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    Mother accused of murdering her daughter Bernadette Walker, 17, weeps in court

    Mother weeps in court as she appears via video link with her partner accused of murdering their missing 17-year-old daughter Bernadette Walker

    • Mother-of-ten Sarah Walker, 37, and partner Scott, 50, charged with murder 
    • Ms Walker was seen weeping as she appeared via video link in court today 
    • Bernadette went missing eight weeks ago but her parents claim she ran away  

    The mother who has been charged with the murder of her teenage daughter Bernadette Walker wept as she appeared before court today.  

    Sarah Walker, 37, used a white towel draped around her shoulder to wipe away tears during a five minute hearing at Peterborough Crown Court, Cambridgeshire.

    Mother-of-ten Ms Walker and her partner Scott Walker, 50, are jointly accused of murdering their daughter Bernadette, 17, who went missing eight weeks ago.

    They were charged on Monday even though the body of college student Bernadette has not been found.

    The mother who has been charged with the murder of her teenage daughter Bernadette Walker (pictured) wept as she appeared before court today

    Scott Walker, 50, and Sarah Walker, 37, have been charged with murdering their daughter

     Scott Walker, 50, and Sarah Walker, 37, have been charged with murdering their daughter

    The couple, who were both wearing black T shirts, appeared before Peterborough Crown Court via video link from separate prisons today.

    Neither of them made a plea to the charge that they murdered Bernadette, who lived with them at their five-bedroom council house in Central Square, Peterborough.

    No applications were made for bail during the short hearing before Judge Sean Enright. 

    A provisional date for the start of a trial which is expected to last two or three weeks was set for March 16 next year.

    Police have been searching through open fields of rubble and using sticks to probe undergrowth alongside water-filled ditches clogged with weed. 

    Police had been searching Bernadette's family home in the Millfield district of Peterborough last week, but have now cordoned off garages in Churchfield Road, Walton to the north of the city

    Police had been searching Bernadette’s family home in the Millfield district of Peterborough last week, but have now cordoned off garages in Churchfield Road, Walton to the north of the city 

    A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said officers were also searching open land in Cowbit north of Peterborough as part of the investigation

    A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said officers were also searching open land in Cowbit north of Peterborough as part of the investigation

    Officers have been searching an area of open land criss-crossed by farm tracks and waterways around Cowbit near Spalding, Linconishire, roughly ten miles north of Bernadette’s home.

    Police are expected to spend up to several weeks carrying out searches across a wide area stretching several miles.

    Separately, police have also been searching a garage crammed with possessions in Churchfield Road, Peterborough, about a mile from Bernadette’s home.

    Bernadette’s parents reportedly told police that they last saw her on July 18 when she ran away from their car.

    A 'no body' murder investigation was declared on Friday after all search operations failed, police from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit revealed

    A ‘no body’ murder investigation was declared on Friday after all search operations failed, police from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit revealed

    Bernadette Walker, 17, pictured with her father Scott Walker, 50. He has now been charged.

    Bernadette Walker, 17, pictured with her father Scott Walker, 50. He has now been charged.

    Ms Walker said that her daughter texted her at 1am on July 20 to say that she would be back home ‘soon’ .

    She reported her daughter was missing to police the following day on July 21 when she told officers that they had heard nothing more from her.

    Ms Walker distributed posters around Peterborough to appeal for information about her missing daughter who loved goth and punk music.

    She also gave interviews to local journalists saying: ‘I miss and love my eldest princess so much.’

    Detectives from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit revealed last Saturday that they were treating her disappearance as ‘no body’ murder investigation.

    Officers arrested Mr Walker on Friday and then arrested Ms Walker on Saturday night on suspicion of her murder.

    Police were standing guard outside the 17-year-old's home today. On Friday Cambridgeshire Police launched a 'no body' murder investigation

    Police were standing guard outside the 17-year-old’s home today. On Friday Cambridgeshire Police launched a ‘no body’ murder investigation

    Police officers spent the weekend standing guard outside the family’s modern terraced home which was cordoned off with police tape.

    Specialist forensic officers were seen going in and out of the house along with a police dog handler and her spaniel sniffer dog.

    Bernadette is described as medium build with half brown, half gingery blonde hair

    Bernadette is described as medium build with half brown, half gingery blonde hair

    Ms Walker who works as a care assistant at a home for the elderly is a mother-of-ten who gave birth to her last child, a baby girl, in June this year.

    Yesterday Scott Walker’s sister, Bernadette’s aunt, has said she and other relatives are in ‘total disbelief’, but are still hoping she could come back alive.        

    ‘We are baffled and hope the police have got it wrong,’ she told Sun Online from a home on the outskirts of Peterborough, Cambs.

    ‘We had no idea they had been charged until we heard it on the news. Police didn’t tell us anything, they haven’t been to see us. The family’s in shock. It’s terrible.’

    Meanwhile Bernadette’s maternal grandmother Pat Dickinson, 60, said she was still holding out hope the ‘fun and bubbly’ teen would be found alive.  

    She described her as a ‘normal teenager’ who was very good at drawing, and had even learnt to knit from her grandmother.

    ‘I am so confused about what has happened. I just hope that she is safe somewhere and gets in touch,’ she said. 

    Mrs Dickinson last saw her granddaughter in June soon after her little sister was born.

    Neighbours of Mr and Mrs Walker described them as a lovely couple who were ‘always smiling.’  

    In August Ms Walker told PeterboroughMatters.com: ‘I can’t eat or sleep properly. I miss and love my eldest princess so much, she’s missing out on her baby sister, who has learned to smile and coo already.’  

    Specialist forensic officers were seen going in and out of the house along with a police dog handler and a spaniel sniffer dog

    Specialist forensic officers were seen going in and out of the house along with a police dog handler and a spaniel sniffer dog

    ‘I have to think that she is hiding at one of her friend’s homes, worried about coming home now that the police will want to speak to her, I can’t think of any alternative scenarios, I just can’t.

    ‘I know my baby girl wouldn’t be out in the open. She’s scared of being out in the dark alone, that’s what makes me think she’s at a friend’s house. I just wish someone would just say she’s here and she’s safe. I want to cuddle her, but right now I’d accept that she’s safe and well.’ 

    She revealed she hadn’t had any contact from her daughter since 1am on July 20, when Bernadette text her to say she was on her way home.

    Police officers were today standing guard outside the family’s modern terraced home which was cordoned off with police tape.

    Specialist forensic officers were seen going in and out of the house along with a police dog handler and her spaniel sniffer dog. 

    Police were seen outside Bernadette's family home in Millfield, Peterborough on Sunday

    Police were seen outside Bernadette’s family home in Millfield, Peterborough on Sunday

    A neighbour of Bernadette’s parents, who asked not to be named, said today: ‘They are really lovely and always smiling.

    ‘They are a good family and had just had a baby girl. There were a lot of children – but they seemed to cope fine. They were always looking out for their children

    ‘I spoke to them after Bernadette went missing to wish them all the best and they were really gutted about it. 

    ‘I messaged her when the news came out about a suspect man being arrested and she said she had just come back from giving a statement to police. I just told her that I hoped everything goes well.’

    DCI Jerry Waite said: ‘Due to the length of time Bernadette has been missing and concerns she may have come to some harm, we made the decision to declare this a murder investigation yesterday morning.

    ‘Whilst we hope we do find Bernadette alive and well, there is every possibility this may not be the case therefore my team and I will do everything possible to find out what has happened to her and bring any offenders to justice.’  

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