A man convicted of raping and murdering his friend on the way home from celebrating her birthday has been jailed for a minimum of 29 years.
Wesley Streete, 20, who claimed he “accidentally killed” Keeley Bunker during sex, dumped her body in a brook in Tamworth on 19 September last year.
Ms Bunker had been to a concert to celebrate turning 20 and “trusted” the killer to walk her home.
Streete received a mandatory life sentence at Stafford Crown Court.
The former warehouse packer, previously of St Austell Close, Tamworth, was also found guilty of two other counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault against three other victims.
He dumped Ms Bunker’s body face-down in the brook in Wigginton Park and tried to conceal her with branches.
Streete repeatedly lied about what had happened to her after they returned to Tamworth following a night out at Snobs nightclub in Birmingham.
Sentencing Streete, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said the killer formed a “carefully crafted” scheme of falsehoods following his crime, tailored to fit the evidence.
Prior to leaving for home, Ms Bunker had told a female friend: “I’ve got Wes, he’ll walk me back. It’ll be fine.”
Streete, who once had a football scholarship to play for Lichfield and Tamworth, initially told police he had left her to walk home alone.
He then changed his account at least four times before his trial.
The judge told Streete that, on the way back to Ms Bunker’s house, he was “satisfied you persuaded Keeley to divert to the rugby club, probably on the pretext of going for a smoke”.
He said: “What took place in Wigginton Park is you proceeded to rape Keeley Bunker, in the course of which you murdered her by throttling her, in all probability by placing her in a choke-hold for sufficient period of time to kill her”.
The judge stated the choke-hold would have been “minutes, rather than seconds”.
“When you had finished with her you decided to hide Keeley’s now lifeless body by depositing it in the brook, covering it up with branches.
“You then walked back to your home, went to bed and slept.”
Ms Bunker’s uncle, Jason Brown, found her partially-submerged body during a massive search effort involving family, friends and police.
After Streete’s conviction, Debbie Watkins, Ms Bunker’s mother, said she had been “robbed” of her “precious and beautiful” daughter.
Ms Bunker’s sister described her sibling as “one of the most vibrant, caring and beautiful souls this earth has ever seen”.