Bernadette Walker murder trial: Tearful accused dad suggests abuse allegations made to get him ‘out of house’
A father accused of the murder of his teenage daughter has said he considered the possibility she devised a “plan” to disappear to get him “out of the house”, a court has heard.
Bernadette Walker was last seen alive on July 18 last year when Scott Walker, who she called her father but was not her biological father, collected her from her grandparents’ house in Peterborough, Cambridge Crown Court heard.
The 17-year-old had claimed that 51-year-old Scott Walker had sexually abused her “over a number of years”, and prosecutors allege he killed her to “prevent her pursuing her allegations of sexual abuse any further”.
Her body has not been found despite police searches.
On Tuesday the court heard from Scott Walker, who was being questioned by Lisa Wilding QC, prosecuting.
He is accused of forming an “alliance” with Bernadette’s 38-year-old mother Sarah Walker to mislead investigators, by claiming she ran away.
Scott Walker was tearful as he described being “confused” when Bernadette went missing about “what was going on”.
He told the court: “I didn’t know whether there was a plan behind all of this and why Bea would be missing and why these allegations were made.
“Was this all to get me out of the house?”
However, he told the court this was not discussed with Ms Walker because he did not want to “rock the boat”.
Asked about the allegations made against him by his daughter, Walker said he knew they were “untrue” and suggested he had conflicting emotions about her disappearance.
“It was a little bit 50-50 because when someone’s made allegations against you and then gone off and at the same time you’re concerned for your daughter it’s a bit 50-50, as in my concerns at the time,” he told the court.
He said that Sarah Walker also feared the involvement of social services over the allegations against him.
Scott Walker said: “Sarah explained to me that with Bernadette going missing and these allegations made that it could cause problems for me.”
Walker was also asked why he downloaded an advice form from Childline at 10.20am on July 20 on children leaving home before speaking with police.
He replied: “I simply wanted to get the information to show Sarah of the sort of rules and regulations and what the police can do to help.
“It’s like getting information before we have to phone police to say we understand what to do.”
Asked why the police were not contacted before this point, Walker said: “It was a case of, ‘give it a couple of days and she’ll turn up and the police won’t have to be involved, therefore there’s no social services involved’.
“There’s a pattern of giving it that bit of time because we’ll get things all sorted out.”
Walker told the court that he “wouldn’t have thought Bernadette was unsafe”.
Ms Wilding also went on to read WhatsApp messages sent to Sarah Walker, in which Scott Walker said: “I’m just feeling a bit out of this and that I’m not missing her either”.
Asked what this meant, he replied: “Because of Sarah doing all the messages and bits and pieces and asking Bernadette’s friends, if they’ve seen her or anything like that.
“I felt like I wasn’t doing my bit, and I felt a bit left out and I wasn’t doing enough.”
Scott Walker denies Bernadette’s murder on or after July 18 last year.
He denies four counts of perverting the course of justice and Sarah Walker denies two counts of perverting the course of justice.
The trial continues.