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Ex-soldier Gary Walker appears in court over wife Natalie's death

Gary Walker
Gary Walker

by Paul Hooper

A former soldier from Broadstairs claimed he was suffering from paranoia when he stabbed to death his wife, a court has heard.

Gary Walker believed the Taliban were after him and had hacked into his Facebook account and bugged his Xbox, mobile phone and computer.

The 42-year-old began suspecting his wife Natalie, a special needs teacher, of having an affair and later wrote the words "Sky 118" in blood on the wall of their home.

Canterbury Crown Court heard how in March last year Walker – who had problems with alcoholism and drugs – stabbed his wife to death in front of one of their children, aged three.

The child later spoke to a police officer who asked her if she had seen "her daddy".

The youngster answered: "Yes, he was being nasty to mum."

The officer then asked: "And what was he saying to mum?"

The youngster replied: "He stabbed her... and then he scared me."

The officer: "And what did you see?"

The child: "Dad stab mum."

a loving, devoted mother and wife

despite being bullied and attacked by her increasingly unstable husband, she stayed loyal - and paid for that loyalty with her life.

friends and family described the 34-year-old as "a nice person, not in the least bit bitchy and too loving of gary."

others said: "[she was] the most bubbly woman you could find, a lovely woman. her problem was devoting her life to him."

friends added: "she took a lot of punishment from gary but never gave it back. natalie was the most beautiful person, so happy, so bubbly and always out in the sun."

her mother would later say that natalie was "not only my daughter but my friend".

natalie had been a bright and popular pupil at school and began work as a secretary.

prosecutor oliver saxby said: "she realised that wasn't for her and followed her mother into special needs teaching, gaining work at the forelands school."

Walker, of Grant Close, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was ordered to be detained for the protection of the public.

He was told he would have to serve at least five years before being considered for parole and may never be released.

Prosecutor Oliver Saxby told how, after the brutal stabbing, friends found he had written his thoughts on a calendar, saying he was "rotten to the core" and "a danger to you all".

Walker's estranged wife Natalie, 34, who he had beaten up on previous occasions, had left him because of his increasingly delusional behaviour.

Natalie's sister Michelle Elks told police: "I still recall the family, including myself, telling Natalie that he was going to end up killing her after the last assault."

Walker, who was nicknamed "Crisp" in the army, thought an advert for crisps in the local paper was a covert warning to him.

Mrs Walker was so frightened that she left Gary and moved in with her mother in St Peter's but in February last year, she returned to Grant Close to collect her clothes.

Mr Saxby said: "She discovered that he had caused a certain amount of damage and had written something about 'Sky 118' on the wall, apparently in blood."

In March, Mrs Walker and the children visited him and two of the youngsters, aged seven and 12, went outside to play football.

Mr Saxby told how Walker was making sandwiches when he started to accuse Natalie of having an affair.

She retorted that he had "lost the plot".

Walker accused her of being a liar, grabbed a kitchen knife and then stabbed her repeatedly.

The 12-year-old said later: "All I saw was mum coming out screaming and telling us to run. Mum was bleeding. I saw a blade that dad was holding and he shut the door. I stopped and helped to get her to the end of the road.

"I was, like, holding her up. We got to the end of the road but she didn't get a chance to say anything.

"She just fell unconscious. I said: 'Mum can you hear me?' but she wouldn't answer."

Natalie was taken to the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, Margate, after being stabbed in the left shoulder and lungs. She later died of her wounds.

Walker, who drank heavily and used drugs, was later taken to a psychiatric unit in Dartford where a consultant psychiatrist said he was "experiencing mental health difficulties, probably paranoid psychosis".

Mark Summers, defending, said that during his years with the Paras, serving in Northern Ireland, he claimed he witnessed disturbing events, although others did not agree, the court heard.

Judge Adele Williams told him: "You are a dangerous, violent man in my judgement. The loss of Natalie to her family is incalculable and the accounts of their anguish, grief and despair felt by them is most moving and heart-wrenching."

She said that Walker's psychosis had been caused and made worse by his abuse of amphetamine and alcohol.

The judge also called for an inquiry into an an incident in February when Walker slashed his wrists and told nurses he thought people were after him but was not admitted to a mental health ward.

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