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Mother of Keeley Bunker shares heartbreaking tribute to the murdered barmaid

The heartbroken mother of barmaid Keeley Bunker has paid tribute to her daughter after her ‘childhood friend’ Wesley Streete was found guilty of her murder. 

Speaking after the conviction, Deborah Watkins said: ‘As a mum, I could give you a thousand pictures and say a million words but nothing could ever describe the beautiful daughter I had.

‘She was the most caring and innocent young lady. On the day she was taken the lives of our family changed forever. They will never be the same again.

‘Such is the hurt we feel we are incapable of showing forgiveness and we will never forget our Keeley.

‘I have been robbed of my daughter and holding her hand through life’s experiences. It will stay with me for the rest of my life.

‘I can only hope she can rest easy now. Our precious and beautiful daughter Keeley will forever be in our heart and memories.’

It comes after a video of Keeley dancing with her ‘trusted’ friend in a nightclub emerged, just hours before he would rape and kill her before dumping her half-naked body in a stream.

On Wednesday, Wesley Streete was convicted of the 20-year-old’s murder in Tamworth, Staffordshire on September 19, last year, not long after the victim had texted a friend to say: ‘Wes will walk me home, it’ll be fine’.

Streete, who towered over his slightly-built childhood friend, attacked and killed her before dumping her body face-down in a stream in Wiggington Park, then repeatedly returned to the scene to cover her with vegetation.  

He lied about what had happened to the 20-year-old woman, after returning with a friend from a night-out to Birmingham to celebrate Ms Bunker’s birthday, changing his account four times before trial.

Footage released by Staffordshire Police today after the verdict shows Keeley and Streete laughing and dancing in Snobs nightclub in the second city, just hours before the murder took place. He will be sentenced on Friday.

Streete, also 20, previously of St Austell Close, Tamworth, initially claimed to have left Ms Bunker to walk home alone before later alleging he ‘accidentally killed her’ during consensual sex in the park.

The victim’s uncle later discovered Ms Bunker’s partially-submerged body later that same day during a massive search effort involving family, friends and police.

The jury took just over eight hours to convict the former warehouse packer. 

After being arrested, Streete told a web of lies which were undone by police who painstakingly pieced together CCTV and GPS data lifted from Streete’s own mobile phone.

It proved Streete had been with Ms Bunker in Wigginton Park in the early hours of September 19 and how he had repeatedly returned to the scene where he had dumped her body.

‘I kept on lying to everyone,’ he said from the witness box while giving evidence, before claiming: ‘Now I’m telling the truth.’ 

Friends and relatives had launched a search for missing Keeley after she failed to return home from watching rapper Aitch perform at the 02 Academy in Birmingham.

Promising footballer Streete, who was a ‘trusted friend’ of Keeley, said he accidentally strangled her during sex and dumped her body as he was ‘scared’ and ’embarrassed’.

But a jury rejected his claims and found him unanimously guilty of rape and murder following a three week trial at Stafford Crown Court today.

He was also found guilty of a further two counts of rape and three sexual assaults in relation to three other victims. He will be sentenced on Friday. 

The court heard Keeley, who was just 4ft 11ins and weighed six-and-a-half stone, was killed after she turned down a bed at a friend’s house following a night clubbing.

The pair were seen laughing and dancing in Snobs nightclub, but Keeley later declined to sleep over at Monique Riggon’s home because she wanted to get home and told her pal: ‘I’ve got Wes, Wes will walk me back, it’ll be fine.’

She had celebrated her birthday just days earlier and was due to attend a job interview at a local infant school later that day – but never arrived.

Jurors heard Streete pounced as the pair walked through the park and Keeley had the life choked out of her as a result of ‘sustained pressure’ around the neck.

He then hoisted Keeley’s body on to his shoulder and spent around an hour concealing her body in the undergrowth.

Bodycam footage shows Streete lying to police about Keeley’s whereabouts after she went missing and saying: ‘I just feel like I’m getting the blame’.

During his custody interview Streete can also be heard complaining his ’embarrassment’ at being accused and says: ‘Its scary, but not scary in a way.’

Wearing a black Nike t-shirt, he later tells a custody officer who asked him how he was feeling: ‘A bit sad… I wouldn’t even say a bit sad, just say sad’.

Keeley, who also worked at Drayton Manor Theme Park, was found by uncle Jason Brown at around 9pm the day after she disappeared.

Dean Reynolds, an off-duty police officer, said in a statement that Mr Brown’s agonising shouts were ‘the most horrendous screaming I have heard in my life.’

Prosecutor Jacob Hallam QC said: ‘He began to scream ‘No!’ because he knew that he was he was looking at was the body of his niece. He had found Keeley. 

‘It was lying face down in a pool, fringed by small trees and bushes, near the edge of an area of parkland in Tamworth.

‘It had been hidden under a latticework of branches taken from the surrounding vegetation.

‘Her clothing was in disarray, her tight black leggings and her underwear had been pulled down and were twisted over and around her trainers.

‘It was obvious from the state of her body and the way it had been hidden that she had been unlawfully killed.

‘It was obvious from the state of her clothing that she had been sexually assaulted.

‘He [Streete] had taken Keeley’s life and had sexually assaulted her, she a young woman who trusted him.’

A forensic pathologist said there were 100 marks to Keeley’s body including bruises to her face and scratches to her forehead.

There was also deep bruising beneath the skin of her face, her lower lip had been lacerated and there were also haemorrhages to the lining of the mouth.

During the trial Keeley’s dad Christopher Bunker, 51, told how Streete had even visited his house while his daughter was missing and lied about her whereabouts.

He told the court: ‘I said ‘do you know where Keeley is?’, he said ‘no’ and that he walked her to the phone box and went home.

‘I asked if she was drunk and he said ‘no’, he said he was more drunk than her.’

But Streete was caught on CCTV cameras walking through the park with Keeley, his DNA was also found on her body and her make up on his shirt.

The court was told he told ‘lie after lie’ claiming she was still alive when they parted ways but GPS date from his phone also showed he was in vicinity of the brook.

He also said he jumped on her back for a piggy back causing her to fall and fatally hit her head on a gatepost before saying he killed her by mistake during consensual sex.

Streete told the jury: ‘I was scared. I’ve never been in that position. I’ve just killed my mate. I put trees over her so you couldn’t see her naked.’

The court was told how the killer had moaned ‘I feel like you’re blaming me’ to police after they took his phone during their investigation.

Streete seemed more concerned about officers looking through his Google searches, than helping police find his missing friend.

He said: ‘I just don’t want them (the police) to laugh if they go through my Google.’

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Ms Bunker, who was 4ft 11 inches tall and weighed just six-and-a-half stone, had turned their attentions to the man who was last with her, ‘trusted’ friend Streete.

Streete, who towered over Ms Bunker, had been among a group of pals on a night out to Birmingham earlier the previous evening.

But arriving back in Tamworth, Staffordshire, in the early hours of September 19, 2019, they parted ways with another friend and then walked together towards Ms Bunker’s home, across town.

Ms Bunker was not seen alive again, and by the following evening, desperate searches were under way involving her family, close friends and police. 

Streete was taken by police on a ride-along in a marked patrol car to retrace their movements, claiming all the while that when he and Ms Bunker had parted, she was still alive.

But as detectives’ suspicions grew, they told uniformed officers in the car to get Streete’s phone.

In the exchange, caught on a body-worn camera, Streete, who was sitting in the back of the police car alongside his mother and father, said: ‘I just feel like I’m getting the blame.

‘You said when I was at the house that all I needed to do was speak to the officer and then I could go and look for Keeley.

‘And then you take my phone off me.’

Officers, reassuring Streete, said: ‘There’s a lot of people involved in what is happening.

‘There’s people a lot higher up than us that are making decisions.’

Streete, pointing at his chest, replied: ‘When you’re going to take my phone, now I feel like you’re blaming me.’

Asked for the phone’s pass-code, he gave them a wrong number, although the police switched off the handset immediately after getting the correct digits, to preserve the battery.

The conversation happened just as Jason Brown found the body of his niece in nearby Wigginton Park, face-down, partially submerged in a brook and concealed by tree branches.

An hour later, officers captured on their body-worn video the moment Streete, of no fixed address but previously of St Austell Close, Tamworth, was formally arrested for the murder.

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’.

Streete was also convicted of forcing a girl to perform oral sex on her 16th birthday, raping a 19-year-old and and sexually assaulting a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

A further count of sexual activity with a child was discounted.

Detective Inspector Cheryl Hannan, of the force’s Major Investigations Department, said: ‘I welcome today’s verdict and hope that it will bring some comfort to Keeley’s family and friends.

‘Throughout the police investigation and this trial, the three women who were raped and sexually assaulted by Streete have shown bravery.

‘Keeley’s death shocked everyone in the town and beyond and I would like to thank the local community of Tamworth who helped Keeley’s family and the police investigation.’

In their impact statements, Streete’s three other victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, spoke of the horror they suffered at the hands of the sexual predator.

One woman said: ‘After what he did to me, I thought it was going to destroy me but I haven’t let it.

‘I’m glad the truth has come to the light and that I, the other victims and Keeley’s friends and family are getting the justice that’s deserved.’

Another victim added: ‘After Wesley attacked me, I was scared to tell anyone. However, looking back, if something made you physically sick in your stomach, it is definitely not ok.

‘When I decided to speak out about my experience, I had to fight a lot of demons.

‘A lot of the insecurities I masked over the year’s came back. I have been left with a lot of psychological trauma.’

Another woman added: ‘I believed that it was my fault [that I was raped] as I went back to his house when he invited me and then kissed him.

‘It wasn’t until I heard the sad news concerning Keeley that I found the courage to tell someone.

‘It was at that point that I felt the full force of what happened to me, but by that time I had already dealt with my grief in what I feel was a bad way.’

The family and friends of Keeley Bunker remained dignified as the word ‘guilty’ was read out seven times at Stafford Crown Court earlier today. 

They sat in an overspill court room, due to the social distancing guidelines, watching a feed into the main court room where the jury delivered the verdicts in front of Streete.

There were audible signs of relief while some simply bowed their heads in silence. Moments later an officer from Staffordshire Police read out a statement on there behalf on the steps of the court as the family stood behind.

Many of them were wearing pink ties or flowers in memory of 20-year-old Keeley, who had been due for an interview for her ‘dream’ job working with children in a local school on the day she was murdered.

The family statement said: ‘Keeley Bunker, our Keeley Bunks, was the kindest, most beautiful young lady you could ever wish to meet. Keeley was compassionate, loving, caring and would put others before herself always. 

‘Keeley loved everyone unconditionally and nothing was ever too much trouble. She had many friends, she didn’t realise just how many she had. We know that she was loved by all.

‘We could never have wished for anymore from Keeley, she was perfect in every way. Her life was taken away so cruelly and far too soon. 

‘Keeley had many dreams that have now all been stolen from both her and from us, her family and friends. We will not see Keeley marry, go on to have children, enjoy any holidays. The world was hers and Keeley was just beginning to live a happy life.

‘As Keeley’s family the outcome of this trial will never be enough in terms of justice. It will never bring our Keeley back to us. We miss her so much and words can never express the heartache we feel. 

‘Never, ever will we forget the precious moments we had with our Keeley, together with all of the memories we will always hold dear. We love you Keeley. We would ask that our privacy is respected at this difficult time.’

In a victim impact statement read to court after Streete’s conviction, Marc Ensor, partner of Ms Bunker’s mother Debbie Watkins, said she had been ‘a beautiful, kind, caring young lady’ whose ‘journey in life was only just starting’.

He said the family had been ‘destroyed’ by her death and thoughts of ‘trying to visualise and understand just how such a dreadful thing could have happened to such a beautiful person like Keeley’.

Mr Ensor said Ms Bunker would ‘do anything for anybody’ and looked after her cousin, who had disabilities, or her auntie’s children ‘to take some pressure off’.

‘Keeley loved doing it,’ he said.

‘She didn’t have a bad bone in her body.

‘She had so much love to give and had a bright future.

‘Keeley’s journey in life was only just starting at 20 years of age.

‘A week before she had had her first weekend away to celebrate her birthday and she had so much in life still to sample.

‘Instead, Keeley trusted an old school friend to walk her home and she never made it back.

‘She was led into the darkness and never returned home to her family who loved her dearly.’

He added the family had been given ‘a life sentence’ and hoped justice would be served on Streete, who is due to be sentenced on Friday. 

Christopher Bunker, Ms Bunker’s father, said a once-happy family home was now ‘filled with sadness and emptiness’ since his daughter was ‘cruelly taken’.

He said Ms Bunker’s sister and brother were now ‘a shadow of how they used to be’.

Mr Bunker added: ‘Keeley loved children and on the day that she was discovered, she was due to attend an interview at the infant school she once attended.

‘She often talked about how she’d like three or more children herself.

‘Sadly she will not fulfil that wish.’

He said: ‘I will never be a proud father who walks her down the aisle – all of this has been taken away from me.’

Debbie Watkins, Ms Bunker’s mother, said she had been ‘robbed’ of her ‘precious and beautiful’ daughter.

She added: ‘As a mother I could give you a thousand images and say a million words, but nothing could ever describe the beautiful daughter cruelly taken away from her parents, her family and her friends.

‘Keeley was the kindest, most caring, innocent young lady you could ever meet and was only just starting out in her life.’

She added: ‘All of our lives have been massively broken and they will never be the same again.

‘Such is the hell we feel we are incapable of showing any forgiveness and throughout our lives we will never forget our Keeley.’

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