Bill Walker fails in early prison release bid

Bill Walker pictured after being  found guilty of domestic abuse. Picture: TSPL
Bill Walker pictured after being found guilty of domestic abuse. Picture: TSPL
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Bill Walker has failed in his bid to be freed from prison pending his appeal against his convictions for domestic abuse.

Lawyers acting for the disgraced politician appeared before judge Lord Armstrong at the High Court in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Walker, formerly of Alloa, remained in his cell at Edinburgh’s Saughton Prison.

Solicitor advocate Cameron Tait asked for Walker, 71, to be released temporarily from his 12 month sentence for the violent assaults of three of his ex wives and step daughter.

Walker - who refuses to accept responsibility for his crimes - plans to appeal against his 23 convictions for domestic abuse and breach of the peace at a hearing which is yet to be arranged.

Walker was jailed last month after being convicted of 23 charges of domestic abuse and one charge of breach of the peace.

He was jailed after Sheriff Kathrine Mackie heard that he couldn’t express any remorse towards victims Maureen Traquair, Anne Gruber, Diana Walker and step daughter Anne Louise Paterson.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court had earlier heard how Walker - who used to represent Dunfermline in the Scottish Parliament - had assaulted the three women over a 28 year period.

The court had earlier heard how Walker first struck Maureen, 66, weeks before their wedding in January 1967.

His second wife Anne Gruber,71, described him as being a “Jekyll and Hyde” character.

He also struck his step daughter Anne Louise with a sauce pan during a horrifying attack which took place sometime in 1978.

Before he was sent to prison, defence solicitor advocate Gordon Martin told Sheriff Mackie that he was unable to deliver a full plea of mitigation on behalf of his client.

Mr Martin said this was because Walker couldn’t accept his guilt and was still in denial about the attacks.

Mr Martin told the court: “I cannot address you at any great length. He still maintains the position that he had at trial - there has been no change from his original position. He maintains his innocence.

“He has not accepted responsibility nor has he shown any particular empathy towards the witnesses who gave evidence against him.

Sheriff Mackie said she couldn’t deal with the case by anything other than a custodial sentence.

She added: “Having regard to the gravity of these offences as a result of the cumulative effect of them, your extreme denial and complete absence of any remorse and the assessment of risk I have come to the conclusion that a custodial sentence is the only appropriate disposal.

“While your age and absence of previous convictions might have been reflected in a reduction in sentence, in my opinion, the repeated abusive and violent behaviour towards your three former wives and stepdaughter over a period of some 28 years outweighs such factors.”

Walker’s lawyers then announced their client’s intention to appeal against the convictions.

If Lord Armstrong granted the request, Walker would have been allowed to stay at home pending his appeal court hearing.

But in a short hearing which was held privately in chambers on Wednesday, Lord Armstrong refused to grant Walker’s request.

He will remain in his cell at Edinburgh’s Saughton Prison for the foreseeable future.