A teenage photography student was allegedly murdered by her dad to silence her claims that he sexually abused her, before both of her parents sent messages from her phone pretending to be her and saying she had run away to divert investigators, a court has heard.
Bernadette Walker, 17, was last seen alive on July 18 last year when her father Scott Walker, 51, collected her in the car from his parents’ house in Peterborough where she had stayed overnight, Cambridge Crown Court heard.
Lisa Wilding QC, opening the prosecution case, said Bernadette’s body has not been found.
She said the girl’s father and her 38-year-old mother Sarah Walker formed an "unholy alliance", in a nine-minute phone call on July 18, to cover up her death, CambridgeshireLive reports.
Her mum did not report her missing to police until July 21, the prosecution say.
Ms Wilding said Bernadette had a habit of dying her hair in rainbow colours, was described by friends as "something of a goth" and "socially awkward", with many of her friendships online.
On July 16, Bernadette told her mum that her dad "had been sexually abusing her over a number of years", Ms Wilding said.
"Sarah Walker told Bernadette that she did not believe her," she went on.
"The following day, it was decided that Bernadette should go and spend the night with her paternal grandparents while things calmed down a little."
Bernadette’s dad dropped her at her grandparents’ house on the evening of July 17 and he collected her the following morning, prosecutors say.
"The prosecution allege that Scott Walker killed Bea to prevent her pursuing her allegations of sexual abuse any further," said Ms Wilding.
"He then enlisted the help of her mother, his wife, to cover his tracks and to provide them both with some time to formulate the next part of their plan."
Ms Wilding said that Scott Walker collected Bernadette from his parents’ home between 10am and 11am on July 18.
"When her grandparents said goodbye to Bernadette that morning, it was the last time that they, or anyone other than Scott Walker, saw her alive," said Ms Wilding.
"At 11.23am on July 18 Scott Walker’s telephone, which was usually in regular use, was off.
"It remained off until 12.54pm and the prosecution say that in that hour and a half he killed Bea."
She said when his phone reconnected to the network at 12.54pm the first call he made was to Sarah Walker, which lasted for more than nine minutes.
"As you will come to see from all of the evidence, 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," said Ms Wilding.
"The story they concocted in that call, and which both relied on from that moment on, even until now, was that Scott had stopped the car on the short drive home to confront Bea about her allegations, that Bea jumped out of the car when he pulled over and that she ran off.
"Then, that Scott tried and failed to run after her and so returned home without her."
She said Bernadette’s parents "selfishly and ruthlessly … maintained their lying accounts which were designed to protect only themselves".
Both were arrested more than six weeks later, Ms Wilding said.
Scott Walker denies Bernadette’s murder on or after July 18 last year and four counts of perverting the course of justice.
Sarah Walker denies two counts of perverting the course of justice.
The trial continues.
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