Bernadette Walker murder trial: Teenager’s social media and email accounts accessed from home after she was last seen alive, jury told

Bernadette Walker’s social media and email accounts were accessed - with some passwords changed - from her home after she was last seen alive, a court has heard.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 3:42 pm
Undated handout photo issued by Cambridgeshire Constabulary of Bernadette Walker.
Undated handout photo issued by Cambridgeshire Constabulary of Bernadette Walker.

The 17-year-old was last seen leaving her grandparent’s home in Dukesmead, Werrington on the morning of July 18.

A trial at Cambridge Crown Court has heard Bernadette, of Century Square, is presumed dead.

Her dad, Scott Walker, is charged with murder.

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The trial has heard Bernadette had gone to stay with her grandparents after telling her mum, Sarah Walker, that Scott Walker (who is not Bernadette’s biological father) had been sexually abusing her.

Mobile phone data taken from Scott and Sarah Walker’s handsets - and cell site data from Bernadette’s phone, showed where each phone was during July 18, the court was told.

Bernadette’s phone has never been recovered, but police have seized Scott and Sarah Walker’s phones.

The jury has been told that Bernadette’s phone remained at her home in Century Square overnight, while she went to her grandparents.

Lisa Wilding QC, prosecuting, told the court Scott Walker left the family home at Century Square at 10.25am on July 18 to go and pick Bernadette up.

Data from Scott’s phone showed he stopped at a lock up garage in Montagu Road at 10.33am, before leaving the garage at 10.40am.

While Scott Walker was heading to pick Bernadette up, there was activity on the internet at Century Square, as someone was logging onto Bernadette’s Gmail email account.

There was also activity recorded at Century Square on Bernadette’s Facebook account at 10.48am.

Scott Walker’s phone was in the vicinity of Bernadette’s grandparents - Scott Walker’s parents - from 10.49am until 11.06am. Cell sites were able to place his phone travelling through Werrington, and into Gunthorpe and the Dogsthorpe area.

However, at 11.23am, Scott’s phone disconnects from the network - and does not re-connect until 12.54pm, when he is in the Gunthorpe area of the city.

Bernadette’s phone remained at Century Square.

During the time Scott Walker’s phone was switched off, Sarah Walker tried to call him - and also Scott Walker’s parents - but was unable to get an answer.

Cell site data shows that when Scott Walker’s phone was re-connected, he travelled from Gunthorpe, to Werrington, ending at the Esso garage/McDonalds at 1.23pm.

During that time - between 12.54pm and 1.04pm - he called Sarah Walker, with the call lasting for nine mine minutes and 16 seconds.

In opening the case earlier this week, Ms Wilding said it was the prosecution’s case that during this phone call, Scott Walker told Sarah Walker he had killed Bernadette.

Ten seconds after the call ended, Sarah Walker messaged her boyfriend, Christopher O’Connell, telling him Bernadette had ‘run off.’

Half a minute after that, there was a log into Bernadette’s Gmail account at Century Square.

Ms Wilding said that analysis of Sarah Walker’s Google account showed that Bernadette’s Gmail password was changed to a new password, with the name ‘Chris’ in it.

At 1.07pm, Sarah Walker’s Google searched for a log in for a Hotmail account, and at 1.14pm, there was activity on an Instagram account belonging to Bernadette.

During the same period, Mr O’Connell messaged Sarah Walker saying it would be OK as Bernadette had her phone.

The court was told Sarah Walker messaged back saying Bernadette didn’t have her phone, and her bag was in the car.

At 1.24pm there was more activity on Bernadette’s Instagram account, as a message was sent to a friend saying ‘Hi, it’s me, I ran away. I don’t want to be in trouble for lying.”

Then there was a conversation from Bernadette’s phone to Sarah’s phone - with cell sites placing both phones at Century Square.

The conversation said:
Bernadette’s phone: Can you forgive me?

Sarah Walker’s phone: Of course I can darling. Please come home.

Bernadette’s phone: Will I be in lots of trouble?

Sarah Walker’s phone: No, we can forget this happened.

Bernadette’s phone: Really?

Sarah Walker’s phone: We need to talk about it,

The message from Bernadette’s phone replied she was going to stay at a friend’s home, with a reply from Sarah Walker’s phone asking her to come home, and saying ‘I just want a cuddle.’
At 1.49pm, there was a password change on Bernadette’s Hotmail account -again using  the same password with ‘Chris’ included.An email from Microsoft confirming the password change said the change had been validated using Sarah Walker’s mobile phone number.

Just before 2pm, Sarah Walker phoned Scott Walker, with a call lasting for three minutes and 49 seconds, before the call ends - but restarts seven seconds later, lasting a further 12 minutes and 35 seconds.

During that call, Bernadette’s phone was disconnected from the network.

At 2.30pm Scott Walker’s phone is located again at the lock up for 10 minutes. Sarah Walker makes a video call to her mum during that time, and Scott makes a number of attempts to call her (Sarah).

He returns home at 2.50pm - and the phone remains there until 6.15pm.

At 6.16pm, Scott and Sarah’s phones both leave Century Square, and Bernadette’s phone re-connects to the network, and goes with them, with the journey taking them through Westwood.

A call is made to Bernadette’s phone from Scott Walker’s phone at about 6.30pm.

At 6,28pm, a purchase is made at the Spa in Hampton Court, Westwood using Sarah Walker’s account - with a phone top up voucher, Sim Card and milk being bought. The top up is then used on Bernadette’s phone.

Shortly afterwards, Scott Walker called Bernadette’s phone - with the call left open for 33 seconds.

Then, at 6.54pm, Bernadette’s phone was disconnected from the network, and Scott and Sarah Walker leave the area of the shop.

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.