9am Briefing: Widow of murder victim slams killer’s release

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A TRIPLE murderer freed on compassionate grounds was today told by the widow of a victim: “I hope you live a long time – and suffer every minute.”

Andrew Walker executed three army colleagues in a payroll robbery in 1985, but has been released to a care home after suffering a stroke.

Private John Thomson was one of the men shot dead by Royal Scots corporal Walker in the raid on Glencorse Barracks, Penicuik, Midlothian.

Private Thomson left behind a 19-year-old widow, Susan, and son, Bruce, who was a toddler at the time and has been left with no memory of his father.

Mrs Thomson, now 47, is furious that Walker has been shown mercy despite showing none to his victims.

She said today: “I hope the bastard lives a long, long time – and suffers each and every minute.

“I am still suffering 26 years, 11 months and 11 days later. No-one ever asks how we feel.”

Private Thomson was forced to drive Walker and his comrades, one of whom had already been shot dead, to a site near a reservoir following the £19,000 raid. Walker shot the second soldier, ordered Private Thomson to get the bodies out of the vehicle and then executed the 25-year-old.

After he was captured, Walker claimed the killings had been carried out by the IRA but he was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in jail.

In 2002, he had his sentence cut by three years at the Court of Appeal. His lawyers argued that the 30-year sentence was “excessive”.

Following a stroke in Shotts Prison in 2009 he was moved a hospital where he was kept under round-the-clock supervision. Last month, he was moved to a care home, and the Scottish Government confirmed this week he had been released on compassionate grounds.

* An elderly woman had to be treated by paramedics after her electric blanket caught fire as she lay in bed.

Firefighters were called to a top floor flat in Strathearn Road, Marchmont, after the pensioner, believed to be in her eighties, woke to find her bed ablaze.

Seventeen firefighters attended the blaze and used two breathing apparatus and a high pressure hosereel.

The woman had wakened to find the fire and extinguished it before the fire service attended.

She was treated by the Scottish Ambulance Service for smoke

inhalation at the scene.

* HOMEOWNER Ian Strasser got a surprise as he was watching television - the arrival of a “ginormous” tree in his garden.

He was in his sitting room last night when strong winds tore the tree from his neighbour’s property in Bonnyrigg, across a main road and into his garden.

He said: “I heard an almighty noise and thought there had been a car crash. The tree is ginormous.

“It just missed our house. Luckily it fell at an angle. If it had landed straight it would have hit our house.”

The tree is a well-known feature on the town’s High Street, where it meets Golf Course Road.

Police cordoned off the street as council workers began the task of removing the tree.