Bernadette Walker Murder Trial: Scott Walker asks to ‘step down’ from witness stand to stop answering questions part way through giving evidence - before returning to continue answering questions later
The man accused of murdering missing teenager Bernadette Walker asked to step down from the witness stand and stop answering questions part way through giving evidence - before returning to answer questions after a short break.
Scott Walker - known to Bernadette as ‘dad’ although not her biological father - is accused of killing the 17-year-old in July last year. He denies the charge.
Today he took to the stand to continue answering questions, after starting giving his evidence last week.
Prosecutor Lisa Wilding QC was asking him about the call Bernadette’s mum, Sarah Walker, had made to police to report her missing.
But after a few minutes on the stand, Scott Walker said: “Can I request to step down?”
Both prosecutor Ms Wilding and judge Mrs Justice Maura McGowan explained the procedure about what would happen - that Ms Wilding would continue asking him questions, before his defence counsel, Elizabeth Marsh QC, would ask him more questions, and that this was the last chance he would get to tell the jury his side of the story.
Scott Walker replied: “I want to apologise and step down.” When asked what he wanted to apologise for, he said ‘for stepping down.’
The court took a short break, and after the break, Scott Walker returned to continue answering questions.
Bernadette Walker was last seen alive on July 18, when Scott Walker picked her up from her grandparents’ house in the morning. In the days previously she had made allegations that Scott Walker had sexually abused her.
Scott Walker has said that on the journey home, Bernadette had got out of the car and walked off.
While she was last seen alive on the morning of Saturday, July 18, her disappearance was not reported to police until the early hours of Tuesday, July 21, when Sarah Walker made a 101 call to police.
Before the break, Ms Wilding asked Scott Walker if he knew Sarah Walker would be making that call.
He said: “Yes, I knew Sarah was phoning the police, yes.”
He was asked if he knew the purpose of the call was to report Bernadette missing, to which he replied ‘yes.’
Ms Wilding asked if it had been discussed what would be said during the call. He said: “No.” He also said it was Sarah Walker’s decision to contact police.
Ms Wilding said: “On your account, Bernadette walked away from your car just before Saturday lunchtime. All of Saturday has gone by, all of Sunday has gone by, all of Monday has gone by and it is now 3am on Tuesday morning. Why hadn’t police been called any sooner to report a 17-year-old girl had gone missing?”
Scott Walker replied: “I don’t recall.”
He was asked: “Had you given any thought to alerting the authorities?”
He said: “No, I was leaving it all to Sarah.”
He was then asked if there had been any conversations between him and Sarah as to whether to report Bernadette missing.
He said there had been a conversation, but when asked what that conversation had been, he replied ‘I don’t recall.’
He was asked if there was a deliberate decision made not to report her missing, to which he replied ‘no.’
Ms Wilding then said: “Think hard about the conversation that you had with Sarah about whether or not to report Bernadette missing.”
Scott replied: “I’m thinking hard, and I can’t recall.”
At that point he asked to step down from the witness stand.
This morning the jury were told it is likely they will retire to consider their verdicts at some point in the middle of next week.
Scott Walker (51) of Century Square, Peterborough denies murder and four counts of perverting the course of justice.
Sarah Walker (39) of Century Square, Peterborough, denies two counts of perverting the course of justice. She has pleaded guilty to two counts of perverting the course of justice.
The trial continues.