Man who murdered new wife within hours of wedding and put body in a suitcase found guilty of murder

A man who murdered his bride within hours of their wedding and stuffed her body into a suitcase has been found guilty of her murder.

The body of grandmother Dawn Walker, 52, was found in a field four days after she married Thomas Nutt on 27 October last year.

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, Bradford Crown Court was told.

Nutt did not give evidence in the trial, admitting manslaughter on the basis he "did not intend" to cause serious harm to his wife.

But on Wednesday, a jury found him guilty of murder after three hours of deliberation. There were cheers in the courtroom as the verdict was announced.

An examination of Ms Walker's body showed that she had suffered significant neck injuries which indicated there had been "a forceful application of pressure to her neck".

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Alistair MacDonald QC told jurors: "It is often said that someone's wedding day, and the period immediately following, is one of the happiest times of their life."

He said that this was not the case for the mother-of-three.

Nutt rang the police on 31 October, claiming his wife had gone missing that morning from their home and appeared to mount a search.

However, the prosecutor said he "knew perfectly well that her body was in a cupboard at the marital home" and accused Nutt of carrying out a "ghastly charade".

Nutt wheeled suitcase out the house as police arrived

The jury was shown CCTV footage of Nutt wheeling a large suitcase out the back of the house and into nearby bushes just as police officers arrived at his front door to follow up on the missing person's report.

He then handed himself into a police station, telling officers: "We came back and she has got bipolar and is depressed, said she wanted to get divorced.

"She put me in jail before, said I had tried raping and assaulting her.

"Said she was going to do it again. She started screaming and I have hit her in the face and put my arm round her neck."

However, the prosecution claimed Nutt went to Skegness alone and had in fact killed his wife on their wedding night - or the day after - and left her body in the house.

A 'troubled' relationship

Mr MacDonald said witnesses described how Nutt and Ms Walker had been together for a number of years but had a "troubled" relationship.

This neighbour, the lawyer added, had said that in 2020 she had seen her with a "massive" black eye and cuts to her face.

The prosecutor said this neighbour remembers that the defendant was sent to prison after these injuries appeared but the couple resumed living together once he was released.

One neighbour described going round to the house two months before the wedding after he "had never heard such screaming coming from a woman before".

Nutt told the neighbour she was having an asthma attack, but Ms Walker shouted: "Don't believe him, he's lying, he's trying to kill me."

Nutt will be sentenced on 19 August.

Judge Jonathan Rose told him he would face a life sentence, with a minimum term to be set on that date.