Rolex Murder: How A Dead Man's Fancy Watch Led To His Murderer
A Rolex watch helped to solve a crime and bring Canada’s most water criminal to justice. Source: (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic/Getty Images)
Albert Johnson Walker was once Canada's most wanted criminal and near the top of Interpol's most wanted list. He was a white-collar criminal who soon found himself wearing whatever collar murderers wear, and he very nearly got away with it all. When he committed what he thought was the perfect murder, however, he forgot about one witness: the victim's fancy watch. Here's how the infamous Rolex Murder went down.
Albert Johnson Walker was from Hamilton, Ontario, and he seemed to have the perfect life. The married father of three had started a small bookkeeping business that grew into a large financial company with six branches and more than two dozen employees. It seems it wasn't enough for ol' Albert, though, because it was soon revealed that he had been bilking his clients to the tune of $3.2 million. Facing 18 counts of fraud, money laundering, and theft, Walker fled to Europe in 1990, taking his middle daughter with him.
A New Life in England
Albert Walker made his way to England and settled in the town of Harrogate under the name David Davis. He passed off his daughter, Sheena, as his wife, apparently just to make things extra-weird for no reason. (It's worth noting that in the next few years, Sheena gave birth to two children whose paternity she refuses to discuss, so "no reason" is actually the best-case scenario.) Walker lacked the necessary identification to obtain employment, so he jumped at the chance to enter into a business arrangement with a fellow Canadian living in England who he had recently met. His name was Ronald Joseph Platt, and he worked as a television repairman. Walker used the money he embezzled to start a TV repair business with Platt.
A Stolen Identity
Ronald Platt often spoke to Walker about his beloved Canada and expressed a desire to return to his home country. Sensing an opportunity, Walker generously offered to pay for a one-way ticket so Platt could move back to Canada---on the condition that he leave his driver's license, birth certificate, and a stamp of his signature back in England with Walker so he could "continue their business." Platt was either very trusting or very naïve because he accepted Walker's proposal. Once Platt was back in Canada in 1992, Walker used his birth certificate and driver's license to steal his identity.
Everything went exactly as planned until 1995 when Ronald Platt returned to England from Canada. Two Ronald Platts created a problem for Walker, and he could think of only one solution. On July 20, 1996, he invited his former business partner to join him on a fishing trip. Out on the sea, with no one around, Walker knocked Platt unconscious, then tied an anchor to his body and dumped him into the sea. He then returned home to resume Ronald Platt's life.
Walker thought that he had gotten away with the perfect crime, and for a minute, it looked like he would get away with it. By the time Platt's body was found by fishermen two weeks later, it was badly decomposed, and any identification he might have had on him was safely in the possession of the other Ronald Platt. What he did have on him, however, was a watch. Not just any watch, either---a costly Rolex timepiece.
The Rolex Connection
A high-end watch company with a commitment to quality and customer service, Rolex keeps meticulous records of the sales and servicing of their timepieces, and they build them to last. Even after being submerged in seawater for two weeks, Platt's watch could still give up its secrets. Its serial number told police that the owner was Ronald Joseph Platt, but that was just the beginning of the information to be gleaned from the watch. Rolex watches include the date, as well as the time, on their faces, and their batteries last about two days when they are inactive. Using the date on the watch and calculating the length of time it was inactive, police established the time of the murder practically down to the second.
Walker is Arrested
Police soon found records showing that Ronald Platt was still living in England, which they found rather curious since he wasn't living at all. Albert Johnson Walker was quickly apprehended, delighting Interpol and the Canadian government as well, but their party was soon pooped. Since the murder was committed in England, Walker was tried there for the crime and sentenced to life in prison, saving him from being extradited back to Canada to face his fraud and theft charges. That is, after all, what Walker had murdered Platt to avoid, so it's hard to say he didn't succeed. He would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for his partner's impeccable taste.
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