "Stolen Lives, The Albert Walker Story", performed at the Blyth Festival in Blyth Ontario in 20.

 
 

'Fugitive financier' turned killer sentenced to 4 years for fraud

CBC.ca

July 23, 2007

Albert Walker, a former Ontario investment planner infamous for fleeing Canada with his daughter and later committing murder in Britain, was sentenced Monday to four years in jail on fraud-related charges.

In a court in Kingston, Ont., Justice Rommel Masse sentenced Walker to four years in prison on 19 fraud-related crimes. He was also sentenced to one year, to be served concurrently, on a charge of violating the Bankruptcy Act.

The 61-year-old, formerly a financier in Woodstock, Ont., embezzled more than $3 million from dozens of people in the 1980s, many whom lost their life savings. He pleaded guilty in April to 20 theft and fraud charges.

Walker is currently serving a life sentence in Kingston penitentiary for the slaying of his business partner, Ronald Platt, whose identity he assumed while in Britain.

Walker's life story has been the subject of a book, a movie and a play.

In 1990, Walker abandoned his home in Paris, Ont., and fled to Britain with his daughter, Sheena, who was then 15.

British police say that while in Britain, Walker assumed the identity of Platt, a man he had befriended, after convincing Platt to relocate to Canada. Platt returned to England in 1995, causing a major problem for Walker.

Walker killed Platt during a 1996 sailing trip by knocking him unconscious and throwing him overboard, after weighing down his body with an anchor.

British police investigating Platt's death revealed Walker's true identity. They identified Platt's body by a Rolex watch on his wrist, which had a serial number allowing police to trace its owner.

In 1998, Walker was found guilty of murdering Platt and sentenced to life in prison without parole for 15 years. Seven years later he was transferred to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Sheena had two daughters while on the lam with her father for six years, during which time she posed as his wife. The girls' paternity has never been revealed.

 
 

Walker Money Hunt

By D'Arcy Jenish and Edward Davenport

TheCanadianEncyclopedia.ocm

July 20, 1998

Convicted killer Albert Walker, 52, may spend the next 20 years in a British prison cell, but last week he still tried to evade dozens of southwestern Ontario residents who hope to recover some of the $3.2 million he stole from them.

In Exeter county court on July 10 - in the same building where four days earlier he was convicted of murdering his 51-year-old friend and business associate Ronald Platt - Walker's lawyers sought an adjournment of legal proceedings to seize his assets. But the gambit failed. District Judge Andrew Moon ordered local police to turn over the assets to KPMG Inc., the accounting firm whose London, Ont., office is administering the bankrupt estates of Walker and his companies. At stake were any items Walker purchased with stolen funds and any money left in 25 European bank accounts he controlled. "This is nothing more than a treasure hunt," acknowledged Angelo D'Ascanio, a lawyer in London, Ont., who represents KPMG. "We don't know if there's a significant amount of money left to recover."

D'Ascanio, and many of the southwestern Ontario residents who lost money in Walker's shady schemes, are not optimistic. The assets include the sailboat on which Platt was murdered, oil paintings, gold bars and cash totalling about $290,000, all seized by police when they arrested Walker in October, 1996.

However, Crown prosecutor Charles Barton received permission from Judge Neil Butterfield to sell the sailboat in order to reduce the Crown's costs. Walker's bank accounts, many of which were opened in the names of Platt and his former girlfriend Elaine Boyes, are believed to have been used for money-laundering transactions. "I don't think I'll get anything back," said 75-year-old Brantford resident Eric Winter. Winter's late wife, Myrtle, sold her tax and accounting business to Walker for $100,000 in the mid-1980s, but was never paid for it. "I've got a funny feeling it's a waste of time pursuing this."

Having lost the fight over the assets, Walker is waging one last legal battle from his jail cell. Defence lawyer Richard Ferguson announced that his client will seek leave to appeal. Another member of his legal team said Walker is "quietly convinced he was wrongly convicted." But he may wait months before learning whether a higher court will grant his request. It may also take several months before he finds out how much time he will have to serve before he can apply for parole. Under British law, a judge imposes a life sentence for murder, then recommends a term in writing to the home secretary, the cabinet minister in charge of law enforcement, based on the nature of the crime and the character of the defendant. If his remarks at the conclusion of the trial were any indication, Butterfield is not inclined to be lenient. "The killing was carefully planned and cunningly executed with chilling efficiency," he told Walker. "You are a plausible, intelligent and ruthless man who poses a serious threat to anyone who stands in your way."

Walker planned the July 20, 1996, murder so well that he almost got away with it. At the time, he was living under the name Ronald Platt in Essex in the southeast of England with his daughter Sheena, who had fled Canada with him in December, 1990, at age 15. Sheena later gave birth to two daughters, Emily, now 4, and Lily, 2, while living with her father. The real Platt, a shy television repairman, left England for Canada in February, 1993, with Boyes - a venture conceived and financed by Walker. But at the time of the murder Platt had returned to England and was living in a nearby town.

The fugitive Canadian, who was number 4 on Interpol's wanted list and feared his cover would be blown, lured Platt to Devon in southwest England on the pretext of helping him sail his boat, the Lady Jane, to Essex. Once aboard, Walker knocked Platt unconscious, tied a 4.5-kg anchor to his belt and tossed him overboard. Eight days later, a commercial fisherman scooped up the body and the anchor in a net about 10 km offshore. Police initially thought the victim had committed suicide. But after establishing Platt's identity through the Rolex watch on his wrist, and discovering that someone else was living under his name, Devon police launched a murder investigation.

Their case against Walker was entirely circumstantial, since there were no witnesses and nobody had seen the two men together for at least 10 days prior to the murder. Nevertheless, prosecutor Barton called or entered written evidence from 36 witnesses, including 22-year-old Sheena Walker, who travelled from her mother's home in Paris, Ont., to testify. She carefully avoided shedding any light on the question hovering in the background from the moment the trial opened on June 22: who is the father of her children? Albert Walker also danced around the issue during his two days in the witness box. He did admit that he was a liar and a thief, but emphatically denied murdering Platt.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated a mere two hours before reaching a verdict last week. "Do you find the defendant Albert Walker guilty or not guilty?" a clerk asked. The jury foreman replied in a clear, unfaltering voice: "Guilty."

Walker showed no emotion as the verdict was delivered and sentence passed. Afterward, a relieved and smiling Boyes, who attended the trial daily, described her former boyfriend as a kind, honest and gentle man. "For his life to end in this tragic way," she said, "by a so-called friend whom Ron and I felt at ease with and trusted is - well, I cannot find the words to express my horror." That feeling was clearly shared by the Exeter jury.

 
 

Albert Johnson Walker

Crimeandinvestigation.co.uk

In 1990 Ontario financial consultant and Sunday school teacher Albert Johnson Walker took his 15-year-old daughter Sheena on a skiing trip to Europe. He left his wife Barbara to look after their three other children until his return, but he had no intention of coming back.

The exceptionally gifted salesman had set up the United Canvest Corporation in the Cayman Islands and deceived his fellow churchgoers and friends out of millions of dollars. Unbeknownst to his wife, Walker had re-mortgaged their house for over £44,000 and amassed up to 32 counts of fraud. Provincial police fraud charges amounted to over £1.67 million and Walker became Canada’s most wanted man and No. 4 on Interpol’s list of international fugitives.

Two months after leaving Canada, Walker resurfaced in London as a wealthy American entrepreneur named David Wallace Davis. He met Elaine Boyes, a receptionist for a fine art auctioneer in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and as they chatted she told him how much she and her boyfriend, Ronald Platt, a TV repairman, would love to move to Canada one day. Ronald was so enthusiastic about the country he even had a maple leaf tattooed on the back of his right hand.

Walker offered the couple directorship of his company, The Cavendish Corporation. They eventually accepted and he sent them on business trips abroad, frequently asking them to convert money from Swiss Francs to British Pounds when they were there.

The Crimes

In 1992 Walker gave Ronald and Elaine two one-way airline tickets to Calgary in Canada as a Christmas present. He persuaded Ronald to leave him a signature stamp for corporate documents along with his driver's licence, birth certificate and a credit card. The minute Ronald was out of the country Walker then proceeded to steal his identity.

By 1996 Walker and Sheena had moved to Essex and were living as husband and wife under the names of Ronald and Noelle. They had two young daughters (the biological father is unknown) and their birth certificates cited Ronald Platt as the father.

Walker kept in contact with the real Ronald Platt and spoke to Elaine occasionally, who had eventually left Ronald in Canada. However, disillusioned with the Canadian economy, Ronald Platt returned to England and settled close to Walker and his daughter.

Walker realised his cover was about to be blown, so he invited Ronald to Devon with Sheena and their daughters and took him out for a trip on his yacht. Four miles out to sea, Walker hit Ronald over the head with an anchor, tied it around his waist and tipped his body into the English Channel. Ronald’s disappearance was not noticed for six weeks.

The Arrest

On 28 July 1996, John Copik pulled up a body tangled in the nets of his fishing trawler off the coast of south Devon. There was an injury to the back of the man’s head, but everything indicated that he accidentally drowned. At first the man’s identity was a mystery to the police, but he was wearing an expensive Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch. The police contacted Rolex, who keep records of purchases, and they discovered that a man by the name of Ronald Platt had that particular watch repaired ten years earlier in 1986.

The police found Walker’s mobile phone number on a reference letter Ronald had given a letting agent company. When they spoke to Walker he was more than helpful and went into the police station voluntarily. He told them that as far as he was aware Ronald had gone to France.

Essex police contacted Walker to clear up a few matters. He was still using the name of David Davis, but when they went to his house he wasn’t there. A neighbour informed them that Ronald Platt lived next door, not David Davis, and Ronald had a yacht in Devon.

On 31 October 1997 police arrested Walker on suspicion of the murder of Ronald Joseph Platt and found Sheena stuffing gold bars into a diaper bag. In the previous month Walker had bought over £67,000 in gold bullion.

The Trial

A fantasist, Walker was able to pretend to be anything or anyone at any time, but the evidence against him was strong. A global positioning system later pinpointed Walker’s yacht to the area at the time when Ronald died. One of Ronald’s fingerprints was also found on a plastic bag on the boat and Sheena testified against her father, excusing her behaviour by claiming she had been hypnotised by him.

Walker admitted during his murder trial that he stole from clients in Canada, but has never confessed to killing Ronald. At Exeter Crown Court in June 1998, the jury took just two hours to convict Walker of Ronald’s murder and embezzlement. Mr. Justice Butterfield said Walker had committed “a callous, premeditated killing".

The Aftermath

By 2000 bankruptcy trustees had recovered about £500,000 of embezzled money, but authorities are not really sure how much the former financial adviser stole and how much he lost in failed business ventures. There was possibly £150,000 in gold bullion that was never recovered, but Walker has never revealed how much money remains hidden.

Sheena and her children were allowed to return to Canada after the trial and Britain signed an agreement with the Canadian authorities in June 2004 to transfer Walker back. He was returned in February 2005 after nearly seven years in prison. The Canadian police have said they fully intend to proceed with the 37 outstanding fraud and theft charges against him. Walker is eligible for parole on 6 July 2013.

The true identity of the father of Sheena’s children has never been revealed.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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