Bill Walker trial hears ‘smear campaign’ claims

Bill Walker. Picture: Toby Wiliams
Bill Walker. Picture: Toby Wiliams
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THE former wife of an MSP said he attacked her in front of their children because she “wasn’t into lust”, a court has been told.

Bill Walker’s trial also heard that he said he believed he was the victim of “smearing” and that his ex-wives have colluded to accuse him of domestic violence.

The 71-year-old is accused of a string of attacks against three former wives and a stepdaughter between 1967 and 1995.

The Independent MSP for Dunfermline denies 23 assaults and one breach of the peace.

A trial began at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday.

Giving evidence for a second day, detective sergeant Paul Dick read from transcripts of his interviews with Walker after the allegations came to light.

He said he questioned the MSP about a claim from his second wife, Anne Gruber, about an incident in October 1983 in front of two of their children.

He said he told Walker: “The allegation is that you threatened Anne and it was all because, in her words, ‘I wasn’t into lust’.

He said: “This incident also resulted in her having her hair pulled.”

Mr Dick said Walker denied making the threats and pulling his wife’s hair.

Asked in the interview what reason Mrs Gruber could have for making up allegations, Walker said: “No reason at all. This is not the woman who’s been making up to me for years. There’s some kind of smearing going on.”

Mr Dick said Walker also cast doubt on the authenticity of Mrs Gruber’s diaries from the time, which were shown to him during the interview.

He suggested she “composed” the diaries to “get at him”.

He told officers: “It’s very freshly written.”

Walker also said the diaries could have been written “after the effect”.

Mr Dick said Walker mentioned contact between Mrs Gruber and his third wife Diana Walker who he is also accused of assaulting.

“It’s been co-ordinated,” Walker said.

Walker also said: “There’s a guy been absolutely fixated with doing me down: Armstrong. He’s had huge amounts of documents put in the press.”

Under cross-examination by solicitor advocate Gordon Martin, Mr Dick said he was aware of “ill feeling” between Walker and Diana Walker’s brother-in-law Robert Armstrong.

The officer agreed that Mr Armstrong supplied the investigation with “a lot of” information relating to a dispute about access to a child in the 1980s and 1990s.

At the end the police interviews Walker was arrested and cautioned, Mr Dick told the court.

“I completely deny these charges,” Walker told officers.

Walker is alleged to have attacked ex-wives Anne Gruber, Maureen Traquair and Diana Walker and stepdaughter Anne Louise Paterson 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 in Clackmannanshire, has lodged a special defence of self-defence in relation to three of the charges.

Sheriff Katherine Mackie adjourned the trial until July 29. It is expected to last a further four days.