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Bill Walker trial: Ex-wife claims MSP punched her

Bill Walker MSP, pictured outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Neil Hanna

Bill Walker MSP, pictured outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Neil Hanna


  • by CATRIONA WEBSTER
 

THE EX-wife of an MSP has told a court he punched her in the eye two weeks before their wedding.

Bill Walker, 71, went on trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today accused of a string of assaults against four women over a 28 year period.

The independent member for Dunfermline denies all the charges.

His first wife Maureen Traquair told the court she had to buy concealer for their wedding day in January 1967 after he gave her a black eye during an argument.

Walker is alleged to have assaulted her on three occasions at addresses in Edinburgh.

Ms Traquair, 66, said: “It was two weeks before we married and I was hit on the eye by Bill.

“I had a black eye for two weeks and we had to go and buy green make up for the actual wedding.”

She told the court about the couple’s life in Chicago, where they moved after the wedding.

She said: “Bill didn’t want me to work, he was quite clear that his wife would not work. I had to refuse the first job I was offered.”

Ms Traquair described an occasion after she had started a job, when she bought her husband a gold watch for Christmas with her first pay cheque.

“He opened it then he stood up and left the apartment and threw it down the chute to the furnace.

“He said I was to hand my notice in at the first opportunity and that I wasn’t allowed to work.”

Asked by fiscal depute Les Brown about her clothes, she said: “Bill would take me out and he would approve or disapprove. I had to try the clothes on and he would decide whether or not I could have it.”

She described another occasion when the couple were living in France and she had returned home late.

“He was furious that his meal wasn’t made. I was told my place was in the kitchen.”

Ms Traquair, an artist, photographer and shop owner, said the couple had returned to Scotland shortly before the end of their marriage in June 1970.

She said she was assaulted after confronting him about suspicions he was seeing another woman.

“I said I believed there was another woman involved. He said there wasn’t and then he hit me on the face, a hard slap on my face,” she said.

The court heard the couple were divorced but rekindled the relationship in about 1984, and later became engaged again.

During a meeting when she had decided to call the marriage off, she said he was again violent towards her.

“He tore the engagement ring off my finger.

“I told him ‘you’ve made it easy for me, I’ve no intention of marrying you ever again’.”

Under cross examination by Walker’s lawyer, solicitor advocate Gordon Martin, Ms Traquair denied that she was telling a “pack of lies designed to destroy him out of vengeance.”

“He knows what he did,” she said.

“I’m not lying. I’m not a person who is vengeful.

“I’m here because the police came to me and asked me to answer questions.”

Walker denies 23 charges of assault and one of breaching the peace.

The MSP is alleged to have attacked Maureen Traquair, Anne Walker, Anne Louise Paterson and Diana Walker between January 1967 and January 1995.

The alleged assaults are said to have taken place at addresses in Edinburgh, Stirling, Midlothian and Alloa.

Walker, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire has lodged a special defence of self defence in relation to three of the charges.

He was elected as an SNP MSP for the Dunfermline constituency but is now serving as an Independent member.

The trial, before Sheriff Katherine Mackie, continues.

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