A 20-year-old man has been convicted of raping and murdering a female friend who had trusted the killer to walk her home.
Wesley Streete dumped Keeley Bunker’s body face-down in a brook in a park before trying to conceal it with branches on 19 September last year.
He repeatedly lied about what had happened to 20-year-old Bunker as they returned to their hometown of Tamworth, Staffordshire, after a night out celebrating her birthday, changing his account at least four times before his trial at Stafford crown court.
Streete initially claimed to have left Bunker to walk home alone, before later alleging he “accidentally killed her” during consensual sex in Wigginton Park.
The jury, returning verdicts on Wednesday, convicted Streete in just over eight hours.
Streete, of no fixed address, 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 taken place in previous years.
Bunker’s sister had described her as “one of the most vibrant, caring and beautiful souls this earth has ever seen”.
The court heard Bunker’s uncle, Jason Brown, discovered her partially submerged body during a massive search effort involving family, friends and police.
A nearby witness described 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 Bunker’s body – he was chanced upon by Brown, lying about where he had last seen his niece, while knowing full well he had concealed her body nearby. “Swear down,” he told 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.”
After the killing, Streete 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 Bunker was found.
He then moaned: “I feel like you’re blaming me”, to police after they took his phone.
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.
He will be sentenced on Friday.