Bernadette Walker: Man jailed for life for murdering girl who called him her father

Girl’s mother also jailed after attempted cover-up

Liam James
Friday 10 September 2021 16:14
<p>Bernadette was last seen on 18 July last year</p>

Bernadette was last seen on 18 July last year

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A man who murdered the teenage girl who called him her father has been sentenced to life in prison and must serve 32 years before he can be considered for release.

Bernadette Walker claimed Scott Walker, 51, had sexually abused her “over a number of years”, and prosecutors say he killed her to stop her pursuing the allegations.

Scott Walker has not told police the location of the 17-year-old's body, which has not been found despite searches, and it is not known how she was killed.

Judge Mrs Justice McGowan, sentencing at Cambridge Crown Court, said his refusal to reveal the location of the teenager’s body to police “means she can't be shown the respect she deserves”.

“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 someday come back into their lives,” she said.

Bernadette, a photography student, was last seen alive on 18 July last year when Scott Walker, not her biological father, collected her from his parents' house in Peterborough.

Scott Walker, jailed for life

She had written in her diary: “Told my mum about my dad and the abuse.

“She called me a liar and threatened to kill me if I told the police.”

The prosecution said Bernadette told her mother on 16 July that Walker had abused her. She was then said to have been sent to stay with the parents of Scott Walker the next day “while things calmed down a little” before he picked her up on 18 July.

Lisa Wilding QC, prosecuting, said that Scott Walker’s phone was off between 11.23am and 12.54pm that day and it was thought he killed Bernadette in that hour-and-a-half.

The first call Scott Walker made after was to Bernadette’s mother, his ex-partner Sarah Walker, which lasted for more than nine minutes, Ms Wilding said.

Prosecutors suggested the pair “concocted” a story during this call to cover up Bernadette’s disappearance and death.

Sarah Walker, jailed for six years

Ms Wilding said they tried to cover up the girl's death, sending messages from Bernadette's phone to give the impression she was still alive.

The prosecution said Bernadette told her mother on 16 July that Walker had abused her. She was then said to have been sent to stay with Scott Walker's parents the next day “while things calmed down a little”.

Sarah Walker waited until the early hours of 21 July to report Bernadette as missing to police. She was convicted of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to six years in prison.

Scott Walker was found guilty of murder and of two counts of perverting the course of justice. He denied Bernadette's claims of sexual abuse.

Sarah never married Scott Walker but she took his name. At the time of Bernadette’s murder they were living together but not in a relationship.

The two were sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday and remained silent as they were led to the cells.

Additional reporting by Press Association