A man who murdered his wife just hours after their wedding has been found guilty.
Dawn Walker, 52, was discovered dead in a field inside a suitcase four days after marrying Thomas Nutt on October 27, 2021.
Nutt, 45, killed Ms Walker shortly after their wedding, storing her body in a cupboard before putting it in a suitcase and dumping it in bushes behind their West Yorkshire home, according to Bradford Crown Court.
Jurors were told that Nutt, who did not testify during the trial, admitted to his wife’s manslaughter on the grounds that “he did not intend to cause her really serious harm at the time he killed her.”
Dr. Kirsten Hope, a forensic pathologist, said she received Ms Walker’s body in the black fabric wheeled suitcase in which she was discovered.
The court heard that Ms Walker’s legs were twisted, her right leg was twisted, and her body was bent over with her face towards the wheels.
However, after three hours of deliberation, a jury found him guilty of murder on Wednesday. After the verdict was read, there were applause in the courtroom.
He claimed he attacked her because she expressed a desire for a divorce and threatened to falsely accuse him of rape.
Prosecutor Alistair MacDonald QC told jurors at the start of the trial: ‘It is often said that someone’s wedding day, and the period immediately following, is one of the happiest times of their life.’
He stated that Ms Walker’s body was discovered “stuffed into a suitcase and dumped into some undergrowth in a field towards the back of this defendant’s house four days after she was married.”
Mr MacDonald told the court that Nutt called police on October 31 to report that his wife had gone missing after leaving their home in Shirley Grove, Lightcliffe, near Halifax, that morning, and that he appeared to start looking for her.
The prosecutor stated that the defendant “knew perfectly well that her body was lying dead in a cupboard at the marital home.”
Jurors were shown surveillance footage of Nutt wheeling a large suitcase out of his back door and into nearby bushes just as a police officer arrives at his front door to investigate the defendant’s missing person report.
Mr MacDonald said Nutt then turned himself in to police, telling officers he and Ms Walker had been on a two-day caravan honeymoon, staying in a Skegness layby.
According to the prosecutor, the defendant told police, ‘We came back and she has bipolar and is depressed, and she said she wanted to divorce.’
‘She put me in jail before, saying I tried to rape and assault her.’
‘She said she’d do it again.’ She started screaming, so I punched her in the face and wrapped my arm around her neck.’
Mr MacDonald stated that the prosecution’s case was that Nutt went to Skegness alone after killing his wife on their wedding night or the next day and leaving her body in the house.
According to the prosecutor, Nutt returned to carry out the ‘ghastly charade’ of telling her daughter she was missing and conducting a search.
CCTV footage showed the defendant and Ms Walker arriving at the Prince Albert pub in Brighouse for a reception following their wedding at Brighouse Register office.
According to Mr MacDonald, witnesses stated that Nutt and Ms Walker had been together for a number of years but had a “troubled” relationship.
Ms Walker, who had three daughters, was described as ‘chirpy and energetic’ by one of her neighbors, he said.
This neighbor, according to the lawyer, had seen her with a’massive’ black eye and cuts to her face in 2020.
According to the prosecutor, the defendant was sent to prison after these injuries appeared, but the couple resumed living together after he was released.
‘She (the neighbor) recalls Dawn and the defendant arguing quite frequently during this period – one minute they were in love, the next they were arguing,’ he said.
‘She had never seen the defendant physically assault Dawn, but she had heard arguing coming from the house and Dawn calling out, ‘Tommo, get off me.’
Nutt is scheduled to be sentenced on August 19.
Judge Jonathan Rose informed him that he would face life in prison, with a minimum term to be determined on that date.
‘We welcome the jury’s verdict today, and our immediate thoughts are with Dawn’s family, who have shown such bravery and strength throughout the investigation and trial,’ said Detective Inspector Amanda Wimbles of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, who led the investigation.
‘They lost Dawn in such tragic circumstances not long after her wedding, and the entire family misses her terribly. They have had to deal with the cruel and callous manner in which Thomas Nutt disposed of her body, which will haunt them forever. We hope that this guilty verdict for murder will bring at least some solace to all those who loved her.’ We are now waiting for Thomas Nutt to be sentenced for the crime he committed.’