Murderer with just months to live freed from jail

Soldier Andrew Walker shot his three colleagues and stole �19,000 that has never been recovered
Soldier Andrew Walker shot his three colleagues and stole �19,000 that has never been recovered
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A TRIPLE murderer who gunned down three soldiers in the Lothians in a payroll hijacking has been released from prison on compassionate grounds.

Fifty-seven year old Andrew Walker was left unable to do anything for himself after collapsing in his cell almost two years ago. The former soldier gunned down three army colleagues during a payroll robbery in Penicuik in 1985.

He was originally sentenced to 30 years. Another seven years was added to his sentence after he led a riot at Peterhead Prison in 1986.

Following the stroke, Walker was taken to Wishaw General Hospital in Lanarkshire, where he remained under round-the-clock supervision until last month when he was moved to a care home. A Scottish Government spokesman today confirmed that a prisoner had been granted compassionate release. She said such prisoners are either considered by doctors to be “severely incapacitated” or have only up to three months to live.

In 1985, Walker hijacked the payroll at Glencorse Barracks while working in the transport section of the Scottish Infantry Division Depot.

He had signed a submachine gun out of the Royal Scots armoury at Kirknewton and was waiting in Penicuik town centre as three soldiers – retired Major David Cunningham, 56, Sergeant Terence Hosker, 39, and Private John Thomson, 25 – arrived in a military Land Rover to collect £19,000.

Corporal Andrew Walker forced the trio to drive away from the bank. As the soldiers were about to drive away with the money, Walker approached Private Thomson and asked for a lift back to camp. He then got in the vehicle with Major Cunningham and Sgt Hosker and took out the weapon during the journey. It is believed Sergeant Hosker tried to tackle Walker and was shot in the chest.

Telling Private Thomson to drive along a quiet track to Glencorse reservoir, Walker shot Major Cunningham through the head.

A trail of blood seeped from the vehicle into the snow.

Thomson was then forced to unload the bodies of his colleagues before being shot himself in the head and abdomen.

The money was never recovered and is thought to be buried in the hills.

Colonel Clive Fairweather, who also served in the SAS, was Walker’s commanding officer at the time. He said: “It was where he had always planned to execute them. No-one was ever going to get away.

Any prisoners can apply for release under licence in Scotland on compassionate grounds.

Official figures for the past 17 years show 38 prisoners, including five murderers, have been granted release. All died within nine months.

dawn.morrison@edinburghnews.com