When it comes to being the “nicest people in the world” the residents of Canada often rank fairly highly. A 2019 article on the popular blogging platform Medium, stated that 66% of Canadians – according to a survey put forth by The Canada Project – believe themselves to be as nice as the rest of the planet thinks they are. It is largely for this reason that so many people were stunned when in 1996, a Canadian con man by the name of Albert Johnson Walker committed a brutal murder; a crime that was eventually solved largely because of the serial number and power reserve on the victim’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual.
The Murderer: Albert Johnson Walker
Born in 1946 in Paris, Ontario, Albert Johnson Walker dropped out of high school before eventually – after a series of unsuccessful jobs – opened his own financial services and bookkeeping firm. Walker took the skills he acquired as a bank teller working for a trust company (but also through filing income tax returns for clients of said company) and decided to go out on his own. Within a decade, Walker Financial Services Incorporated had opened six locations in total and proved to be a fairly successful firm. At least, from an outsider’s perspective. But in 1986, the collapse of a stock deal (in which Walker had invested) changed everything. Over the next several years, Walker had conned a large amount of his clients to the tune of over three-million dollars, leading him to leave the country with one of his daughters in 1990. The Canadian government eventually found out about the money laundering and fraudulent activities and charged Walker officially, but Walker had since moved to England where he changed his name to David Sibindi and forced his daughter Sheena to pose as his wife as to be less conspicuous. It was in this new life and new town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire that Albert Johnson Walker met the man with the Rolex watch.
The Victim: Ronald Joseph Platt
Walker (aka Sibindi) had another alias – David Davis – which is the name he allegedly used when he met and eventually started a business with a television repairman by the name of Ronald Joseph Platt. As the story has been told, Platt, who was also originally from Canada, often waxed poetic to Walker about going back to his home country. The cunning Walker sensed an opportunity and, using the money he stole from his Canadian clients, offered to pay for Platt’s return to his homeland on one condition: Platt needed to leave his driver’s license, birth certificate, and a copy of his signature so that Walker could “continue the business.” Platt was sold on the idea put forth by his business partner and trusted friend and moved back to Canada in 1992.
The Crime: A Stolen Identity and a Reliable Wristwatch
Walker (aka Sibindi/aka Davis), though still on the run from both the Canadian government and Interpol, now had what he deemed could be the perfect “disguise” in Ronald Platt. He used Platt’s information to become him, stealing his identity and living the next three years as his once business partner while the televisions he vowed to fix in Platt’s name were not getting repaired.
But the money bankrolled to Platt by Walker eventually ran out in Canada, and in 1995, Ronald Platt decided to move back to England, which made life tricky for Walker, because now, there were two Ronald Platts. And two Ronald Platts could eventually lead to trouble for the con artist.
Walker waited several months until he felt the situation was growing uncomfortable, which is when – on July 20th, 1996 – Walker invited Platt to head out to the English Channel with him on a fishing trip on the company’s boat, The Lady Jane. It was on this journey that Walker killed Platt before tying an anchor to his waist and dumping his body overboard. Again, Albert Johnson Walker believed he was in the clear, but unfortunately, time was not exactly on his side.
Two weeks after the murder, a fisherman by the name of John Copik discovered the body of Ronald Platt, and while the body had started decomposing, making it unrecognizable, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual that Platt was wearing at the time of his murder was still affixed to the wrist of the corpse. Luckily, because Rolex keeps records of the watches they sell and when those watches are serviced, the police had themselves a solid bit of evidence. The serial number was easy to read, allowing police to track the ownership to a one Ronald Joseph Platt. But not only was the serial number a lead in the case, the police were also able to determine the date of the murder within roughly a day or two. And it did not take long after that for the police to track down a very living Ronald Joseph Platt, who they quickly determined was actually one of Interpol’s most wanted criminals: Albert Johnson Walker.
Walker is still serving a life sentence today. And although he was allowed to return to Canada in 2005 to serve out his life sentence, he was denied parole in July of this year.
Moral of the story: never, ever bet against Rolex.
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