Gary Walker was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering his pregnant partner, Audra Bancroft. It was alleged that he strangled Ms Bancroft after finding out she had run up £4,000 of debt on a credit card. Witnesses had seen him pulling her along the street when he returned from work, and the prosecution claimed that he continued to assault her when they returned home. The prosecution also alleged that he “staged calls” to her phone to make it appear as if they weren’t together at the time of the alleged offence. Mr Walker called paramedics to their address. When they arrived she had bruising to her face, a lump on her forehead, and injury to her lip. Her condition later deteriorated – she went into cardiac arrest and then died in hospital.
Mr Walker claimed he had not assaulted her and any injuries she had were due to force he used in self defence after she attacked him.
New evidence presented at a retrial showed that Ms Bancroft died of positional asphyxia as a result of a paramedic moving her from the recovery position to her back and propping her head up for a long period. The judge at the retrial found that no jury could be sure that any harm caused by Mr Walker was a substantial and operating cause of Ms Bancroft’s death, and so delivered a verdict of no case to answer.
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- Offence: Murder
- Jurisdiction: England & Wales
- County: Staffordshire
- Ethnicity: White
- Gender: M
- Years in prison: 17
- Offence convicted of: Murder
- Year of crime: 2003
- Year of initial conviction: 2004
- Year conviction was overturned: 2021
- Age when imprisoned: 40
- Age when released: 57
- CCRC Referral: Y
- Post Office Case: N
- Type of fresh evidence at appeal: Evidence relating to cause of death
- Crown argued case at CofA: Y
- Retrial: Y