An alleged killer who was “trusted” to walk his female friend home instead raped and murdered her before concealing her body in undergrowth, a court has heard.
Keeley Bunker, 20, was discovered by her uncle, lying face-down in a pool in a park in Tamworth, Staffordshire, on September 19 last year, hours after she was reported missing.
She had celebrated her birthday just days earlier and was due to attend a job interview later that day – but never arrived, Stafford Crown Court heard on Monday.
The prosecution allege that Ms Bunker, who was just 4ft 11in and weighed six-and-a-half stone, was killed by “trusted” friend Wesley Streete, who tried to cover up her body with branches in Wiggington Park, a jury was told.
There was evidence that she had been strangled.
Streete, also 20, of no fixed address, told the victim’s best friend that he would walk Ms Bunker home safely, but prosecutors have alleged he told “lie after lie”, claiming she was still alive when they parted ways.
Jurors heard that, on the evening of Wednesday September 18, Ms Bunker had been to a concert at Birmingham’s O2 Institute to see rapper Aitch with a close female friend.
The pair arranged to go clubbing afterwards with Streete.
Streete was described as “very drunk” at the club, having “three drinks for every one” the girls had, and was downing double vodka Red Bulls.
After getting a taxi back to Tamworth, Ms Bunker’s friend offered her a bed for the night, suggesting she “walk home later in the morning”, said Jacob Hallam QC, opening the Crown’s case.
He added: “But Keeley refused – tragically – saying she was tired and wanted to sleep in her own bed.”
She told her friend: “I’ve got Wes, Wes lives near me, Wes will walk me back, it’ll be fine.”
Mr Hallam said: “As the afternoon of Thursday September 19 2019 wore on, Keeley Bunker’s family became increasingly concerned about her welfare and her safety.
“She had been out the night before, Wednesday, through to Thursday, with two friends.
“One of them, the Crown say, proved to be rather better than the other.
“The second was this defendant, Wesley Streete.
“Although Keeley had left her friend’s home, to make her way home in the early hours of the morning, she did not return on what should have been a walk of perhaps 20 minutes or so across the centre of Tamworth.
“She did not answer her telephone, she had not been to a job interview she was due to attend on Thursday, and nobody – but nobody – had seen her.
“At about 5.30pm that Thursday, her father, Christopher, reported her missing to police and searches were organised for her.”
He added: “It was Keeley’s uncle, Jason, who found her body at about 9pm that night.
“It was lying face-down in a pool, fringed by small trees and bushes at the edge of an area of parkland in Tamworth.
“It had been hidden under a latticework of branches that had been taken from surrounding vegetation
“Her clothing was in disarray, her black leggings and her underwear had been pulled down and they were twisted over and around her trainers.
“It was obvious from the state of her body that she had been unlawfully killed.
“It was obvious from the state of her clothing that she had been sexually assaulted.
“Keeley Bunker was 4ft 11in tall, she weighed just six-and-a-half stone and she had turned 20 only 12 days before.
“The police identified the last person reported seeing Keeley alive was this defendant, Wesley Streete.”
He added: “During the course of that Thursday – a day of mounting dread for the people who loved Keeley – he, the defendant, had been telling people, Keeley’s family, her true friends and the police, that he had walked her to a telephone box near his home earlier that morning.
“And there they had parted company.
“He even showed police the route that he said that they had taken and where they parted.
“It was a lie.
“CCTV was found that showed it was a lie.
“Analysis of his telephone showed it was a lie.
“DNA showed it was a lie.
“And he admits, now, that it was a lie.
“Because the truth, we suggest on behalf of the prosecution, was that he had taken Keeley Bunker’s life and he had sexually assaulted her.
“She, a young woman, who had trusted him.”
He added that Ms Bunker was “not alone”, and that police had discovered other women who had been allegedly assaulted by Streete.
Streete is also accused of two further counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and a charge of sexual activity with a child, against three other victims, all said to have happened in previous years.
The trial, expected to last three weeks, continues.