Murder trial: Jury sees CCTV of Lightcliffe's Thomas Nutt dragging away body of new wife Dawn Walker in a suitcase before dumping it in undergrowth

A jury has been shown CCTV footage of a Lightcliffe man dragging away a suitcase containing the body of his new wife just minutes before a police officer arrived at their home to discuss his false “missing person” report.

By Court Reporter
Monday, 25th July 2022, 9:16 pm
Updated Monday, 25th July 2022, 9:19 pm

Bradford Crown Court heard today (Monday) allegations that Thomas Nutt murdered Dawn Walker soon after they were married on October 27 last year, but the 42-year-old then embarked on a “ghastly charade” which included bogus text messages pretending that his wife was on honeymoon with him in Skegness and searching for the missing 52-year-old with one of Ms Walker’s daughters and her baby grandson.

Nutt, of Shirley Grove, Lightcliffe, has admitted a manslaughter charge in relation to the death of his wife, but he has denied murder on the grounds that he never intended to kill her or cause really serious harm during an attack at the couple’s home.

During his opening address to the jury, prosecutor Alistair MacDonald QC described how Nutt had been setting up a gazebo in his garden and putting out Halloween decorations, including ironically police tape, even though his wife was already dead and her body was still stored in a cupboard at the property.

Dawn Walker

The jury were shown CCTV footage from a Brighouse pub of the couple arriving for their wedding reception just four days earlier, but the prosecution allege that Nutt murdered his wife soon after and she never went with him when he took their caravan to the Skegness area.

At lunchtime on October 31, Nutt made a 999 call to police reporting his wife missing saying that she had not turned to meet her daughter and she had mental health problems and suffered from epileptic fits.

“Of course, let’s be clear about this, by now whatever the position he had killed Dawn and knew perfectly well that her body was in a cupboard at their home,” said Mr MacDonald.

He alleged that the false report and efforts to find Ms Walker were “a ghastly charade”.

About an hour after he made the 999 call, Nutt was captured on CCTV dragging the suitcase into which he had stuffed his wife’s body out of the back garden and over a fence.

About the same time, a police officer was on his way to the address to take more details from Nutt and the defendant arrived back at the house minutes later sweating profusely after dumping the suitcase and body in some undergrowth nearby.

Mr MacDonald alleged that even after the police officer left Nutt continued to try and cover up what he had done and could be seen on more CCTV footage using his foot to sweep away the tracks left by the suitcase wheels in the garden footpath.

Suspicious neighbours eventually discovered the body of Ms Walker in the dumped suitcase later that afternoon and the police were contacted.

Nutt handed himself in to police after contacting a solicitor and, when he was questioned, claimed that the couple had gone to Skegness for two days after the wedding.

He claimed that his wife was bipolar and depressed and had wanted to get divorced and she threatened to make allegations against him that he had raped and assaulted her.

Nutt said he hit her in the face and put his arm around her neck after she had started screaming.

A post mortem showed that the deceased had suffered significant neck injuries as well as deep bruising to her face and fractures to her nose and left eye socket.

It also revealed that she had suffered broken bones which the prosecution say were caused after death and in order to get her body into the suitcase.

The trial continues and is expected to last about 10 days.