MSP Bill Walker denies assaulting first wife

Bill Walker at Edinburgh Sheriff Court Mr Walker denies 23 charges of assault and one of breach of the peace.

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An MSP has told a court he did not give an ex-wife a black eye two weeks before their wedding.

Bill Walker said he had never assaulted his first wife Maureen Traquair as he began giving evidence at his trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The Independent member for Dunfermline said her claims about his behaviour were "ridiculous" and "mad".

Mr Walker, 71, is on trial accused of attacks against three former wives and a step-daughter between 1967 and 1995.

He denies 23 charges of assault and one breach of the peace.

He is alleged to have assaulted Mrs Traquair, 66, on three occasions between 1967 and 1988.

She previously told the court she had to buy concealer for their wedding day in January 1967 to hide a black eye he had given her two weeks before.

Black eye

In the witness box, Mr Walker, who is from Alloa, denied he had punched her in the face during an argument before their marriage and said he had not assaulted her at any time.

He told the court had not been aware of his wife having a black eye at any stage during 1967.

"I certainly did not give her a black eye," he said.

Asked about Mrs Traquair's claim she had to buy concealer to disguise a bruise, he said: "The first thing I heard about this allegation was when this trial process started."

The court has heard the couple moved to Chicago in the United States after their marriage.

In her evidence Mrs Traquair said Mr Walker had initially prevented her from taking a job.

She told the court that after finding employment she had saved up her pay to buy Mr Walker a gold watch. He had reacted by throwing it away and forcing her to quit, she said.

"I'm sorry but I wouldn't do something like that," Mr Walker said.

He said Mrs Traquair's claim he had forced her to make him breakfast every morning was "ridiculous" and the suggestion that he demanded his dinner be on the table when he got home was "mad".

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