Former policeman jailed for murdering pregnant partner has conviction overturned

Ex-Avon and Somerset officer Gary Walker was jailed in 2004 for allegedly murdering mother-of-three Audra Bancroft after finding out she had run-up £4000 debt

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A former policeman who spent 17 years in prison over the death of his pregnant partner has seen his murder conviction overturned.

Ex-Avon and Somerset Police officer Gary Walker was jailed in 2004 for allegedly murdering mother-of-three Audra Bancroft, 36, in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, shortly after finding out she had run up a £4,000 debt on a credit card.

It was alleged Mr Walker attacked Ms Bancroft on Regents Park Road in Branston and at their home on Shipley Close.

But on December 10 last year, the Court of Appeal accepted Mr Walker’s appeal against the conviction and ordered a re-trial.

On the first day of the re-trial at Warwick Crown Court this year, defence QC David Emanuel told jurors that Mr Walker, now 57, had not assaulted his partner and any “force he used was in self-defence” after she “went for him with a potato peeler”.

On December 7, the judge ruled that Mr Walker had no case to answer because there was insufficient evidence of causation for the case to be left to a jury.

Prosecutor Rachel Brand QC appealed the ruling, but the Court of Appeal rejected this on December 17.

The judgment from the Court of Appeal was embargoed until Tuesday to allow the trial judge time to discharge the jury.