Walker faces 37 charges upon his return, police say

Mr. Walker, once on the world's most-wanted list, is infamous for being caught in his own tightly constructed web of lies after he fled southwestern Ontario for Britain with millions of dollars belonging to his clients.

The Globe and Mail
February 24, 2005

Walker faces 37 charges upon his return, police say
Tara Brautigam

Police say they intend to proceed with 37 outstanding fraud and theft charges against financier and convicted murderer Albert Walker when he returns to Canada.

Mr. Walker, once on the world's most-wanted list, is infamous for being caught in his own tightly constructed web of lies after he fled southwestern Ontario for Britain with millions of dollars belonging to his clients.

"When he's brought back into our judicial system here, those charges will be brought before the courts and he'll have to answer to them," said Sergeant David Rektor of the Ontario Provincial Police.

"We have the best interests of the victims that have been defrauded … in mind and we're hopeful that these charges will get before the courts and be dealt with properly," Sgt. Rektor said yesterday.

By 2000, bankruptcy trustees had recovered about $1-million, but authorities aren't sure how much the former financial adviser stole and how much he lost in failed business ventures.

Mr. Walker admitted during his murder trial in Britain that he stole from clients in the Paris, Ont., area, but he has never revealed how much remains hidden.

The Hamilton native, who was sentenced to life in 1998 for killing a friend whose identity he assumed, is expected to return to Toronto today.

Officials with Foreign Affairs and Corrections Canada in Ottawa would not confirm the details of his transfer, citing privacy and security concerns.

Mr. Walker was to have served at least 15 years before being eligible for parole.

Holly Knowles, Ontario spokeswoman for Corrections Canada, refused to say why Mr. Walker's transfer was approved, but she indicated compassionate grounds may have played a role.

"Transfers of this nature are normally humanitarian in nature," Ms. Knowles said in an interview from Ottawa.

"Often it's better in terms of community support, family contacts, reintegration potential, access to health care."

Mr. Walker, 59, is reportedly sick and has said he wanted to move to a Canadian prison to be close to his family.

But his relatives have said they want nothing to do with him.

Canada approved the transfer in June, 2004, but the agreement was not finalized until last month.

When Mr. Walker arrives, an assessment of his case will be conducted to determine parole eligibility dates and where he will serve the rest of his life sentence, Ms. Knowles said. The evaluation process is expected to take months.

In the meantime, he will likely stay at Millhaven Institute in Bath, about a three-hour drive east of Toronto, Ms. Knowles added.

His former Toronto lawyer, Scott Fenton, who helped Mr. Walker with a previous transfer application that failed, said he hasn't heard from his client in about a year.

"I don't know whether or not he'll contact me when he returns," said Mr. Fenton, who was in Miami on business.

Mr. Walker's life reads like a murder mystery.

He became an international fugitive in 1990 when he moved to Britain with his 15-year-old daughter, Sheena. Posing as husband and wife, the pair spent six years on the run.

Sheena had two daughters during that period. The identity of the girls' father has never been revealed.

While in Britain, Mr. Walker befriended Ronald Platt, a TV repairman who had spent time in Calgary as a youth and who was interested in returning to Canada. In 1992, Mr. Walker paid for his flight back.

Mr. Walker took Mr. Platt's name and allegedly used him as an unknowing front to launder money in Europe.

But Mr. Walker's plan ran into problems when Mr. Platt unexpectedly returned to Britain in 1995 and moved nearby.

Prosecutors later argued it was then that Mr. Walker decided to murder him.

Mr. Walker has never admitted killing Mr. Platt. But the Crown persuaded a jury that Mr. Walker took Mr. Platt out on his sailboat in the summer of 1996, hit him over the head with an anchor and, after securing the 4.5-kilogram anchor to his belt, pushed the unconscious man overboard.

Mr. Platt drowned in the English Channel, 10 kilometres off the south Devon coast.

His body was fished out days later. He was identified by the serial number on his Rolex watch.

That number led police to Essex, about an hour's drive from London, where Mr. Walker was living as Mr. Platt.

Mr. Walker's story received extensive news coverage and was turned into a TV movie and a play.

Canadian Press


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