Bernadette Walker trial: Jury told teenager’s dad ‘confessed to her mum during nine minute phone call after killing Bernadette’
Missing Peterborough teenager Bernadette Walker’s dad, Scott Walker, ‘confessed he had killed the 17-year-old in a nine minute phone call made to the youngster’s mum’, a jury has been told .
Scott Walker (50) is accused of murdering Bernadette on or after July 18 last year. He also faces four counts of perverting the course of justice, while her mum, Sarah (37) faces two counts of perverting the course of justice.
Bernadette was last seen alive on July 18, and her body has never been found.
Opening the trial at Cambridge Crown Court Lisa Wilding QC, prosecuting, told the jury Bernadette had told Sarah Walker that Scott Walker had been sexually abusing her for a number of years - but her mum had not believed her.
On the night of July 17, Bernadette went to stay with her paternal grandparents - but left her phone at home.
Ms Wilding QC said Bernadette was a typical teenager, and was often on her phone using social media.
The jury was told Bernadette arrived at her grandparent’s home just after 10pm, and she was upset and crying, before going to bed at about 1am.
Ms Wilding QC said that at around 3.15am Bernadette’s phone activated a cell site at the family home in Century Square - while she was asleep at another address in the city.
The following morning, Scott Walker left the home in Century Square at 10.25am.
GPS data showed he stopped off at a lock-up garage on Montagu Road in Walton.
He stayed there for a few minutes, walking around 40 steps before leaving, and arriving at the grandparent’s home at 10.49am.
While he was out, there was activity on Bernadette’s Facebook account and one of her email accounts.
Ms Wilding QC said: “She (Bernadette) was not missing at this stage, and was just waiting to be picked up. What reason could Sarah have had to be spying on email and Facebook accounts, or looking at her phone?”
Scott stayed at the grandparent’s house for around 15 minutes as he picked Bernadette up.
Ms Wilding QC said; “When Bernadette left her grandparent’s house, it was the last time she was to be seen alive by anyone save for the defendant Scott Walker.”
Having left the grandparent’s house in Dukesmead, Werrington, Ms Wilding QC said Scott Walker’s phone activated cell sites in the Gunthorpe area between 11.16am and 11.23am.
The jury were shown a map of the area, and Ms Wilding QC said: “Where ever he was, you may think that is in the opposite direction of their home.
“Why he went in that direction and what happened is known only to Scott.”
The jury were told that between 11.16am and 11.23am, Scott’s phone recorded that he had got out of the car and walked 410 steps.
Ms Wilding QC said; “What he was doing in those 410 steps, where Bernadette was and what was happening is known only to Scott.”
The jury were told that at 11.23am, Scott’s phone was disconnected from the network - and would not reconnect for an hour and a half, when it was turned on again at 12.54pm.
Ms Wilding QC said; “It is impossible to say where he was at that point.
“It is impossible to tell you where Bernadette was when she was killed.
“From that moment on, Bernadette Walker has never been seen again.”
Sarah Walker had tried to call Scott Walker while the phone was off. The first connection that was made when he turned the phone on was to call Sarah Walker, with a call that lasted nine minutes and 16 seconds.
Ms Wilding QC said; “Think about that for a minute - an almost 10 minute phone call, and how much can be said in that time.”
Ms Wilder QC told the jury Scott Walker said he and Bernadette had talked about the allegations, and she had walked out of the car, never to be seen again.
She said: “We suggest that makes no sense at all.
“The call can only be a confession telling her (Sarah) and how best to cover it up.
“We say when you look at the evidence, that is the only sensible inference, from the length and timing of the call.”
Ms Wilding QC told the jury to put themselves in the position of a parent, asking them what they would do.
She said: “As a mother, you would retrace steps, knock on doors, call the police - do anything you could to get her back.
“What Sarah did was to start a campaign of lies and deceit designed to mislead everyone about the whereabouts of Bernadette.”
The jury were told that messages were sent from Bernadette’s phone - one to a friend, which said she had ran away.
The court was also told by Ms Wilding QC that messages were sent by Sarah Walker to Bernadette’s phone - and from Bernadette’s phone to Sarah Walker’s phone.
The messages said:
Bernadette’s phone “Can you forgive me?”
Sarah Walker’s phone: “Of course I can darling, please come home.”
Bernadette’s phone: “Sorry, will I be in lots of trouble?”
Sarah Walker’s phone: “No, we can forget this happened.”
Ms Wilding QC described Sarah Walker’s actions as ‘a fraud.’
At about 2.30pm that afternoon, Scott Walker went back to the garage.
Ms Wilding QC said: “The prosecution say Bernadette Walker was already dead at that point. He may have been taking the body to the garage to be stored while they worked out what happened next.”
Scott Walker has pleaded not guilty to murder and four counts of perverting the course of justice. Sarah Walker has pleaded not guilty to two counts of perverting the course of justice. The jury was told she has pleaded guilty to two counts of perverting the course of justice.
The trial, which is expected to last for more than a month, continues.