A young man who was trusted to walk his friend home safely after a night out has been convicted of raping and murdering her.
Wesley Streete had denied doing so, instead insisting he “accidentally killed” childhood friend Keeley Bunker during sex and left her body in a park, hiding her with branches, in September last year.
Bunker, who was 4ft 11ins tall and weighed just six and a half stone, was discovered by her uncle in Wigginton Park, Tamworth, as a search party got under way.
Streete had told jurors he had consensual sex with Bunker after they “started flirting” on their walk home.
However, on Wednesday, the jury found him guilty of raping and murdering Bunker following a trial at Stafford Crown Court.
He was also found guilty of two other counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and a charge of sexual activity with a child, against three other victims, said to have happened in previous years.
Streete had joined Bunker and her best friend Monique Riggon in Birmingham for a night out after the two women had gone to a rap concert.
They got a taxi back to Tamworth and walked to Riggon’s home early on 19 September, and Streete was then trusted to walk Bunker back to her house.
Bunker told her friend: “I’ve got Wes… Wes will walk me back, it’ll be fine.”
However, prosecutors said Streete killed her and then repeatedly lied to her family and police, initially claiming she was still alive when they parted ways.
Prosecutors told the jury Streete changed his account at least four times between his arrest and the trial.
Jacob Hallam QC said: “We suggest the truth was he had taken Keeley’s life and he had sexually assaulted her – she, a young woman, who trusted him.”
He told jurors that “sustained effort” would have been required “to take Keeley Bunker’s life from her... to lose consciousness takes 10 to 15 seconds of sustained pressure around the neck”.
Her uncle Jason Brown found her body after she was reported missing, and another member of the search party told the court he let out “the most horrendous scream or shout I’ve ever heard in my life”.
The court heard rigor mortis had set in and no pulse was detected.
During evidence, Streete claimed they had consensual sex and he “put my arms around her neck and accidentally killed her”, then lied to Bunker’s family, friends and police about what happened because he was “scared”.
“I didn’t know how to act and explain to other people how she died because I felt embarrassed in myself and very scared, to explain to police – everyone,” he said.
“My mum and dad – everyone.”
Streete said the two were walking together, “then started flirting”.
He told jurors Bunker had never been his girlfriend. CCTV footage displayed to the jury of the two showed them “play-fighting” and her “teasing” him, he told the court, not Bunker trying to get away from him.
He had claimed they went to have sex but at some point he had his “forearm around her neck” and realised she had died.
“I started to panic, pacing up and down, I felt like running because I was scared, really scared,” he told jurors.
He said he never considered calling the police and instead moved the body into the bushes, then “put her in the pond” and took her jacket off “because you could see her in the brook and I was scared people would find her”.
Bunker was left face-down in the water, and Streete left the scene to go home, wash his clothes and go to sleep, later returning “quite a few times” to cover her with more branches, he said.
During a police ride along retracing Streete and Keeley’s last movements, police asked for his phone when told to by suspicious detectives.
The ride took place as the search got under way and, an hour after Keeley was found, police arrested Streete.
Asked if he had any questions as he was being driven to the custody block at Cannock, he replied: “Not really.”
Jurors were told how later on in the journey Streete spoke of being hungry, and “asked if there was food to eat when he got there”.
Under cross-examination, Hallam asked Streete if he was “selfish”.
Streete replied: “No – I put her in that pond and that’s something I have to sleep with.”
Jurors were told Streete had the assistance of a professional intermediary in court, sitting nearby but adhering to social distancing measures.
Detective Inspector Cheryl Hannan of Staffordshire Police said: “There’s Wesley Streete and Wesley Streete alone who is responsible for Keeley’s untimely death.
“Her friend, as Keeley did, trusted him to walk her home that night and there’s only Wesley to blame that she didn’t make it home.
“The lies that he told from the outset meant it was clear that he had something to do with her disappearance.”