Cambridgeshire Police

A man who murdered his 17-year-old daughter and hid her body after she made sexual abuse allegations against him has been sentenced to life in prison.

Scott Walker was sentenced after being found guilty of killing Bernadette Walker despite her body never being found, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

Bernadette’s last confirmed sighting alive was when Walker picked her up from his parents’ house in Werrington, Peterborough on Saturday, July 18, 2020.

Walker, who is not the biological father of Bernadette but was known as “dad” to her, was accused of sexually assaulting her the previous day, so she went to his parents’ house.

When he came to pick up Bernadette, Walker did not take the teenager back to their home at Century Square in Millfield, and his mobile phone activated cell sites in the Dogsthorpe and Gunthorpe areas – places in the opposite direction to their house.

Just before 11.30am the phone disconnected from the network and wasn’t reconnected until around 1pm, when Walker had a nine-minute phone call with Bernadette’s mother Sarah.

A series of trails of deceit were then left by Walker and his former partner Sarah, as they fabricated the idea of Bernadette still being alive, suggesting she had actually just run away from home.

The lock-up garage in Walton was owned by Walker’s parents, but he regularly went there after Bernadette was reported missing. | Photo: Cambridgeshire Police

Her social media accounts had their passwords changed and messages were sent to friends and family to make it look as though she was alive, something which Sarah later admitted to doing.

In the 48 hours after this, Walker and Sarah made multiple trips to a lock-up garage owned by his parents in Walton, as well as to Cowbit, Lincolnshire in the dead of night.

Bernadette’s rucksack was found inside the lock-up garage that Walker and Sarah regularly visited after Bea’s ‘disappearance’. | Photo: Cambridgeshire Police

Bernadette’s rucksack had been found inside the Walton lock-up, with a diary that 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. What kind of parent wouldn’t believe their daughter?”

Three days after Bernadette had ‘gone missing’, her mother Sarah called 101 for advice and to file an official missing person report, despite being fully aware of the consequences surrounding her disappearance.

Sexual abuse allegations were passed on to police by a social worker on July 22, four days after Bernadette was last seen, and Walker was arrested for the allegations on September 10. A murder enquiry was launched the day after.

Scott Walker was found guilty of murder and two counts of perverting the course of justice, relating to providing false information to police and sending messages from Bernadette’s phone.

Sarah Walker was found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice for the same conditions as Scott Walker, though it was just the latter who was given the murder charge.

Scott Walker has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 32 years, while Sarah will serve six years in prison, of which she must serve at least half before being considered for parole.

Bernadette Walker’s body has never been found, and despite detectives visiting Walker in prison to try to speak to him, he has refused to give any information.

An extract from Bernadette’s diary, where she talks about telling her parents about the abuse. | Photo: Cambridgeshire Police

Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, from the Beds, Cambs and Herts Major Crime Unit, said: “I would like to thank our prosecution team who presented our case exceptionally well, enabling us to get justice for Bea after what has been such tragic circumstances.

“I still hope we may get the answers we need to be able to find her and lay her to rest. If anyone has any information about this investigation which may help us find Bea, please get in touch.

“We may never know the truth about what Scott did and why, but we do know Bea had made allegations of abuse against him.

“My plea to anyone who may have been subjected to abuse is to speak to us. Bea thought she could confide in her own mother, who should have been able to protect her, but instead she met a tragic end.”

A man has been found guilty of murdering his stepdaughter after she made sexual abuse allegations against him, despite her body never being found after extensive searches, including in Lincolnshire.

Scott Walker was found guilty of killing 17-year-old Bernadette Walker after a six-week trial at Cambridge Crown Court, and Bernadette’s mother Sarah was found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice.

It is still not known where Bernadette, or Bea as she was known, was killed, but her last confirmed sighting was when Scott picked her up from his parents’ home in Werrington, Peterborough on Saturday, July 18, 2020.

She was at Scott’s parents after allegations she had made the previous day against him, in which she accused the man she called “dad” of sexual abuse, though he wasn’t her biological father.

Scott and his former partner Sarah, Bernadette’s mother, deceived friends, family and the police force by laying false trails to suggest that Bea was actually still alive and had run away from home.

The jury was told that Bea’s mother had not reported her missing to police until July 21, three days after her last confirmed sighting.

Scott claimed he stopped the car on their way back from his parents’ home to speak about the allegations made by Bernadette, but she got out the car and ran away down Skaters Way, leaving her rucksack behind.

Despite this claim, police discovered that Scott had not been to collect Bernadette from his parents house straight away the morning after the allegations.

He had instead gone to a lock-up garage owned by his parents in Walton, and it was not the only time he visited this location in the days after Bea was reported missing.

The lock-up garage in Walton was owned by Scott’s parents, but he regularly went there after Bernadette was reported missing. | Photo: Cambridgeshire Police

Scott’s mobile phone activated cell sites in the Dogsthorpe and Gunthorpe areas, both in the opposite direction, and at just before 11.30am it disconnected from the network and didn’t reconnect for an hour-and-a-half.

After reconnecting his phone, Scott’s first call was to Bea’s mother Sarah, whom he called for nine minutes.

In the 48 hours following this phone call, both Scott and Sarah made multiple trips to the lock-up in Walton, as well as in a rural area of Cowbit, Lincolnshire, in the night.

Bea’s social media accounts had their passwords changed and messages were sent to friends and family to make it look as though she’d run away from home.

Sarah Walker had previously admitted to perverting the course of justice by sending messages from Bea’s phone and providing false information to police, but claimed to not know that Bea was dead.

Now she has been found guilty of the same charge, only this time admitted the knowledge of Bernadette being dead with the intention to cover up sexual allegations against Scott.

The sexual abuse allegations were passed on to police by a social worker on July 22.

Then on September 10, Scott was arrested for the sexual abuse allegation and reports of coercively controlling Sarah, before a murder enquiry was launched the day after.

Bernadette’s rucksack was found inside the lock-up garage that Scott and Sarah regularly visited after Bea’s ‘disappearance’. | Photo: Cambridgeshire Police

Police investigated the lock-up and found Bea’s rucksack in it, which had a diary inside with harrowing extracts discussing her treatment after telling her parents about the abuse.

It read: “Told my mum and dad about the abuse. She called me a liar and threatened to kill me if I told the police. What kind of parent wouldn’t believe their daughter?”

An extract from Bernadette’s diary, where she talks about telling her parents about the abuse. | Photo: Cambridgeshire Police

Despite extensive searches across the country from specially trained officers, Bea’s whereabouts remain a mystery to this day.

Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, from the Beds, Cambs and Herts Major Crime Unit, said: “I am pleased we have been able to get justice for Bea after what has been such tragic circumstances.

“I just hope now we may get the answers we need to be able to find her and lay her to rest. If anyone has any information about this investigation which may help us find Bea, please get in touch.

“We may never know the truth about what Scott did and why, but we do know Bea had made allegations of abuse against him.

“My plea to anyone who may have been subjected to abuse is to speak to us. Bea thought she could confide in her own mother, who should have been able to protect her, but instead she met a tragic end.”

Both Scott and Sarah Walker will be sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on September 10.

Anyone with information that may help uncover Bernadette Walker’s whereabouts should be reported to Cambridgeshire Police either online or by calling 101.

The “kindest, gentlest, honest and most caring man” from a village near Stamford, and his dog, were tragically killed when his car hit a tree.

Philip Griffiths, 34, of Parker Road in Wittering, was driving a grey Peugeot 407 northbound, near the junction with the A43 at Wothorpe in Cambridgeshire. When the car left the road it hit a tree just before 3am on Sunday, March 14.

Mr Griffiths and his 14-month-old Border Collie Sammi were pronounced dead at the scene.

Philip’s partner Hayley Barnett said: “Phil was the kindest, gentlest, honest, most caring man I’ve ever met, with so much love to give.

“I’m so grateful for the all of the time he dedicated to me, all the happy memories we got to make together, and had so much love for him.

“Phil brought happiness and fond memories to everyone he met. My heart broke the day Phil and Sammi left our lives. We were inseparable while he was here and our hearts will always be entwined.

“Phil will be forever in my heart and memories, never forgotten and always loved, appreciated and greatly missed. Time may pass but the love and memories will always stay”.

Philip’s partner Hayley described him as the kindest, gentlest, honest and most caring man she’d ever met.

In a tribute, Philip’s family said: “Philip was a much-loved daddy, son, brother, and friend to all. Philip leaves behind three beautiful children who loved their daddy very much and are devastated by his loss.

“Philip had a very loving family and will be sorely missed by all who loved him. Philip will be forever in his family’s hearts and memories. He will also be remembered as a kind and friendly man by anyone who knew him.”

Cambridgeshire Police are appealing for anyone with information or dashcam footage to contact them via their web chat service or online forms quoting incident 51 of March 14. It can also be reported by calling 101.

+ More stories