Albert Johnson Walker

Crime Files

In 1990 Ontario financial consultant and Sunday school teacher Albert Johnson Walker took his 15-year-old daughter Sheena on a skiing trip to Europe. He left his wife Barbara to look after their three other children until his return, but he had no intention of coming back. The exceptionally gifted salesman had set up the United Canvest Corporation in the Cayman Islands and deceived his fellow churchgoers and friends out of millions of dollars. Unbeknownst to his wife, Walker had re-mortgaged their house for over £44,000 and amassed up to 32 counts of fraud. Provincial police fraud charges amounted to over £1.67 million and Walker became Canada’s most wanted man and No. 4 on Interpol’s list of international fugitives. Two months after leaving Canada, Walker resurfaced in London as a wealthy American entrepreneur named David Wallace Davis. He met Elaine Boyes, a receptionist for a fine art auctioneer in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and as they chatted she told him how much she and her boyfriend, Ronald Platt, a TV repairman, would love to move to Canada one day. Ronald was so enthusiastic about the country he even had a maple leaf tattooed on the back of his right hand. Walker offered the couple directorship of his company, The Cavendish Corporation. They eventually accepted and he sent them on business trips abroad, frequently asking them to convert money from Swiss Francs to British Pounds when they were there.

Timeline

28 July 1996 - Platt’s body found 31 October 1997 - Walker arrested 6 July 1998 - Walker convicted of first-degree murder February 2005 - Walker returned to Canada to serve the rest of his sentence 6 July 2013 - Walker eligible for parole

The Trial

A fantasist, Walker was able to pretend to be anything or anyone at any time, but the evidence against him was strong. A global positioning system later pinpointed Walker’s yacht to the area at the time when Ronald died. One of Ronald’s fingerprints was also found on a plastic bag on the boat and Sheena testified against her father, excusing her behaviour by claiming she had been hypnotised by him.Walker admitted during his murder trial that he stole from clients in Canada, but has never confessed to killing Ronald. At Exeter Crown Court in June 1998, the jury took just two hours to convict Walker of Ronald’s murder and embezzlement. Mr. Justice Butterfield said Walker had committed “a callous, premeditated killing”.

The Aftermath

By 2000 bankruptcy trustees had recovered about £500,000 of embezzled money, but authorities are not really sure how much the former financial adviser stole and how much he lost in failed business ventures. There was possibly £150,000 in gold bullion that was never recovered, but Walker has never revealed how much money remains hidden.Sheena and her children were allowed to return to Canada after the trial and Britain signed an agreement with the Canadian authorities in June 2004 to transfer Walker back. He was returned in February 2005 after nearly seven years in prison. The Canadian police have said they fully intend to proceed with the 37 outstanding fraud and theft charges against him. Walker is eligible for parole on 6 July 2013.The true identity of the father of Sheena’s children has never been revealed.

The Key Figures

David Wallace Davis' and 'Ronald Platt' - Walker’s aliasesSheena 'Noelle' Walker - daughterBarbara Walker - wifeRonald Platt - victimElaine Boyes - victim’s girlfriendJohn Copik - found Ronald Platt’s body

The Crimes

In 1992 Walker gave Ronald and Elaine two one-way airline tickets to Calgary in Canada as a Christmas present. He persuaded Ronald to leave him a signature stamp for corporate documents along with his driver's licence, birth certificate and a credit card. The minute Ronald was out of the country Walker then proceeded to steal his identity.By 1996 Walker and Sheena had moved to Essex and were living as husband and wife under the names of Ronald and Noelle. They had two young daughters (the biological father is unknown) and their birth certificates cited Ronald Platt as the father.Walker kept in contact with the real Ronald Platt and spoke to Elaine occasionally, who had eventually left Ronald in Canada. However, disillusioned with the Canadian economy, Ronald Platt returned to England and settled close to Walker and his daughter.Walker realised his cover was about to be blown, so he invited Ronald to Devon with Sheena and their daughters and took him out for a trip on his yacht. Four miles out to sea, Walker hit Ronald over the head with an anchor, tied it around his waist and tipped his body into the English Channel. Ronald’s disappearance was not noticed for six weeks.

The Arrest

On 28 July 1996, John Copik pulled up a body tangled in the nets of his fishing trawler off the coast of south Devon. There was an injury to the back of the man’s head, but everything indicated that he accidentally drowned. At first the man’s identity was a mystery to the police, but he was wearing an expensive Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch. The police contacted Rolex, who keep records of purchases, and they discovered that a man by the name of Ronald Platt had that particular watch repaired ten years earlier in 1986.The police found Walker’s mobile phone number on a reference letter Ronald had given a letting agent company. When they spoke to Walker he was more than helpful and went into the police station voluntarily. He told them that as far as he was aware Ronald had gone to France.Essex police contacted Walker to clear up a few matters. He was still using the name of David Davis, but when they went to his house he wasn’t there. A neighbour informed them that Ronald Platt lived next door, not David Davis, and Ronald had a yacht in Devon.On 31 October 1997 police arrested Walker on suspicion of the murder of Ronald Joseph Platt and found Sheena stuffing gold bars into a diaper bag. In the previous month Walker had bought over £67,000 in gold bullion.