Bernadette Walker Murder Trial: Teenager’s friend suspected messages from Bernadette’s phone were from her mum
A friend of missing teenager Bernadette Walker has told a court he suspected messages he received from Bernadette’s phone were from her mum, and not from his friend.
Warren Naylor had met Bernadette online, and talked on a regular basis to the 17-year-old.
Bernadette had confided in Warren, telling him of allegations she had been abused by Scott Walker - known to Bernadette as ‘dad’ but not her biological father - over a seven year period. She revealed the allegations to her mum in the days before she was last seen.
Scott Walker is charged with murder and perverting the course of justice while Bernadette’s mum, Sarah Walker, is charged with perverting the course of justice.
Bernadette was last seen alive on July 18 when Scott Walker picked her up from her grandparents home.
Mr Naylor had offered support to Bernadette when she initially told him of the alleged abuse, and he had encouraged her to tell her mum about it - something she later did.
On July 19, Mr Naylor received messages from Sarah Walker on Bernadette’s Instagram account, where she told him Bernadette had lied about the allegations.
Mr Naylor said: “I was really confused as this was unexpected.”
Following the messages from Sarah Walker, Mr Naylor said he tried to phone Bernadette, but received no answer.
He said; “She had told me something serious and I hadn’t heard from her so I was worried and confused about what her mum said.”
He said he made a number of attempts to call her, but it went to call forward each time.
Mr Naylor said he later sent Sarah Walker a message on Facebook.
In the message he said he had believed Bernadette (about the allegations), and apologising to Sarah, saying after being told by Sarah Walker that Bernadette had lied, he believed the trust had been broken with his friend.
He told the jury: “in my experience, a parent is who I should believe. When Sarah messaged me I was confused because I wanted to believe Bernadette, but what an adult was telling me was something different.”
After Warren’s apology to Sarah Walker, she messaged him back, saying: “Thank’s for messaging me. I really advise you block her (Bernadette). You don’t need that drama.”
Mr Naylor was asked if it had crossed his mind to block her. He said: “No, I just wanted to talk to her.”
Another message was sent by Sarah Walker, which said Bernadette had been taken to her grandparents, in the hope that ‘she’d own up to them.’ In the message Sarah Walker also said that if she believed the allegations against Scott Walker were true ‘for one minute, he would not be here.’
On July 20, at 12.55am, Mr Naylor received a text message from Bernadette’s phone which said: “Please leave me alone.”
The court was told this was the first direct contact from Bernadette’s phone to Warren since July 15, when she had confided in Warren about the allegations.
He said that while initially he thought the messages could have been from Bernadette, he later came to think they were not from Bernadette, but from her mum instead.
Mr Naylor replied to the message: “Bernie, please go home.”
A reply came from Bernadette’s phone which said: “Everyone hates me now.”
Mr Naylor replied: “I don’t. Your mum doesn’t.”
The reply from Bernadette’s phone was; “You should.”
Mr Naylor again sent a message urging ‘Bernadette’ to go home.
A reply came back saying that she was Ok, but would not say who she was with.
A further reply from Bernadette’s phone said; “Stop messaging people about me, or I’ll throw my phone.”
When asked about the messages, Mr Naylor said he was ‘shocked’ by them. He said: “She’d never spoken to me like that before.”
Another message he received during the conversation said: “People asking me bare questions.” The court was told the message meant ‘people keep asking me lots of questions.’
Mr Naylor said: “She had never spoken like that before,” saying Bernadette had never used that phrase before in their conversations.
When asked about how he felt about the messages he said: “It was really off . It didn’t feel right.”
He said he noticed the messages started with a double spacing - something Sarah Walker had used, but Bernadette had not.
He added: “The more I thought about it, the more I knew (it wasn’t her.)”
The court heard that he did not hear from Bernadette again, despite calling her phone every day for a while.
The trial is not scheduled to sit today (Friday).
Scott Walker (51) of Century Square, Peterborough denies murder and four counts of perverting the course of justice.
Sarah Walker (38) 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.