Former MSP Bill Walker refused bail

Bill Walker was found guilty in August. Pic Neil Hanna

Bill Walker was found guilty in August. Pic Neil Hanna

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Disgraced former MSP Bill Walker who was jailed for 12 months for domestic abuse offences against three former wives and a stepdaughter has lost an appeal for bail.

Judge Lord Armstrong refused the 71-year-old’s attempt to be freed from prison pending an appeal during a private hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on Wednesday morning.

Walker was found guilty in August of 23 assaults and one breach of the peace between 1967 and 1995.

His solicitor Russel McPhate said he maintained his innocence and that an appeal would be launched.

Sheriff Kathrine Mackie, who heard the two-week trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, said Walker was in “absolute denial” as she imposed the maximum sentence available to the court last month.

She found Walker guilty of assaulting his first wife Maureen Traquair on three separate occasions in the 1960s and 1980s. On one occasion he punched her in the face, giving her a black eye two weeks before they married in January 1967.

He was convicted of assaulting his second wife, Anne Gruber, 15 times between 1978 and 1984. On various occasions Mrs Gruber was punched, slapped, kicked and pushed to the ground.

He spat on her face, threw household items at her, threatened to pour hot coffee over her and pulled her hair. He also breached the peace by leaping into Mrs Gruber’s home brandishing an air rifle.

Walker, of Alloa in Clackmannanshire, was also found guilty of assaulting and injuring Mrs Gruber’s 16-year-old daughter, Anne Louise Paterson, by repeatedly striking her on the head with a saucepan in 1978.

The disgraced politician was found guilty of four assaults on his third wife Diana Walker, three of which involved slapping or punching her on the face. The attacks happened between June 1988 and January 1995.

Walker’s crimes were committed at addresses in Edinburgh, Stirling, Midlothian and Alloa.

The former SNP MSP, who was suspended and later expelled from the party after the allegations surfaced in March last year, denied all the charges. He claimed he was the victim of “smearing” and that his ex-wives colluded to accuse him of domestic violence.

But Sheriff Mackie said Walker was not a credible witness and that the evidence shows he was “controlling, domineering, demeaning and belittling” towards his former wives.

Sentencing him, she said: “I have been unable to detect, either during the trial or in the reports, any evidence of remorse for anything or anyone except yourself. You maintain your denial of any wrongdoing, and that you perceive yourself as the victim of various conspiracies, among your former wives, political opponents and the media.

“Your incredulity at being convicted of these offences and your perceived victimisation are further indications of your abdication of responsibility for your behaviour. Your denial appears to me to be absolute. There is no acknowledgement of any unacceptable behaviour. There is no indication of any motivation to change.”

Walker initially refused to vacate his Holyrood seat after the verdict, despite pressure from campaigners and MSPs, the vast majority of whom signed a motion calling for him to step down. But he finally resigned on September 7, blaming a “media onslaught” that he said made it impossible for him to continue.

The by-election to fill his Dunfermline seat is on Thursday October 24.