Episode 7 Ronald Platt

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On July 28, 1996, John Copik, a fisherman of 30 years, and his son Craig, were 6 miles off the coast of Teignmouth, a picturesque town in the south-west English county of Devon. After two disappointing hauls, the father and son had taken their trawler further out to an area that wasn’t often fished known as the roughs.

The move paid off and around 3:30pm, the men started to pull in their heaviest load of the day, however, any positive feelings the men had sunk when amongst the fish, the fully dressed body of a middle aged man slid out of their nets and onto the deck.

On July 28, 1996, John Copik, a fisherman of 30 years, and his son Craig, were 6 miles off the coast of Teignmouth, a picturesque town in the south-west English county of Devon. After two disappointing hauls, the father and son had taken their trawler further out to an area that wasn’t often fished known as the roughs.


The move paid off and around 3:30pm, the men started to pull in their heaviest load of the day, however, any positive feelings the men had sunk when amongst the fish, the fully dressed body of a middle aged man slid out of their nets and onto the deck.


Being 6 miles out to sea and with no other vessels in sight, John Copik knew he had two options. He could pull on a cod line and the man’s body would go back into the ocean, and they would go on fishing or they could take the body in and lose a day’s wages.


The deceased man was wearing a blue and white checked shirt, green trousers with a leather belt, and brown shoes. His body had clearly been in the water a while; decomposition had already made his facial features unrecognisable but a faded tattoo was still visible on the back of his right hand and a Rolex watch clung to his wrist. The time frozen on the dial was 11:35.


The younger fisherman said they should bring him in so the father and son set their boat, and their now-useless haul of fish, on course for Brixham Quay. 


Welcome to Turned Up Dead. I’m Fiona. The true crime story I’m going to tell you today is of the murder of Ronald Platt. Although not in any length or detail, this episode does mention incest and suicide.


Detective Ian Clenehan of Devon and Cornwall police said in the documentary Real Crime: An Almost Perfect Murder that the body was in a remarkably good condition for having been in saltwater so long. No identification was found with the body and the man’s pockets had been turned out as if, said the detective, someone had got there before him and searched them. The leather belt the dead man was wearing had a distinct kink in it.


Guan Fernando,The pathologist noticed several wounds to the unidentified man’s body; a wound on his hip,a bruise on his thigh, and a deep, 4-inch wound on the back of head. An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be drowning and the man had been in the water less than a week. The wounds and cause of death didn’t raise any alarms; unfortunately drownings are common off the Devon coast and the man’s injuries were consistent with falling on the deck of a boat and going overboard. The pockets being inside out did seem unusual, but the Rolex had been left untouched. 

No one matching the man’s description had been reported missing from private boats or anyone in the area, and there had been no reports of men overboard from fishing boats or cross-channel ferries. No match was found for his fingerprints nor was there any record of his tattoo on the Police National Database.


Newspapers ran stories of the ‘mystery of Rolex man’ but still, no one came forward.


Six weeks later, a mortuary assistant said they believed all genuine Rolex watches have a unique serial number. On realising this, Devon & Cornwall police then sent the watch to Rolex who confirmed it to be genuine and said it had been serviced or repaired three times in 1977, 1982, and 1986. The owner on all three occasions, was a Mr Ronald Platt. 


Ronald Platt had lived in Yorkshire, a county in the north of England at the time of the repairs but his most recent address was in Chelmsford, Essex, in the south-east of England. Ronald Platt had left the rental property a month before he was found dead in Devon but his landlord gave police their next clue. As a reference, Ronald Platt had named a Mr David Davies. 


The only contact information they had for Mr David Davies was a mobile phone number and so on August 22 1996, Detective Constable Ian Clenehan from Devon & Cornwall police called David Davies and told him of Ronald Platt’s death. DC Clenehan noted that David Davies didn’t seem particularly shocked and didn’t ask many questions about how his friend had died.  David Davies seemed helpful and agreed to go to a nearby police station to help with their inquiries. 


At Chelmsford police station, about 200 miles from Devon, David Davies was interviewed by Detective Sergeant Peter Redman of Essex Police. Davies was a tall man of about 50 years old. He was dressed well in casual but expensive clothes and came across as confident and self-assured. In An Almost Perfect Murder, the detective said David Davies ‘had the bearing of a man who knew what he was doing,’ end quote. Mr Davies said that he had last seen Ronald Platt in Essex at the end of June when he had leant him £2,000, and that as far as he was aware, Ronald Platt had taken that money to France where he intended to start a new life and business. Davies, who the detective thought to be American, said the tattoo on Ronald’s hand which had been thought to be a cluster of stars, was a Canadian Maple leaf. Ronald Platt had lived in Canada as a child and for three years before he had moved back to the UK just a year before his death. Before he left the station, David Davies gave police his address and said he’d send them a photograph of Ron. Again, Mr Davies kept to his word. When detective Redman received the photograph, he believed his side of the inquiry in Essex to be over.


Ronald Platt had been in the army on National Service in the1960s. His army medical records were tracked down and the body was confirmed as Ronald Platt from dental records and a description of the maple leaf tattoo.


Perhaps wondering if Ronald Platt had been in France since June 21, when he had left Essex, and July 22 when his body was discovered off the coast of Devon, DC Clenehan asked DS Redman to see if he could get any more information from David Davies about Ronald Platt’s whereabouts and a statement for the coroner’s inquest. Mr Davies however wasn’t answering his phone so on October 14 1996, DS Redman headed to the village of Woodham Walter to visit David Davies at home. The address  DS Redman had for him was a house named Little London Farmhouse on Little London Lane, Woodham Walter. Little London Lane is a small country road that follows the boundaries of the fields on either side. There are only four houses on the lane and back in 1996, none of the house names were visible. Detective Sergeant Redman knocked on the door of the first house he came to. 


An elderly couple answered the door. When the detective said that he was looking for Little London Farmhouse, they told him he was at Little London House. The elderly man said Little London Farmhouse was next door, and then asked who he was looking for. When DS Rednam answered David Davies, he said it wasn’t David Davies who lived there – it was Ron Platt. Having only recently heard that the body in Devon had been identified as Ronald Platt, DS Redman asked the old man to describe his neighbour, Ron Platt. The elderly man described Ron Platt as a tall American man, around 50 years old. The description perfectly matched the man who had introduced himself to DS Redman as David Davies. The couple said their neighbour, Ron Platt, lived with his young wife and two small children and commented that they must have been doing ok financially as they kept a boat down in Devon. Knowing that there was some foul play going on, DS Redman chose not to visit David Davies, or Ron Platt that day and asked the elderly couple not to tell their neighbours of his visit.


Upon hearing this police began to discreetly gather information about David Davies. David Davies had been living under the name Ronald Platt for the past three years. His bank accounts and business were all in the name Ronald Platt, and his two children’s father had been registered as Ronald Joseph Platt. Their mother was recorded as Noel Platt, who was also known as Elaine Boyle. Police checks into the name David Davies only turned up one person who had emigrated from the UK in 1945 – their David Wallis Davies would have been a baby, if even born, back then. Devon and Cornwall police decide to go back and reinterview their original witnesses. 


Ronald Platt’s brother tells police that Ronald’s ex-girlfriend might be able to shed some light on the mysterious David Davies. Her name, Ronald’s brother said, was Elaine Boyes. 


Davies’ wife had used the name Elaine Boyes on her children’s birth certificates, however the Elaine Boyes Platt’s brother spoke of had been in a relationship with Ronald Platt for ten years and was much older than David Davies’ wife.


The Elaine Boyes who had been in a relationship with Ronald Platt, the real Elaine Boyes, had lived in Yorkshire since her relationship with the real Ronald Platt had ended a few years previously in 1993. 


Elaine had been unaware of Ronald’s death and was shocked to hear of it when police contacted her. She told them that she and Ronald had both been friends with David Davies, who was Canadian, not American. The shock Elaine felt upon hearing of Ronald’s passing must have turned into confusion as she learned that David Davies had known of Ronald’s death for almost a month. Elaine had spoken with David Davies just a week earlier and had even asked if he’d seen Ronald. Davies had told Elaine that Ronald had gone to France. Elaine now knew this was a lie. Something was very wrong.


When David Davies next called Elaine Boyes, he again didn’t mention Ronald’s death and sounded upbeat. Elaine, although still unaware that Davies had been using Ronald’s identity, feared he had been involved in his death so she thought it best to be honest with him. When Elaine told him she knew Ronald had died, the tone of the conversation changed. David Davies said he wanted to see Elaine. Not wanting to raise any suspicions, Elaine agreed to meet Davies close to her work in Yorkshire, about 200 miles north of David Davies’ home in Essex.


On October 30 1996, David Davies travelled by train to Harrogate, Yorkshire. When he met Elaine Boyes, he expressed sorrow and told her that he had shed tears for Ronald and said prayers for him on his way to meet her. In the documentary, she said it, quote, ‘all seemed very shallow to me, it was always like I could see that he was acting,’ end quote, but Elaine Boyes was acting too. She played along and as soon as Davies left, called the police. 


The information from Elaine about Mr Davies’ lies gave police enough to arrest David Davies on suspicion of the murder of Ronald Platt.  Essex police waited at Chelmsford train station to arrest Davies upon his return from Yorkshire. But David Davies didn’t show up.


The next morning, October 31 1996, DS Redman drove along Little London Lane to see if there was any sign of Davies at home. Knowing next to nothing about this David Davies and with it seeming more and more likely that he had killed his former friend, Ronald Platt, DS Redman watched the house from a distance and awaited armed backup.


As he waited, a taxi arrived and stopped outside Little London Farmhouse. The taxi driver, Morris Cooch, told in the documentary quote, ‘a gentleman just came straight out he sat in the front seat beside me chatting nicely traffic away quite nicely just seemed like a very normal business chap very friendly nice chat,’ end quote. DS Redman followed at a distance. The armed police soon caught up and overtook DS Redman. Morris Cooch said that while talking to his passenger, he noticed their police car coming up behind him at high speed with its lights flashing. He had turned to his passenger and asked if he had been doing anything wrong. The armed police overtook the taxi and stopped blocking the road. Morris Cooch said that then, quote, ‘And then the policeman came to the window point the gun at my passenger tell him to get out the car,’ end quote.


David Davies was ordered out of the taxi and searched. The taxi driver recalled that Davies remained calm and did exactly as the officers told. DS Redman walked up to Davies, who had introduced himself to the detective as Ronald Platt two months earlier and said quote, ‘good morning Mr Davis do you remember me?’ end quote. Davies remembered the detective but showed no emotion or anger at having been caught. He put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed and was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Ronald Platt. 


DS Redman then went back to Little London Farmhouse and to arrest David Davies’ wife. Davies’ wife Noel Platt, who had used the name Elaine Boyes on her children’s birth certificates, didn’t appear very surprised to find the police at her door. A female officer stood by as she packed a bag for the children. When the police officer picked up the bag, it felt unusually heavy, and when she looked inside, she found 5 gold bars and £4,000 cash.


When David Davies was searched at Chelmsford police station, he had identification in the name of David Davies in one pocket, and ID in the name of Ronald Platt in the other. David Davies and his wife were transported to Devon to be interviewed.


When Essex police concluded their search of the couple’s home, they had uncovered another seventeen gold bars, £25,000 and 8,000 Swiss Francs in cash, and artwork valued at £6,000. Documents and bills were found in the name of Ronald Platt – some had even been signed after the real Ronald Platt’s body had been found. They had also found a receipt from a boating store in Devon named Sport Nautique. The receipt listed 7 items, including a 10 pound zinc anchor. They also found photographs of the boat the neighbour had mentioned him keeping in Devon, a 24ft cruiser yacht,  but they found nothing that told them where it was moored.  


In Devon, DC Clenehan said that David Davies quote, ‘was very calm and very helpful prior to the actual official interview and after the interview he was even eager to help and his whole attitude was that of you know I’m going to help you I haven’t done anything wrong to this man this is a tragic incident,’ end quote, but as soon as the interview tape recorder was switched on, David Davies very politely declined to answer any of DC Clenehan’s questions. 


Police reinterviewed the fishermen who had caught Ronald Platt’s body in their nets. John Copik mentioned that an anchor had been brought up in the same catch as Ronald Platt’s body. Mr Copik told police he had given the anchor to a friend who had passed it to a relative to sell at a car boot sale. For those unfamiliar with this great British tradition, a car boot sale is a bit like an organised garage sale with lots of sellers but instead of selling things outside your home, you sell things out of the trunk of your car, which is called the boot in the UK. Car boot sales are usually held in a field or car park (parking lot). In a strike of luck for police, the anchor hadn’t sold and the fisherman’s friend’s relative had brought it home. Police retrieved it from the garage where it had been kept since failing to sell at the car boot and took it into evidence. 


When the pathologist saw the anchor, he realised its significance; the kink in the leather belt was the right size to have been made by being secured to the anchor. The wound on Ronald Platt’s hip and the bruise on his thigh lined up with the anchor when it was positioned against Ronald Platt’s body as if were secured to his belt when wearing it.


The belt was sent to be examined by a forensic metallurgist who found traces of zinc on the kinked part of the belt, which matched the coating of the anchor. This proved that the anchor had been secured to Ronald Platt when he entered the ocean and that his death was almost certainly not an accident.


The information police had gathered was starting to come together: the anchor listed on the  receipt found in David Davies’ house was the same as the one which had pulled Ronald Platt to the ocean floor, and in another strike of luck, this time for Devon and Cornwall police, more evidence connecting Davies’ to the murder of Ronald Platt.


Still not having found David Davies’ boat, Devon & Cornwall police had added its name, the Lady Jane, to their investigation board. By chance, the inspector who had led the team which had searched Davies’ home noticed the name on the board and asked what its connection to the case was. When he was told that The Lady Jane was the name of Davies’ boat which they needed to find, the inspector, who himself sailed in the area, replied that the Lady Jane was in a dry dock – he had seen it there himself.


The Lady Jane was found in the dry dock, just as the inspector had said, and was taken to be forensically examined. A plastic shopping bag from the same store that the receipt for the anchor came from was found inside. When the bag was tested Ronald Platt’s fingerprints were found on it. A head hair that had been pulled from the scalp was found on a cushion and through DNA testing was confirmed as Mr Platt’s.


Upon his arrest, David Davies had had his fingerprints taken and in an attempt to identify him, they had been sent to Interpol who came back with a match. 


David Davies, who had assumed the identity of Ronald Platt was in fact Albert Johnson Walker – Canada’s most wanted fugitive and Interpol’s forth most wanted person in the world. An international arrest warrant had been issued for him for embezzling 3-4 million Canadian dollars from mainly elderly people who had trusted him with their life savings.


Albert Johnson Walker was born in Ontario, Canada in 1946. In his early 20s, Albert Walker met Barbara. Within 3 weeks of meeting, he proposed and they married in 1968. He and Barbara went on to have four children. Albert Walker became a church elder and taught Sunday School. 


In Paris, Ontario Walker started and ran a chain of financial planning businesses. Many local residents, who had worked hard all their lives, allowed Walker’s company to manage their entire life savings. Albert Walker had led them to believe he was a financial expert and told them he had studied at Oxford University. But in reality, during the time he claimed to have been studying at the famous university, Walker had really been working as a laborer and herdsman who had dropped out of high school.


As more people trusted and invested their money, Albert Walker’s taste for a luxurious lifestyle grew. However, in the mid 1980s, his “investments” began to catch up with him. 


In June 1990, after 20 years of marriage, Barbara told Albert Walker to move out and claimed custody of their four children. Barbara had left after Walker had had a string of affairs. The latest being with a woman from their church. In November 1990, Albert Walker was arrested for breaking into his former family home.


The trust people had in Walker began to fade and suspicions grew. Rather than getting the return on their investments with Walker’s company, clients were told

their money had been lost in the stock market and real estate. Perhaps some of it had, but an awful lot of it found its way into Albert Walker’s hands and offshore bank accounts.


In december 1990, Albert Walker left Canada for a skiing holiday in Europe. He had taken his second eldest daughter, 15-year-old daughter, Sheena Walker, with him. When they didn’t return for Christamas as planned, Barbara Walker’s fears grew.


Shortly before he had left Canada, Albert Walker had stolen money from his company’s Canadian account and taken more of his clients money from accounts in the Cayman Islands.


In January 1991, Canadian police started investigating the missing money which totalled 3.2 million Canadian dollars.


However neither Canadian police nor Barbera Walker, who had hired her own private detective to find Sheena, were able to locate him.


In April 1993, charges were made against Albert Walker in absentia for theft, fraud, and money laundering. If Walker were caught and returned to Canada, he would be faced with charges of theft and fraud for a total of 3.2 million Canadian dollars


By this time Walker had assumed the identity of David Davies, a man who had been one of his clients in Canada. Within 4 months of leaving Canada, Walker had met and befriended Ronald Platt. 


Walker met Ronald Platt through Elaine Boyes, who at the time, around March / April 1991, was working as a receptionist at an art gallery in Harrogate, Yorkshire.

Walker struck up a conversation with Elaine as she showed him pieces of art. Elaine described him as very charming and engaging. She said he was quote, ‘he was almost perfect,’ end quote. Elaine had no doubts that Walker, who she knew as David Davies, was anything other than the successful ex-banker he proclaimed to be. While covering these events, I’ll refer to Albert Walker as David Davies. 


After an hour and a half, Davies offered Elaine a position in his London-based financial investment company. Elaine was amazed but she knew she wouldn’t be able to work for him for very long. Elaine and her boyfriend Ronald Platt were planning on leaving the UK for Canada. When she shared this with Davies he said that was fine and that she would be able to save more money to move to Canada as he would pay her more than what she was making at the gallery.


When Elaine introduced him to Ronald Platt, they instantly hit it off. Elaine described Ronald as being quote, ‘bowled over by David Davies.’ 


Elaine accepted Davies’ offer. Her new job involved her going to view and photograph works of art and properties across Europe. However, none of the properties she viewed for Davies were ever purchased. On these trips, Elaine would sometimes deposit cash into foreign bank accounts. Elaine’s salary was also paid to her in cash – Davies explained that this was because of some problems he had with the tax department. 


Elaine, Ronald, and David Davies had quickly become friends. Davies had even given Ronald money to start his own TV repair business and he also made Elaine and Ronald directors of his company – this, he told them, was also due to his ex-wife, who according to Davies was a successful attorney in New York who was chasing him for alimony. 


What Elaine and Ronald didn’t know was that their generous new friend was really using the company they were now directors of to launder the money he stole back in Canada.


Albert Walker settled in Harrowgate under the guise of David Davies and hid behind the facade he created of being an honest, church-going man. He certainly had Harrowgate Church Reverend David Hoskings fooled. In the Real Crime documentary, the reverend said of David Davies, quote, ‘He was open it seemed to me he was helpful he wanted to be supportive to other people and I thought and all around good egg,’ end quote.  The reverend couldn’t have been more wrong if he tried. 


Walker lived in Harrowgate as a recently divorced, single father. Sheena, who was 15 when she was taken on the run by her father, was with him. As Sheena’s name would raise alarms to police forces around the world, she also had a new name; Noel.


For Christmas, in 1992, David Davies, the ever-generous friend, gave Elaine and Ronald two one-way tickets to Canada. For Ronald this was fantastic; going back to Canada had been his dream for years. The fact the tickets had to be used by the end of February didn’t worry him but Elaine wasn’t so sure. But Ronald and Davies talked her into it and in February 1993, Ronald Platt and Elaine Boyes left the UK for a fresh start in Canada.


Before leaving, Ronald had left Davies with a stamp of his signature, his driver’s license, birth certificate, and a credit card in Platt’s name. Albert Walker, who had become David Davies, now had everything he needed to assume the identity of Ronald Platt.


After living for only 5 months as Ronald Platt, Walker’s cover was in danger of being blown. Elaine had found the move to Canada much harder than expected. They had arrived in Canada in the middle of winter and struggled to find work. Elaine, whose sister was soon to get married in the UK, left Ronald in Canada and returned to England. 


Albert Walker had been invited to Elaine’s sister’s wedding but of course they knew him as David Davies so Walker was back to his old identity for the day. Elaine’s good friend Davies tried to persuade her to give Ronald and life in Canada another chance but Elaine had made up her mind and wasn’t going back.


In the days after the wedding, Albert Walker, who couldn’t continue living in Harrowgate as Ronald Platt now that Elaine was there to stay. Elaine told Real Crime: The Almost Perfect Murder, quote, ‘I didn’t have his details, I didn’t have his address. All I had was a mobile number for him and basically he just left,’ end quote. 


Albert Walker had left with his daughter and moved to live in Tiverton, a town on the River Exe in Devon. The historic town surrounds Tiverton Castle, which was built in 1106 by order of Henry I. Albert Walker moved into a 3 bedroom cottage on a quiet country road a few miles out of town. Sisters Carole Poole and Judith DiMarte, had rented the cottage to a Mr Ronald Platt and his wife, Noel.


When Devon and Cornwall police learned of Walker’s true identity, Noel was reinterviewed. During this interview she said what I imagine the police feared. She told them, quote, ‘He’s my father,’ end quote.


Albert Walker and his daughter lived in Devon for just over a year. In September 1993, while living there Sheena gave birth to her first child. 

In an interview after Albert Walker’s arrest, Sheena said that her father had told her to use Elaine Boyes’ name so she would be able to receive medical care throughout her pregnancy. Walker also told her that because of her pregnancy they should pose as man and wife.


People noticed the obvious gap in age between them, but people also noticed the hair dye Walker used and concluded that he was an older man trying to keep up with his younger wife. 


Carole , who with her sister owned the cottage they lived in and had become friends with the apparent couple, told of a time when Sheena Walker, who Carole knew as Noel Platt, nearly blew their cover.


‘There was an occasion when we were in conversation when she could ron daddy it left a mark I noticed it but didn’t all together think it odd it seemed to me to be a term of affection I suppose. I can’t speculate on what roles they played when we went there but I have to say that they were very very convincing. It never occurred to me at any time they were anything but husband and wife.’


In April 1994, Walker bought the yacht and changed its name to the Lady Jane.


There was another occasion in Devon which at the time didn’t seem overly suspicious.


The daughter of Walker’s landlady studied art and had noticed that he had a painting displayed on an easel. When she asked him about it, he confirmed that he had painted it. However the painting had been signed David Walker, not Ronald Platt who she believed him to be. Walker explained this away by saying that David Walker was a name he used when he was at college. No one thought anything of it at the time.


When Sheena had given birth, Albert Walker had listed both himself and Sheena as artists on the child’s birth certificate.


In September 1994, Albert Walker, Sheena Walker, and the baby left Devon and moved into Little London Farmhouse, 300 miles away in Essex.


Whilst still in Devon, Walker mentioned to Carole that he was interested in marriage guidance counselling – as in he wanted to become one. Walker completed a counselling course, which Carol described as a rather basic qualification. Walker and his daughter moved to Essex as Mr and Mrs Platt. Walker exaggerated his qualifications and claimed to be a psychologist and opened his own clinic, Solutions in Therapy.


Being a psychologist wasn’t enough for Walker, so he also told people that he was a cousin of professional footballer David Platt. 


He told his employee, Isobel Rogers, that he had been a banker in the US. When calls came through to Solutions in Therapy for someone named David, Walker said they were for his footballer cousin, David Platt and took the calls. Walker told Mrs Rogers that he managed the former England player’s investments. He also told her he had a brother named David.


Things had been going well for Walker in Essex; he had a new business, he lived in a nice house, had settled into a welcoming community, and was a member of a local country club.


Unfortunately for Walker, life in Canada hadn’t been so easy for Ronald Platt. In 1995 he returned to the UK, and having little money and no employment, he called his old friend David Davies for help. Walker supported Ronald financially until his disappearance. Ronald Platt moved to Essex and rented an apartment in Springfield, just 8 miles from Walker’s cottage in Woodham Walter.  Obviously, having two Ronald Platt’s with the same date of birth living in such close proximity was a problem.


Ronald Platt spent Christmas ’95 with David Davies but within a year, Ronald would be murdered, David Davies revealed not only to have killed him but also to be internationally wanted fraudster and fugitive Albert Walker.


On December 9 1996, Albert Walker was charged with the murder of Ronald Platt. No charges were made against Sheena Walker and she would testify against him at his trial.


Upon hearing that her daughter had been found, Barbara Walker immediately flew to the UK. 


Albert Walker protested his innocence until his trial started at Exeter Crown Court, Devon on June 22nd 1998. If Walker were to be acquitted, UK police would re-arrest him and send him back to Canada where he would have to face the charges of theft and fraud.


Walker was confident. The evidence police had gathered was circumstantial; there were no witnesses to the murder and police weren’t able to say exactly where and when Ronald Platt had been killed. Coroner Hamish Turner was a witness in the trial and saw Walker’s confidence in court. He said, quote, ‘at no time did he really think he was in difficulty he didn’t think that anyone could prove that he had murdered this man,’ end quote. Elaine Boyes’ comments echoed this, quote, ‘When he was on the stand he was very confident, very charming. Charming to the judge, very relaxed,’ end quote. She said he was the Mr Davis that she knew.


People often think of circumstantial evidence as being of lesser value than having eyewitnesses to a crime but as we know, eyewitnesses aren’t always reliable. The circumstantial evidence police had gathered against Albert Walker was strong and when the prosecution put it together and presented it in court, it spoke to the jury as clearly as any witness.


On the 6th of July 1996 Albert Walker and Ronald Platt booked into the Steam Packet Inn in the Devon town of Totnes. Walker used the name Davies and for some unknown reason, they said they were related. 


On July 8, Albert Walker went with Ronald Platt and purchased the anchor. Police had spoken to the man who had sold them the anchor and learned that he had told them that the anchor wasn’t suitable for the Lady Jane but the customer, a man with a Canadian accent, said it would be adequate. He paid for the anchor with a card in the name of Ronald Platt.


On July 9 Walker and Platt moved to the Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes.


Sheena Walker testified that she and Walker had gone to Devon on holiday later in July and that she didn’t know Ronald Platt was also in the area. The prosecution said this was significant because Sheena knew Platt. Not telling Sheena that he was seeing Ronald platt was important; the prosecution said this was consistent with Walker having planned Ronald Platt’s murder and wanting to keep it secret from Sheena. 


Sheena testified that one day during this holiday, Walker told her he was going sailing and left alone. Walker got back late. Sheena said he was nervous and dishevelled. She said she was unsure of the date but that Walker had watched the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympic Games on TV. Television listings showed that the games he had watched had been broadcast on July 20.


This was significant because Platt’s Rolex had stopped at 11:35 on July 22. The watch was self-winding but would stop working after 40 hours if left motionless. 40 hours before July 22 when it had stopped was July 20; the day Walker had gone sailing and returned home disheveled.


The police believed and the prosecution argued that Walker had met Ronald Platt on this day and taken him sailing with the intention of murdering him. Sheena told the court that Platt couldn’t swim and didn’t like being on boats, even large ones, she added. Elaine believed that Ronald would have trusted Walker; she felt sure that if he had any doubts or fears, he wouldn’t have gone on the yacht.


Expert witnesses gave evidence that the hairs found in Walker’s yacht matched Ronald Platt’s DNA. Furthermore, they said that the hairs had been removed from Ronald Platt’s head during some type of trauma. The jury also heard of the spots of Platt’s blood found on a cushion in the boat.


The prosecution theorized that Ronald was hit and knocked unconscious while on Walker’s boat. Walker then emptied Ronald Platt’s pockets of all identification but either by choice or by mistake, he left the Rolex on his wrist. He hooked the anchor through Platt’s belt, as indicated by the kink and traces of zinc on the leather, and pushed Ronald Platt overboard to the bottom of the ocean. In the process of this, the anchor caused the injuries to Ronald Platt’s hip and thigh. Water found in Platt’s lungs during autopsy meant that he was alive when Walker pushed him into the ocean.


On July 21st, Walker called Mrs Rogers who worked at his counselling centre in Essex and told her that he’d had a bad accident on his boat. He told her that he had fallen and had injured himself while pulling heavy things off of the yacht.


A week after this on July 28th, Ronald Platt’s body was pulled to the surface in the nets of a fishing trawler off the coast of Devon.


Studies of the ocean currents at the time and an experiment using an identical anchor determined that Ronald Platt’s body wouldn’t have moved much from where it had fallen to the ocean floor. Expert in river and ocean hydraulics, Dr Bob Allen said that with the anchor, it would have taken 30 seconds for Ronald Platt to fall to the seabed. The Lady Jane’s SatNav showed that it had been in the same area that the trawler had been fishing in when it had dredged up Platt’s body.


Between hearing of the discovery of Ronald Platt’s body being found and his arrest, Albert Walker withdrew hundreds of thousands of pounds and had bought over £67,000 in gold bullion.


Albert Walker testified on the eighth day of the trial. His own defence raised the question of why he and Sheena had posed as married. Walker said, quote, ‘She was somewhat embarrassed that she was a single girl and wanted to have the appearance that she wasn’t single.’ end quote. 


Walker told his defence lawyer that he didn’t murder Ronald Platt and that quote, ‘Ron Platt was a very nice person. I have no reason in the world to ever kill him or ever harm him,’ end quote. Walker told the court that the blood and hair found in his boat had got there days before Ronald Platt died. Walker said that he and Platt had set sail from Devon on July 8th with the intention of sailing the Lady Jane along the English south coast to Essex. However, Walker claimed, Ronald Platt had hit his head, bled on his yacht’s cushion and left a few head hairs behind, so they abandoned their voyage. Albert Walker said that two days after this, as far as he knew, Ronald Platt went to France. 


Walker’s defence argued that Ronald Platt was depressed and had taken his own life. When questioned by the defense, Sheena said that during the investigation she had told police that Ronald Platt could have committed suicide.


Canadian magazine McClains, which covered a lot of the trial, reported that she said, quote, ‘He was so disappointed at being back in this country. He was depressed about several things. He would go on and on about how he hated being in England. It was a huge disappointment that things didn’t work out in Canada,’ end quote.


When Walker was cross-examined by prosecutor Charles Barton, he admitted to living under a false identity and to lying about every aspect of his life. Walker even agreed that Platt could have been murdered, but he maintained his innocence. He said he did go sailing on July 20, as Sheena had testified, but that was alone. He hadn’t seen Ronald Platt since July 10, he claimed.


In his closing argument, prosecutor Charles Barton pointed at Albert Walker and called him a murderer. He told jurors Walker quote, ‘prepared, with a degree of planning that I would describe as chilling, to execute Ronald Platt,’ end quote.


At the end of the 11-day trial, the 8 women and 4 men who made up the jury had heard both sides and had even been given time to see Walker’s yacht for themselves.


On July 6 1998, the jury took less than two hours to find Albert Walker guilty of first degree murder.


Albert Walker was given the mandatory life sentence, and would have to serve 15 years before the possibility of parole. At the end of his sentence, Walker would be extradited to Canada where he would have to face charges of fraud.


Walker showed no emotion as the judge told him, quote, ‘This was a premeditated killing designed to eliminate a man you had used for your own ends and found to be, first, an inconvenience, then a threat to your freedom. He became not merely expendable but a danger to you, and he had to die,’ end quote. 


After the sentencing, Elaine Boyes was photographed punching the air in joy. She thanked God and told reporters, quote, ‘That man is so evil. If I hadn’t been so open with him the first day I met him, Ron would be alive today,’ end quote.


After the trial Sheena Walker returned to Canada with her mother and her two children. No charges were ever made against her.


Ronald Joseph Platt was born on March 22 1945. He joined the army in the 1960s on national service. Ronald Platt had been married before his relationship with Elaine Boyes and he had at least one brother. 


At the time of his death at age 51, he hadn’t been in regular contact with his family which was why he hadn’t been reported missing. Elaine Boyes described Ronald as a quiet, calm and caring man.


The following are some updates and my personal thoughts on this case.


In June 2004, Britain signed an agreement with the Canadian authorities to transfer Walker to prison in Canada and in February 2005, Walker was sent back to Canada. Sheena Walker wasn’t consulted when this decision was made and said that she was shocked to discover he was being transferred to a prison just a few hours drive from her home. She told CKCO-TV quote, ‘I believe he’s a dangerous individual. I am scared of him and feel very threatened by his presence here in Canada,’ end quote.


An article published in March 2005 said that Walker, who was then 59, was very sick. Unfortunately he lived at least another 10 years as it was reported that he applied for day parole in 2015. If granted he would live in a half-way house with other offenders and a parole officer. He would be allowed out but would have to sign in and out and abide by a curfew. 


A hearing was due to take place to decide if this would be granted in October 2015. Sheena and his fraud victims in Canada would have been informed of this, I can’t imagine how that felt for Sheena. 


I wasn’t able to find any more recent news on this. He would have been 75 in 2015 and may likely have died.


I personally don’t believe he should have been granted parole. 

Detective Clenehan of Devon and Cornwall police noted that Albert Walker showed no remorse for his crimes from the time he was arrested to being found guilty. This really doesn’t surprise me; Everything Albert Walker did was to benefit himself and given what he did to the people he befriended and the suffering he caused his own family, I can’t see how he considered other people’s feelings or wellbeing at all.


Albert Walker called Sheena before his trial in an attempt to stop her from testifying against him. There is the chance that he aged out of crime and wouldn’t pose any fraud-related threat but I think he would have tried to contact Sheena and her children.


A question I tried to find an answer to but couldn’t, was why Walker wasn’t charged for kidnapping Sheena.

I did a little research and at least currently Canadian criminal law states that parents or guardians can be charged under with abducting their own child even if they have custody, if the child is under 14 years old and has been taken out of the possession of, and against the will of the other parent. Sheena was 15 when Walker took her.


Another question I found myself asking throughout the creation of this episode was how didn’t the people who knew Walker and Sheena as Mr and Mrs Platt not see something was wrong with their relationship? There seemed to be a few occasions that I felt should have raised alarms but then again I don’t know if I would have picked up on anything. Albert Walker was calculated. He kept moving so they weren’t anywhere long enough for people to start to put any suspicions together. 


I think if someone told me they painted something but the signature on the painting was someone else’s name, I’d probably assume they were just trying to pass off someone else’s artwork as their own.


While living in Essex and passing himself off as a psychologist, Walker made acquaintances with a man named Paul Hibbert at the country club. Paul found Walker to be friendly and likeable but might have found it strange when Walker didn’t take him up on his offer to be introduced to some other club members in the medical field. A stronger indication that things weren’t as they seemed that I hope wouldn’t go under the radar so much today was that Sheena, who Paul believed to be Walker’s wife, seemed to seek Walker’s permission to speak. Paul explained, quote, ‘She never spoke. In fact when I spoke to her or asked her a question she always looked to him for permission to answer the question and I found that was very strange,’ end quote. 


Sheena was also not known to have any friends and the couple were described as inseparable.


I think that now, in 2021, people are more aware of abusive situations that aren’t violent and would be more likely to see things such as this as big red flags.


On 22 June 1998, which was the first day of Walker’s trial, The Independent newspaper printed an article with the headline, ‘Man ‘killed after selling identity.’ It didn’t contain much detail but said that Walker had, quote, ‘persuaded an Englishman to sell him his identity and move to Canada,’ end quote. 


On July 7 1998 The Mirror newspaper reported that Ronald’s family dismissed the suggestion that he had been involved in Walker’s scams or that he had threatened to turn Walker in or tried to blackmail him. They reported that Ronald Platt’s brother said quote, ‘There is no way Ron would be involved in anything criminal. The worst thing is that he might have been gullible,’ end quote.


I don’t think it really matters if Ronald Platt had sold his identity to Walker or been in on his scams, I doubt Platt agreed to being murdered.


When I read that during the trial Albert Walker said, ‘Ron Platt was a very nice person. I have no reason in the world to ever kill him or ever harm him, I immediately noticed the change in tense. He went from using the past; Ron Platt was a very nice person, to the present; I have no reason in the world to ever kill him or ever harm him. My first thought was, ‘well of course you have no intention to ever kill him – you already did.’


Something I’m left wondering is if Albert Walker had somehow known of Ronald Platt before he met him or Elaine and had planned his meeting with Elaine in the gallery. 


The only person who’ll ever know this is Walker himself and the only truthful thing I believe he ever said was that he deceived everyone.



Thank you for listening to Turned Up Dead. All sources used for this episode can be found at turnedupdead.com


Remember, if you listen carefully, even the words of liars will tell you the truth.