Bernadette Walker murder trial: Detective ‘pleased’ to get justice for Bernadette
A detective who investigated the murder of Peterborough teenager Bernadette Walker has said she is ‘pleased’ to get justice for Bernadette.
Today Scott Walker - known to Bernadette as ‘dad’ but not her biological father - was found guilty of the 17-year-old’s murder.
Bernadette was last seen on July 18 last year when Scott Walker picked her up from her grandparent’s home. In the days running up to July 18, she had made allegations Scott Walker had sexually abused her.
Her body has never been found.
Scott Walker was also found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice today by a jury at Cambridge Crown Court.
Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, from the Beds, Cambs and Herts Major Crime Unit, said: “I am pleased we have been able to get justice for Bea after what has been such tragic circumstances. I just hope now we may get the answers we need to be able to find her and lay her to rest. If anyone has any information about this investigation which may help us find Bea, please get in touch.
“We may never know the truth about what Scott did and why, but we do know Bea had made allegations of abuse against him.
“My plea to anyone who may have been subjected to abuse is to speak to us. Bea thought she could confide in her own mother, who should have been able to protect her, but instead she met a tragic end.”
During the six-week trial, the jury heard Bea’s mother had not reported her missing to police until 21 July.
Scott claimed he had stopped the car on their way back from his parents’ home to speak about the allegations Bernadette had made, but she had got out and ran off in Skaters Way, leaving her rucksack behind.
However, police discovered that instead of going straight to collect her that morning, Scott had gone to a lock-up garage owned by his parents in Walton. And it was not the only time he visited this location in the days after Bea was reported missing.
Having disconnected from the network for an hour-and-a-half after Scott picked Bea up, once it reconnected the first call he made was to Sarah, lasting nine minutes.
In the following 48 hours, both Scott and Sarah made multiple trips to the lock-up as well as to Cowbit, a rural area of Lincolnshire, in the dead of night.
Passwords on Bea’s social media accounts were changed and messages sent to friends and family to make it look as though Bea had simply run away from home.
The allegations Bea had made about being sexually abused by her father were passed to police via a social worker on 22 July.
On 10 September, Scott was arrested for this and allegedly coercively controlling Sarah. The following day, the investigation became a murder enquiry.
Bea’s rucksack was found in the Walton lock-up and a diary found inside. An extract read, “Told my mum about my dad and the abuse. She called me a liar and threatened to kill me if I told the police. What kind of parent wouldn’t believe their daughter?”
DI Jenkins said they still hoped to answer where Bernadette’s body was.
She said; “We know Bea was without her mobile phone when she left the family home on 17 July.
“Despite this, a number of messages via text and social media were sent from Bea’s phone, by both Scott and Sarah, to make it look as though she was still alive and not wanting to go home. This would then explain their failure to report her missing for several days.
“After three days of Bea having been ‘missing’, Sarah contacted us via webchat to ask for advice and eventually called 101 to make a formal missing person report. It was clear nothing had been done to make sure Bea was safe, just a very long line of lies and deceit which grew by the day.”
Information about the support available for those who have suffered sexual abuse, along with how to report information, can be found on the force website at https://bit.ly/2Vx8DbH.
Information about the investigation can be passed on to police either online at https://bit.ly/3BgFvWL or by calling 101.