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'Rolex Killer' denied day parole from Greater Victoria prison

Albert Johnson Walker, whose crimes have inspired books, podcasts and a made-for-TV movie, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, fraud and theft

A conman dubbed the “Rolex Killer,” who was at one time the most wanted man in Canada, has been denied day parole from a Greater Victoria prison.

Albert Johnson Walker, whose crimes have inspired books, podcasts, a made-for-TV movie and a storyline on the British soap opera Coronation Street, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, fraud and theft.

Victims, who are regularly updated by the Correctional Service of Canada when Walker is outside the prison, told the Times Colonist he is being held in William Head Institution in Metchosin and has attended a Greater Victoria church with an escort.

They say they’re concerned he could dupe fellow church members and did not want to be named out of fear for their safety.

The 78-year-old has been held in the same minimum-security institution since 2017. He was granted a 60-day unescorted absence last year to participate in a program on the Island, according to the recent parole board decision denying Walker day parole.

While his case-management team had recommended that Walker be granted day parole, the Parole Board of Canada found he continues to pose a risk to the community based on his ongoing misrepresentation of and denial of culpability for his crimes.

They said he continued to deny and minimize his crimes while on temporary day parole last year, despite having a chance to address his problems in counselling.

“The board finds this highly concerning given that these behaviours parallel your criminal acts,” the decision says. “You have demonstrated that you will go to great lengths to hide your crimes and for these reasons and without a solid belief you have made and incorporate considerable changes in your attitudes and behaviours, the board is not convinced you would be fully open and accountable with your [case management team].”

Walker’s crimes date to the 1980s, when he bilked friends, acquaintances and clients of his financial services firm in Ontario of more than $2.6 million before fleeing to the United Kingdom with one of his children in 1990, the decision says.

In the U.K., Walker befriended a man named Ronald Platt and assumed his identity when Platt moved to Canada. When Platt returned to the U.K. in 1996, Walker took him on a boat trip to kill him, the decision says. He bought an anchor, attached it to Platt’s body and threw him overboard, it says.

The man’s body was discovered when a fishing boat dredged it up in a net.

Platt was eventually identified by the Rolex he was wearing at the time of his death, resulting in Walker’s nickname the “Rolex Killer.”

Walker started his life sentence in the U.K. in 1998 and was transferred to Canadian custody in February 2005.

The parole board noted the judge in Walker’s trial described his crime as a “cunningly planned, pre-mediated killing designed to eliminate a man you had used to your own selfish ends.” The judge called him a “plausible, intelligent, ruthless man and a considerable threat to anyone who stands in your way.”

Walker continues to deny committing fraud and claims he was engaged in legitimate business ventures that didn’t work out, the parole decision says. Walker claims that Platt allowed him to take his identity and that Platt attacked him and fell overboard in a struggle.

Walker’s behaviour while incarcerated has been mostly positive, the decision says, although there were concerns earlier in his sentence about him offering inmates financial advice.

He participates in religious studies and in a seniors’ group in the institution and regularly attends church, it says.

Victims who lost their life savings told the parole board that they had lost homes and relationships and suffered mental-health problems as a result of Walker’s actions, and believe his “charismatic personality” will allow him to continue committing crimes if he is released. Several victims noted that he defrauded members of his church, the decision says.

Walker has completed about 23 escorted absences from prison, mostly to attend church, a parole decision in 2023 says.

Despite his case-management team’s support for Walker’s day parole, the parole board said his access to potential victims will be too difficult to monitor.

“Given your refusal to be accountable and address your risk issues in a responsible way, the board believes that your risk is not manageable on this type of release,” the board wrote.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com