Bernadette Walker, 17, was last seen alive leaving her grandparents’ house just two days after she accused her stepfather of sexually abusing her ‘over a number of years’. He and Bernadette’s mother then led a false trail, claiming she was still alive
A man has been jailed for a minimum of 32 years over the horrific murder of his stepdaughter Bernadette Walker, 17.
Scott Walker murdered Bernadette in July last year after she made allegations of sexual abuse against him.
The teenager’s body has tragically never been found and Walker has never told police where it is, in an act described as “the cruellest of all” by the judge.
Although she was not Walker’s biological daughter, Bernadette referred to him as “dad” as he was the former partner of her mum Sarah and had been living at the family home.
Walker was found guilty of murder in July last year after a jury at Cambridge Crown Court heard how Bernadette made allegations against him just two days before she vanished.
He has now been handed a life sentence and jailed for a minimum of 32 years.
Jailing him on Friday, Mrs Justice McGowan said his refusal to tell police where Bernadette’s body is “means she can’t be shown the respect she deserves”.
She added: “Cruellest of all, it’s likely to mean some members of her family and friends will go on hoping she might be alive and might some day come back into their lives.”
In a diary entry found by police, Bernadette wrote that she feared she would be killed by Walker after she had confided in her mother that he had sexually abused her “over a number of years”.
The undated entry, seen by jurors, 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 [sic] and it would all 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 of my life.
“I’d rather say I’m an orphan than say I have abusive parents who couldn’t give a s**t about me or what happens to me.
“If I was brave enough I probably would have already left, or just killed myself.”
Bernadette had told her mum Walker had spied on her undressing using cameras hidden in the bathroom and had touched her inappropriately in a games room, jurors were told.
The last confirmed sighting of Bernadette alive was when Walker picked her up from his parents’ home in Werrington, Peterborough, on Saturday July 18, 2020.
The court heard Bernadette had gone to stay there “while things calmed down a little”.
However, he did not take her back home to Millfield that morning.
His mobile phone activated cell sites in the Dogsthorpe and Gunthorpe areas, both in the opposite directions, and at just before 11.30am, it disconnected from the network and did not reconnect for an hour-and-a-half.
The seven weeks after Bernadette’s disappearance, Scott Walker and Sarah Walker formed an “unholy alliance” and led a false trail to suggest their daughter was still alive and had run away from home.
Sarah Walker did not report her daughter missing for a further three days.
In call to Cambridgeshire Police on July 21, Sarah Walker described how Bernadette “ran away on Saturday lunchtime” (July 18), and went on to explain how she “knew where she was” until Bernadette stopped messaging.
She said that she gave her daughter “the day to stew it out a bit, as it’s not the first time she’s done it”, but she then said she became “aware” the teen was not where she thought she was.
Describing the chain of events, Sarah Walker said how she had seen Bernadette last on July 17, before she went to her grandparents’, and Scott had picked her up the next day on July 18.
She went on to explain how Bernadette apparently “jumped out the car and ran off” in the Mounsteven Avenue area of Peterborough.
Sarah then carried on to say Bernadette hadn’t said where she was going, explaining there had “been a row” which was why the teenager had gone to her grandparents’ home.
She explained she had got in contact with an ex-boyfriend and then friends of Bernadette’s before telling police she did not know where her daughter was – but claimed she was still hearing from her over text.
She later admitted perverting the course of justice by sending messages from Bernadette’s phone and providing false information to police, without knowing her daughter was dead and with the intention to cover up the sexual allegations against Scott Walker.
However, in July she was found guilty of alternative charges of perverting the course of justice, which were identical to the charges she admitted, but with the knowledge that Bernadatte was dead.
Sarah Walker has been jailed for six years.