A man has been convicted of raping and murdering a female friend who had “trusted” the killer to walk her home safe, before hiding her body in a brook.
Wesley Streete, who towered over his slightly-built victim, Keeley Bunker, dumped her body face-down in a stream in a nearby park before trying to conceal his crime by covering her with branches, on September 19 last year.
He repeatedly lied about what had happened to the 20-year-old woman after they returned to their hometown of Tamworth after a night out to Birmingham celebrating her birthday, changing his account at least four times before trial.
Streete initially claimed to have left Ms Bunker to walk home alone, before later alleging at trial he “accidentally killed her” during consensual sex in Wigginton Park.
Jurors at Stafford Crown Court took just over eight hours to convict the 20-year-old on Wednesday.
Streete, of no fixed address, but previously of St Austell Close, Tamworth, was also convicted 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.
He will be sentenced on Friday.
Ms Bunker’s sister had described her as “one of the most vibrant, caring and beautiful souls this earth has ever seen”.
It was her own uncle, Jason Brown, who later discovered the victim’s partially-submerged body during a massive search effort involving family, friends and police.
Finding her body by torchlight, he told jurors how he saw hair and “an arm with a bracelet on”, and “just started shouting: ‘No!’
A nearby witness described Mr Brown’s cries of alarm as “the most horrendous scream or shout I’ve ever heard in my life”.
Earlier that day – hours after Streete had concealed Ms Bunker’s body – he was chanced upon by Mr Brown, lying to the man’s face about where he had last seen his niece, while knowing full well he had concealed her body nearby.
“Swear down,” he told Mr Brown.
Asked in court about using that deceit, Streete replied: “I couldn’t tell him that I’d slept with her and accidentally strangled her – I just went with it.”
He would also tell police that when he had left Ms Bunker, “she seemed happy – 110%”. It was another lie.
Streete’s first thought had, by his own admission, been about himself, after the killing, he told jurors.
“Why me? How am I in this position?” he recalled thinking.
After the killing, he repeatedly returned to the scene five times, covering her body with more branches.
But as the last person to see her alive, police attention quickly focused on Streete.
He was later taken on a ride-along in the back of a marked patrol car, and was with officers when Ms Bunker was found.
He then moaned: “I feel like you’re blaming me”, to police after they took his phone.
Streete seemed more concerned about officers looking through his Google searches than helping to find the then-missing Ms Bunker, in exchanges caught on body-worn video footage.
He said: “I just don’t want them (the police) to laugh if they go through my Google.”
All the while, Streete had known Ms Bunker’s fate.
After arrest, Streete tailored his account to the evidence, but claimed he had done so because he was “scared” and “embarrassed” to tell people what had really happened.
At trial, Streete claimed Ms Bunker had been a willing participant in sex despite, by his own admission, being a childhood friend who had never entertained any ideas of romance.
By the time she and Streete had crossed the park shortly before 4am, her mind was on sleeping in her own bed, as she told best friend Monique Riggon earlier that morning.
Later that day she was due to have a second interview for a classroom assistant role.
“It was something she really wanted – so getting home, back to her house that morning was important to Keeley, wasn’t it?” Jacob Hallam QC, prosecuting, asked Streete.
“Yes,” replied Streete.
But Streete had tried to paint a different picture, telling how Ms Bunker was “flirting” and “teasing” him, as they walked home.
“I asked: ‘Do you want to have sex?'” Streete told the jury.
Streete claimed Ms Bunker’s reply was “Yes”, and how he had then “accidentally killed her” after wrapping his forearm around her neck.
But Ms Bunker’s injuries told a different story.
The victim had scratch marks on her neck, shown to be self-inflicted from samples of skin recovered from underneath her own fingernails, and most likely inflicted as she tried to prise herself from Streete’s grip.
Streete claimed repeatedly at trial how he had only lied to cover up his crime because he was “panicking”.
But, as Mr Hallam said: “The reason you had to admit to these lies is because the police proved they were lies.”
Detectives, using GPS data recorded by Streete’s own phone, were able to expose his initial lie, when he had claimed to have parted ways with Ms Bunker before she ever reached the park.
The phone also showed him in the park near to the scene of murder, at the relevant time, and making repeated visits back to where he had hidden the body.
CCTV also captured the two walking together through Tamworth and later near a rugby clubhouse, at the very edge of the park.
The chilling, grainy black-and-white footage showed Streete first hugging Ms Bunker before, a few seconds later, he followed her out of frame and into the darkness.
Within minutes of that final shot, Streete must have launched his attack.
Jurors heard Streete was “autistic” according to his father, and had the assistance of a professional intermediary in court to help him understand the trial process.
Streete was also offered the opportunity of using a stress-ball while giving evidence in the witness box, but declined.
“I kept on lying to everyone,” he told jurors, before claiming: “Now I’m telling the truth.”
The jury disagreed, convicting him of Ms Bunker’s rape and murder.