Bernadette Walker murder trial: Teenager’s dad ‘didn’t know’ where Bernadette got out of car, jury told
The dad accused of murdering missing teenager Berndadette Walker did not know where she got out of the car the last time he said he saw her alive, a jury has been told
Scott Walker is accused of murdering 17-year-old Bernadette Walker in July last year.
He denies the charge, and says that when he last saw the youngster alive, he had picked her up from her grandparent’s house on the morning of July 18.
She had stayed at her grandparents’ after telling her mum, Sarah Walker, that Scott Walker - who is not Bernadette’s biological father, but described as ‘dad’ by Bernadette - had sexually abused her over a number of years.
The jury at a Cambridge Crown Court trial has heard that Sarah Walker (37) said she did not believe Bernadette - so Bernadette went to stay with her grandparents.
Lisa Wilding QC, prosecuting, said that Scott Walker was spoken to by police on September 8 about Bernadette’s disappearance.
Ms Wilding said: “He said he had picked Bernadette up, and made his way home. He wanted to go to McDonalds, but she didn’t want to.
“He wanted to confront Bernadette over the allegations, so he pulled over to a grass verge to roll a cigarette.
“He said he asked her why she had made the allegations. She said she did not want to talk about it - she got out of the car and walked down an alley.
“He said he tried to follow her.
“He said to police he could not remember the exact location as he had a lot on his mind.
“He drew a map, but said he would not be able to locate the area.”
Ms Wilding said he showed no emotion about Bernadette - but had been emotional about losing Sarah Walker to her new boyfriend.
On September 11, the investigation into Bernadette’s disappearance was changed to becoming a murder inquiry.
Scott was arrested on suspicion of murder, and he made no comment to all questions.
Officers later went to search a lock up on Montagu Road in Peterborough, where Scott and Sarah Walker had been in the days after Bernadette was last seen alive.
In the lock up they found Bernadette’s rucksack.
Ms Wilding said: “The contents were examined, and they tell their own tale.
There were sanitary towels, a book for her overnight stay, spare clothes, headphones, make-up, a watch, a facemask and a notebook.
A note written by Bernadette was found in the notebook.
Ms Wilding said it read: “Told my mum about dad and the abuse. She called me a liar and threatened to kill me if I told police.”
The note continued: “What kind of parent wouldn’t believe their daughter. Its fine, I’m going to pretend it is all OK until I leave home, then I will block them out of my life.”
“If I was brave enough I probably would have already left or killed myself.”
Ms Wilding said: “It is a sad post script of the last thoughts of Bernadette Walker.”
Ms Wilding said since the case was designated a murder investigation, officers had carried out checks to see if there was any evidence Bernadette was still alive.
Officers contacted Bernadette’s GP surgery, dentist, opticians, mental health crisis teams, hospitals - at Peterborough, Hinchingbrooke, Stamford and King’s Lynn, Peterborough Regional College, where Bernadette was a student, the benefits agency, Pay Pal, the Boarders Agency, the YMCA and other homeless shelters, and they looked at phone use, social media applications and emails.
Ms Wilding said there was no contact with any of them.
She said: “She has not been seen or heard of since she left her grandparents’ home on July 18.
“Her body has not been found despite extensive searches.”
Summing up the end of her opening, Ms Wilding said: “The Crown say they (Scott and Sarah Walker) were in this together.”
DC Jacqui Quinn, the officer in the case from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Investigations Unit, gave evidence, explaining to jurors what information was available from mobile phones - both when officers had the handset, and when they did not.
She said Bernadette’s phone was disconnected from the network on the morning of July 20 last year, and had not been reconnected since, The handset has not been recovered.
She agreed she was unable to say when, where and by whom the handset was discarded.
Messages between one of Bernadette’s friends, who she initially spoke to about the allegations Scott Walker had abused her, and between Bernadette and Sarah Walker as she told her about the allegations were also read out to the jury.
The jury has, as planned, now been reduced from 14 members to 12.
Scott Walker (50) of Century Square, Peterborough denies murder and four counts of perverting the course of justice.
Sarah Walker (37) 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.