A man accused of raping and murdering his friend, whom he was “trusted” to walk home safe, has told a jury he “accidentally killed her”.
Wesley Streete told Stafford Crown Court on Tuesday how, after Keeley Bunker’s death, he put her body in a brook and covered it with branches in the early hours of September 19 2019, after a night out.
Ms Bunker, who was 4ft 11in and weighed just six and a half stone, was later discovered by her uncle, who was part of a search party looking for the missing 20-year-old, in Wigginton Park, Tamworth.
Giving evidence in his defence for the first time, Streete denied deliberately killing Ms Bunker.
He also admitted lying to the victim’s family, friends and the police about what happened because he was “scared” and “embarrassed”.
Streete claimed the two were also having sex at the time Ms Bunker died, having “started flirting” with one another on the walk back to her home, before she began “teasing” him.
The 20-year-old gave his account of what happened as he was taken through the allegations by his barrister, Rachel Brand QC.
Ms Brand asked: “When Keeley Bunker died, did that happen in Wigginton Park? Were you with her?”
“Yes,” he replied, to both questions.
Then Ms Brand asked: “Did you deliberately kill her, Wesley – on purpose?”
“No,” said Streete, who faced the jury wearing a white formal shirt, open at the neck, with a black suit.
After being asked: “How did she die?” Streete was seen to take a deep breath as he sat in the court’s witness box, replying: “I put my arms around her neck and accidentally killed her.”
“We were having sex,” he added.
Asked if he agreed it was he who “put her body in the brook” and “covered it with branches”, Streete replied: “Yes”.
“Why did you tell lies about what had happened?” asked Ms Brand.
Streete, of no fixed address but previously of St Austell Close, Tamworth, said: “Because I 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.
“My mom and dad – everyone.”
Asked about what happened in the park, Streete said it had been while walking together the two “then started flirting”.
“But it wasn’t like touchy type of flirt or anything, it was just looking at each other, in a flirtatious way,” he said.
Streete was asked at this point if Ms Bunker was or ever had been his girlfriend, to which he replied “no”, having earlier told jurors the pair were “friends” who had known each other since junior school.
He claimed that in the park he and Ms Bunker had started kissing and were intimate, which Ms Bunker had seemed “happy” with.
Streete further claimed CCTV footage played to the jury earlier in the trial showing the two near an entrance to the park had shown the two “play-fighting”.
Ms Brand asked: “Was Keeley trying to get away from you or run away from you?”
“No,” Streete replied, claiming it was afterwards he and Ms Bunker went back into the park and had sex.
“She started teasing me,” he claimed.
Streete agreed he had had some “problems with reading and writing”, telling the jury he left secondary school without qualifications before becoming a packer for online shopping firm Ocado.
He later got a football scholarship “for Lichfield and Tamworth” which ended because he “stopped playing football”.
Before the defendant began his evidence, jurors were told Streete had the assistance of a professional intermediary in court, sitting nearby but adhering to social distancing measures.
The judge explained the intermediary was “qualified to explain to him in simple terms, if necessary, the questions, and to assess the ability of individuals to understand and follow questions being asked of them”.
Prosecutors have told the jury Streete changed his account at least four times between his arrest and the trial.
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.
He denies all charges and his trial continues.