Bill Walker was found guilty of 23 charges of domestic abuse (STV)
Bill Walker was found guilty of 23 charges of domestic abuse (STV)

Disgraced former MSP Bill Walker has been sentenced to 12 months in jail for a string of domestic abuse offences against his family.

Walker, 71, was found guilty of 23 charges against his three ex-wives and stepdaughter between 1967 and 1995.

The independent MSP for Dunfermline resigned from his seat in Holyrood, blaming a "media onslaught". He was expelled from the SNP when the assault accusations were first made public.

More than half of Scotland's 129 MSPs signed a motion calling for him to step down. The by-election to fill his Dunfermline seat will be held on 24 October.

Walker, of Alloa, was also found guilty of breaching the peace.

The court heard how Walker assaulted his first wife Maureen Traquair on three occasions in the 1960s and 1980s. On one occasion he punched her in the face, leaving her with a black eye two weeks before their wedding day in 1967.

He was also convicted of assaulting his second wife Anne Gruber, 15 times between 1978 and 1984. His breach of the peace conviction was due to an incident when he brandished an air rifle at her home.

The politician was also found guilty of assaulting his third wife four times, including an incident where he slapped or punched her in the face between June 1988 and January 1995.

He was also convicted of assaulting Gruber's 16-year-old daughter by repeatedly hitting her over the head with a frying pan in 1978.

Sheriff Kathrine Mackie told Walker: "Your incredulity at being convicted of these offences and your perceived victimisation are further indications of your abdication of responsibility for your behaviour.

"You have shown what can only be described as contempt for your former wives and your stepdaughter in the derogatory manner in which you refer to them.

"I formed the opinion that you have no understanding of the impact of domestic abuse on victims or children.

"I have been unable to detect, either during the trial or in the reports, any evidence of remorse for anything or anyone except yourself."

Walker denied all the charges against him and claimed he was a victim of a "smear" campaign by his ex-wives.

Walker was elected to the Scottish parliament in 2011, after he won a surprise victory against the previous Liberal democrat candidate and finished 590 votes ahead of Labour.