UK & World News
MSP Bill Walker Guilty Of Domestic Abuse
An MSP has been convicted of a string of domestic abuse charges against his three ex-wives and a step-daughter.
Bill Walker, 71, from Alloa, Clackmannanshire, was found guilty of a catalogue of attacks on the women between 1967 and 1995.
The Independent member for Dunfermline, who denied all the allegations against him, was convicted following a two-week trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Walker faced 23 charges of assault at addresses in Edinburgh, Stirling, Midlothian and Alloa, and one charge of breaching the peace.
He was convicted of all of the charges during the 28-year period.
Sheriff Katherine Mackie, who heard the case without a jury, found Walker guilty of assaulting his first wife Maureen Traquair on three separate occasions in the 1960s and 1980s.
On one occasion, he punched her in the face two weeks before their wedding day in January 1967, giving her a black eye.
The MSP was also found to have assaulted his second wife Anne Gruber 15 times at various addresses in Edinburgh and Midlothian between 1978 and 1984.
The attacks included punching her on the head and body, slapping her in the face, throwing a bottle at her, kicking her and spitting on her face.
He also brandished an air rifle at her house, committing a breach of the peace, the court found.
The politician was convicted of four assaults on his third wife Diana Walker, three of which involved slapping or punching her on the face.
The attacks happened between June 1988 and January 1995.
Mrs Walker said he "whacked" her with full force before their wedding, "thumped" her in the face, threw a tray at her and slapped her repeatedly.
The court heard he also made her sign an agreement saying she would do all the shopping and cleaning.
Walker was also found guilty of assaulting Mrs Gruber's daughter Anne Louise Paterson by repeatedly striking her on the head with a saucepan during a row over a trifle in 1978.
Mrs Gruber told the court: "He turned on her and whacked her repeatedly over the head with a yellow saucepan that was so badly broken up it was put in the bin.
"He battered her so hard she was down on the floor. Her head was bleeding and she was bruised."
The politician had claimed he acted in self-defence after being assaulted by Ms Paterson, who was then 16.
His behaviour was described by the prosecution as being "violent, domineering, controlling and relentless". Procurator fiscal Les Brown said he had acted like a "caveman".
He engaged in "systematic physical and emotional abuse" towards the women over a prolonged period of time, the court was told.
The MSP had alleged he was being smeared and this his ex-wives were colluding in an attempt to "score some points".
But Sheriff Mackie said she did not find him a credible witness and rejected his claim the evidence was fabricated.
Walker, who will return for sentencing on September 20, was tight-lipped as he left court with his solicitor but a short statement was read on his behalf.
Russel McPhate said: "Mr Walker is obviously disappointed to be convicted of all the charges today. The verdicts, in particularly the comments of the sheriff, will be very carefully considered.
"In the meantime, he'd like to thank his wife, his family, his colleagues, his staff and his friends, who have supported him throughout this ordeal, which of course has lasted since March last year and is not over yet."
Mrs Gruber and Mrs Walker were both in court but left without making any comment.