This true crime story is a very very recent one. In fact a verdict has only been given today (26th July 2021) after a 7 week trial. Due to this, I am very much aware of the rawness that will still be attached to the case and the court proceedings, for all sides. As always, I will report the case with the respect I myself would hope for if I ever found myself in such a situation.
I also ask you, the readers, to keep in mind that information from the trial is still being released so you will likely be left with questions and gaps in the story which I will update as and when more information becomes available. Although the trial has ended and a verdict has been given, sentencing will be carried out at a later date (September 10th 2021) so this is still very much ongoing. In fact, the search for Bernadette is still happening with police, family and friends as well has members of the public still actively involved.
Photography student, Bernadette Walker, 17, known to friends and family as ‘Bee’, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK, has been missing since Saturday 18th July 2020, just over a year ago at the time of writing. She was last seen alive by her stepfather Scott Walker, 51, who today – 26th July 2021, was found guilty of her murder, at Cambridge Crown Court, UK, despite her body not being found.
Bernadette’s mother, (Scott Walker’s ex girlfriend) Sarah Walker, 38, was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice, with knowledge of Bernadette’s death.
In earlier reports made before the trial, on July 16th 2020, Bernadette confided in her mother, Sarah, that Scott (who she called ‘Dad’) had been sexually abusing her. The mother and daughter allegedly stayed up throughout the night talking about the abuse but Sarah made it clear to her daughter that she did not believe the allegations. So much so that the following day it was suggested that Bernadette leave and stay the night at her Grandparents (Scott’s Parent’s) house in Werrington, Peterborough.
“I just didn’t believe that he could do that. I know that he’s abused me. I didn’t think he could do that to his own children.”Sarah Walker / Trial excerpt / www.bbc.co.uk
Bernadette also confided in her Grandparents (Scott’s father and step-mother) about being upset that her mother didn’t believe her but kept them in the dark regarding what she was referring to.
“Bee was very upset. She was crying. She said that she wanted her mum to believe her. I asked Bee what the allegations were, but she couldn’t tell me as I was a grandparent. Eventually we just changed the subject because it seemed like she wasn’t going to say anything else.”Julie Walker (Grandparent / Scott’s stepmother)
The following morning, Saturday July 18th 2020, Scott arrived to collect Bernadette and bring her back to the family home in Century Square, Millfield, Peterborough.
Except Bernadette never made it home and she hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
According to Scott, on the way home he had stopped the car and confronted Bernadette about the accusations of sexual abuse she had made against him. Not wanting to discuss it with him he claimed she got out of the car and ran away in the direction of Skaters Way, Peterborough, leaving her personal belongings such as her Rucksack in the car.
When informing police of the area in which Bernadette had got out of the car and run off, Scott claimed he was unaware of the exact area as he had a lot on his mind that day – but he was willing to draw a map of the rough location.
It would take a further three days before Sarah would seek advice regarding her missing daughter via a police webchat after which she called the 101 non-emergency number to officially report Bernadette as missing.
“After three days of Bea having been ‘missing’, Sarah contacted us via webchat to ask for advice and eventually called 101 to make a formal missing person report.”DI Jenkins / www.cambs.police.uk
However, as police began to look further into the disappearance of Bernadette Walker, they began to uncover a whole different reality to the one being spun by her parents.
Shortly after collecting Bernadette from his parents house, phone masts pinged Scott’s Mobile phone in the Dogsthorpe and Gunthorpe areas, which are in the complete opposite direction of the family home. His phone signal was then completely disconnected from networks (indicating he had switched his phone off) for 91 minutes, from 11.23am -12.54pm. It is during that time Bernadette is believed to have been murdered.
Once reconnected, phone records show he made a nine minute phone call to Bernadette’s mother. It is during this nine minute phone call that prosecutors believe he informed Sarah that he had killed Bernadette and enlisted her help in covering up the crime.
“The only sensible conclusion that can be drawn from that telephone call is that Scott Walker told his wife that he had killed Bernadette and needed her help, immediately, to cover up Bea’s disappearance and death, and to buy them both time to work out what should happen next,”Prosecutor Lisa Wilding QC /during the trial at Cambridge Crown Court
However, during the trial, Sarah Walker told the court her version of events in regards to the phone call. She said Scott called her around 13.45 as he was returning a call she’d made to him earlier…
“He was out of breath: I said: ‘Why was your phone off?’ And he said: ‘It’s dead, it dropped into the footwell of the car’. He was going to go to McDonalds, but Bee didn’t want anything, and he was driving home, and pulled over to roll a cigarette. He said: ‘She got out of the car and ran off’. He said: ‘What do I do? I can’t find her. She went behind the houses, and I think I saw her going over the footbridge towards Westwood’.”Sarah Walker / during the trial at Cambridge Crown Court
Police also discovered that before collecting Bernadette on the morning of her disappearance he had paid a visit to a lock up garage belonging to his parents, in Walton. They also discovered that Scott and Sarah visited this very same lock up several times within 48 hours of Bernadette going missing. Suspiciously, the pair also made a middle of the night trip to a rural area in Cowbit, Lincolnshire.
The prosecution suggested to the court that after killing Bernadette, Scott hid her body in the lock up until a ‘suitable’ hiding place could be found, which would explain why the Walkers kept returning to the lock up in the subsequent days and making late night trips, although, despite an extensive search of the Cowbit area, nothing was found.
Police later discovered Bernadette’s discarded Rucksack in the Walton Lock-up. It contained (amongst other things) her diary. In it they found a recent page written by Bernadette which read..
“Told my mum about my dad and the abuse. She called me a liar and threatened to kill me if I told the police. She said that the other kids matter more. I love feeling unwanted. I feel nothing right now cause I always thought mum would deal with it and it would go away. But no he’s still here telling me I made it up. What kind of parent wouldn’t believe their daughter? But it’s fine, I’m going to pretend it’s okay till I leave home then I will block them out my life. I’d rather say I’m an orphan than say I have abusive parents who couldn’t give a shit about me or what happens to me. If I was brave enough I probably would have already left , or just killed myself.”Bernadette Walker’s diary excerpt
Police discovered Bernadette had left her mobile phone at home, for whatever reason, when she had left for her Grandparent’s house. Yet after she had gone missing a series of text messages were sent from her phone to friends and posts put onto social media – supposedly from Bernadette, claiming ‘she was ok and would return home when she was ready‘. It was later determined that it was Scott and Sarah Walker who had been sending the messages in an attempt to mis-lead friends and family into believing she was safe and well but refusing to go home. This was all done before they reported her missing.
A text exchange fabricated by Sarah Walker was found on Bernadette’s mobile phone
B) “Can you forgive me?”
S) “Of course I can darling. Please come home.”
B) “Will I be in lots of trouble?”
S) “No, we can forget this happened,”
Sarah Walker later confessed to two counts of perverting the course of justice (sending the messages and giving false information to police) but claimed it was an attempt to cover up the sexual abuse claims against Scott. She denied sending them in the knowledge that her daughter was dead.
A social worker informed police of the sexual abuse accusations on 22nd July 2020 and following an investigation into this and Bernadette’s disappearance Scott was subsequently arrested on September 10th 2020 and the investigation became a murder inquiry.
Meanwhile the extensive search for Bernadette continued with police using search dogs, divers and drones to search any areas they believe may be geographically linked to her disappearance.
Police learned other information regarding the Walkers. Although Scott and Sarah had never married, Sarah and Bernadette had taken his surname as their own and continued to use his name even after Scott and Sarah split up. They were no longer a couple at the time of Bernadette’s disappearance but continued to live together in the family home despite Sarah being in a relationship with another man.
It was reported by police that Scott never showed any emotion regarding Bernadette’s disappearance but was visibly upset and tearful at the fact Sarah had moved on with someone else. Scott Confirmed this to be true when later questioned about it during the trial.
It was later discovered that Scott had installed cameras in the family bathroom. Police suggested this was so he could spy on Bernadette getting undressed / showering etc but Scott denied this and said it was because he suspected she (Bernadette) had been hiding sweet wrappers in the toilet and he wanted to catch her in the act. Sarah insists she only found out about the cameras when Bernadette informed her of the abuse she had suffered. She told police Bernadette had told her…
“For a while now Dad’s been doing stuff to me, and there was a camera in the bathroom or something, and he’d been videoing her and touching her and it gets worse..Sarah Walker / www.bbc.co.uk
It is unknown what happened to Bernadette on that fateful day although police suspect that…
“due to the lack of forensic evidence, Bernadette may have been strangled or smothered to death, it’s impossible to know until we actually find Bernadette”.DI Jenkins
Scott Walker denied murdering Bernadette (and continues to maintain his innocence) and him and Sarah Walker both denied perverting the course of justice with the knowledge that Bernadette was already dead. In response to the sexual abuse allegations, Scott stated he believed Bernadette made it up so he’d have to move out and the mother’s new boyfriend could move in. Police are hopeful that Scott will finally confess to where Bernadette’s remains are located, now that a guilty verdict has been delivered.
On September 10th 2021, Scott and Sarah Walker both attended Cambridge Crown Court, U.K for sentencing. Scott Was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 32 years and Sarah was sentenced to a total of 6 years in prison, of which she must serve at least half before being considered for parole.
In the meantime her family continue to search for her, dead or alive
“I won’t stop until I know the actual answer,” he says. “Even if, God forbid, she is dead, then she still needs finding. I will still keep searching because she’s out there somewhere. She doesn’t deserve to just be lying in some ditch or something.”Anthony Walker, Bernadette’s brother / www.bbc.co.uk
Cambs.police.uk: https://www.cambs.police.uk/news-and-appeals/Bernadette-Walker-murder-trial-verdict BBC News: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-57840281 The Mirror https://www.pressreader.com/uk/daily-mirror/20200915/281792811445944 Peterborough Matters: https://www.peterboroughmatters.co.uk/crime-news/peterborough-dogsthorpe-search-for-bernadette-walker-27064 Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/07/26/man-guilty-murdering-partners-daughter-revealed-abuse/ Cambridge-news: https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/local-news/gallery/bernadette-walker-missing-police-search-19029348 / https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/local-news/bernadette-walker-trial-mum-murdered-21149200 / https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/local-news/we-never-know-truth-murdered-21147588