Army payroll heist killer ‘must die in jail’

editorial image

THE sister of a Galashiels soldier shot dead by an Army colleague has demanded he is sent back to prison to die.

It has emerged Andrew Walker, 56, has been staying in a private room at Wishaw Hospital under 24 hour guard for the past 18 months after suffering a stroke.

He is serving a life sentence, with a minimum of 27 years, for murdering three Army colleagues in a botched £19,000 payroll robbery near Penicuik in 1985 which led to one of Scotland’s biggest ever manhunts.

One of the victims was Private Johnny Thomson, 25. His sister, Margaret Thomson insisted: “It is 26 years back in January since my brother was murdered. Walker should be back in prison and he should die in prison.

“I don’t see why he should get this special treatment. You can only wonder how much this is costing.”

Ms Thomson, 60, from Langlee said Walker was eligible for parole next year but claimed he should never be released.

It is understood Walker is too frail to be moved back to Shotts Prison so a private room has been organised for him at Wishaw Hospital.

A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said it would not comment on individual prisoners and NHS Lanarkshire declined to discuss Walker’s case.

Borders MSP John Lamont, also the Scottish Conservatives’ justice spokesman, told TheSouthern: “It’s only right we offer the correct medical attention to our prisoners, as a humane society demands no less.

“However, this medical attention should not be extravagant.”

Walker became one of Scotland’s most notorious killers after shooting dead Private Thomson, of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, along with retired Army Major David Cunningham, 56, who was born in Kelso, and Staff Sergeant Terence Hosker, 39, from Bradford, on January 17, 1985.

Private Thomson was making his first payroll collection run and was driving an Army Land Rover.

The trio had collected money from a Penicuik bank before setting off for Glencorse Barracks.

When their vehicle did not arrive, a full-scale search was mounted which led to the discovery of the bodies on a deserted track in the snow-covered Pentland Hills.

Walker, who was serving with the Royal Scots, had begged for a lift before killing all three dead with a sub-machine gun, the High Court in Edinburgh was later told.

Private Thomson was brought up and educated in Earlston before joining the army at the age of 17, and was a vehicle driver in Charlie Company the 1st Battalion of the KOSB.

He and his wife, Susan, had a two-year-old son, Bruce.

Walker was sentenced later that year to a minimum of 30 years in jail by judge Lord Grieve who said the murders were “callous, brutal and calculated”.

He appealed against his prison term in 2002 and it was cut by three years.