BREAKING: Scott Walker may never be released from prison after murdering teenager Bernadette Walker
Scott Walker has been given a life sentence - with a minimum term of 32 years - after being found guilty of murdering Peterborough teenager Bernadette Walker.
Scott Walker - known as dad to Bernadette but not her biological father - denied killing the 17-year-old after she made allegations he had abused her.
But a jury saw through his lies, and convicted him at a trial earlier this year.
Scott Walker appeared at Cambridge Crown Court today (Friday) where he was sentenced by judge Mrs Justice Maura McGowan.
Scott Walker’s defence team said that given his age of 51, and his health, this would likely mean he would never be released from prison.
Bernadette’s mum, Sarah Walker, was jailed for 6 years after being found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice. She was described by the judge as ‘the guiding mind’ behind the plot to cover up the killing.
Bernadette’s body has never been found. Earlier this week The Peterborough Telegraph revealed that Scott Walker was refusing to speak to police to reveal what he had done with her body after killing her.
Officers went to see him in prison on August 10 to ask him for information on where the body was.
But the court heard they were just given a message from his solicitors which said: “He does not want to see as the situation is still too raw.”
Judge McGowan said this was the most serious aggravating feature in the case, as it meant Bernadette could not get the dignified burial she deserved, and her loved ones could not show their desperate sense of loss. She said it also gave friends and family a small amount of hope that Bernadette would walk back through the door.
Lisa Wilding QC, prosecuting, told the court there were three major aggravating features - the premeditation of how Scott Walker planned the murder, the gross breach of trust, and Scott Walker refusing to tell police where the body was.
Ms Wilding said it was impossible to imagine a greater breach of trust than that of one between a father and a daughter.
Judge McGowan said Bernadette’s friends had been deprived of funny and engaging companion, while her brothers and sisters had been deprived of a loving, kind and valued member of the family. She said the world had been deprived of a young woman who was growing into someone who would make a real contribution to society.
Addressing Sarah Walker, she described her actions to cover the killing as ‘a level of selfishness and self interest that is quite unbelievable.’
While saying Sarah Walker was the guiding mind behind the plan, she said both defendants were ‘willing parties’ in the cover up.
She said: “The deceit was persistent and maintained over a relatively long period of time.”
Judge McGowan said Bernadette deserved to be protected by her parents.
Along with a conviction for murder, Scott Walker (51) of Century Square, Peterborough, was also found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice.
The trial heard how in the days leading up to her disappearance, Bernadette had told her mum, Sarah Walker, that Scott Walker had abused her over a number of years.
She went to stay with her grandparents on the night of July 17, with Scott Walker going to pick her up the following morning.
After picking her up, Scott Walker’s mobile phone was switched off for an hour and half - and while the prosecution in the trial were unable to say how he killed Bernadette, they said it was most likely that he murdered her during that time period.
Judge McGowan said the only person who knew what happened in those minutes was Scott Walker - but within minutes of the killing, the plan to cover it up had begun.
Bernadette’s phone, email and social media was then hacked into by Scott and Sarah Walker, who used the accounts to give the impression to friends and family Bernadette was still alive.
Mobile phone cell site and GPS data was used by police to search locations visited by Scott Walker over the following days with searches in Cowbit and around Peterborough. The main search operation was finally called off on Christmas Eve.
Following the sentencing, An NSPCC spokesperson said: “This is a tragic case in which a young girl lost her life at the hands of someone who should have been keeping her safe from harm.
“Scott Walker’s horrific actions, along with the offences committed by Bernadette’s mum, have impacted an entire community, and we hope these sentences bring some comfort to all those who knew Bernadette.
“It is so important that we all play our part in looking out for children’s welfare. If you are concerned about a child, please call the NSPCC helpline confidentially on 0808 800 5000. If a child is in immediate danger, please call 999.”