Murderer, ex-fugitive to return to Canada

The financial adviser, who was already on the run from Canadian authorities who suspected him of fraud, then assumed Mr. Platt's identity and began a seemingly normal life in Britain with his 15-year-old daughter Sheena, who pretended to be his young bride. She had two daughters during the time she posed as his wife.

The Globe and Mail
Februry 23, 2005

Murderer, ex-fugitive to return to Canada
Jill Mahoney

The Ontario man who was convicted of murder in Britain after police followed the trail of a Rolex watch is returning to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Albert Walker's latest request to be transferred to a prison here was approved by Canadian and British officials on Jan. 5.

"Normally, transfers of this nature are for humanitarian reasons," Holly Knowles, a spokeswoman for Correctional Service Canada, said yesterday.

CTV News reported late yesterday that Mr. Walker is ill and will return to this country tomorrow. Mr. Walker previously said he wanted to return to Canada to be closer to his family.

Along with serving the rest of a life sentence, Mr. Walker still faces 37 fraud and theft charges in Canada in connection with allegations that he embezzled $3-million from investors.

The RCMP said the status of that case will be decided once he returns to this country.

"We'll be looking at the situation at that point," acting RCMP Corporal Howard Adams said.

Mr. Walker was sentenced to life in prison in Britain after being found guilty of killing his business associate, Ronald Platt, whose body he dumped off a yacht off the southwestern English coast in the summer of 1996.

The financial adviser, who was already on the run from Canadian authorities who suspected him of fraud, then assumed Mr. Platt's identity and began a seemingly normal life in Britain with his 15-year-old daughter Sheena, who pretended to be his young bride. She had two daughters during the time she posed as his wife.

The identity of the girls' father is not known. But Mr. Walker claimed them as his own to neighbours in the small English hamlet where they lived before his arrest in October of 1996.

The Canadian fugitive's double life unravelled when Mr. Platt's body was caught in the nets of an English trawler and identified through his Rolex watch.

Using serial numbers on the timepiece, Rolex officials led police to Mr. Platt's address, where they found Mr. Walker living as the 51-year-old man he had brutally bludgeoned and dumped, tied to an anchor, into the sea.

The convicted murderer, whose previous efforts to return to Canada failed, was given the go-ahead last month under the International Transfer of Offenders Act. Both Canada and the United Kingdom agreed to his request.

Ms. Knowles, who would not confirm the details of Mr. Walker's transfer for security reasons, said illness could be "one factor" in a successful request.

"But certainly it would have to be something that would be beneficial to the offender and we like to look at cases that are going to benefit the offender in terms of their reintegration potential. If it's going to benefit them and society at large, then generally we'll look to agree to such things," she said.

Ms. Knowles said Corrections officials will determine Mr. Walker's parole eligibility date after reviewing his conviction in light of Canadian laws. They will also determine "the most suitable penitentiary placement for him based on his needs and his risks."

In the summer of 2000, the federal government rejected Mr. Walker's request for transfer to a Canadian prison and a plea bargain on the 37 charges in exchange for revealing the location of an estimated $500,000.

Police say Mr. Walker is believed to have taken several million dollars of investors' funds when he fled Canada in December of 1990, with his daughter.

During his 1998 murder trial, Mr. Walker, who is from Paris, Ont., admitted stealing money from clients of his Southern Ontario business, Walker Financial Services.

(After his 1996 arrest, his trustee recovered some of the money.)


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