Radio Sandwell News

Paige Chivers: Man jailed for murdering Blackpool teen

2015-07-28 19:32:22

Paige ChiversPaige was reported missing three days after leaving her home

A man convicted of murdering Blackpool teenager Paige Chivers has been jailed for life and will serve at least 33 years.

The 15-year-old was reported missing in August 2007, but has never been found.

Robert Ewing, 60, of Kincraig Place, Bispham, was convicted of murder at Preston Crown Court on 10 July.

Gareth Dewhurst, 46, of Duncan Avenue, Bispham, who was found guilty of helping dispose of her body, was jailed for eight years.

Ewing was described as a "devious" paedophile who murdered Paige to stop her reporting their sexual contact.

Sentencing him to life, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker told Ewing he was "intelligent" and "devious" and had carried out a "carefully planned and executed murder" to avoid the prospect of returning to jail.

'Easy target'

He said Paige's life was "in turmoil" in the summer of 2007 after her mother had died in February and her late father's addiction to alcohol worsened to the extent that he largely abandoned her.

She was "sexually promiscuous" and an "easy target", which was recognised by Ewing, whose flat near her home in Bispham was "something of a magnet" for young girls who he allowed to smoke, drink alcohol and take drugs.

Preston Crown Court heard Ewing exploited the vulnerable teenager for his sexual gratification and then decided to silence her when she threatened to go to the authorities.

The jurors were not told that Ewing had previous convictions for child sex offences.

He served a 12-month jail sentence in 1995 for gross indecency with a 13-year-old girl, whom he also indecently assaulted.

Ewing, who smiled for his police mug shot photograph, sat with his arms folded for most of the hearing and calmly walked from the dock after sentencing.

The judge said Dewhurst had been a "willing, if not enthusiastic, participant". He was jailed for seven years for assisting an offender and an additional year for intending to pervert the course of justice by intimidating witnesses.

Robert Ewing and Gareth DewhurstRobert Ewing (left) murdered Paige, and Gareth Dewhurst was found guilty of helping to dispose of her body

Bloodstains in flat

The murder was said to have taken place between 23 and 27 August 2007.

Bloodstains belonging to the teenager were found by a police forensics team in the inner hallway of Ewing's flat.

Paige had packed two carrier bags with clothes and left her home in Longford Avenue, Bispham, after a family row.

She was spotted at a nearby bus stop with Ewing.

An extensive proof of life inquiry - conducted in murder cases where there is no body - found no evidence Paige was alive and she never claimed a "significant" inheritance sum left to her after her mother's death.

Less than a fortnight before Paige went missing, Ewing contacted police to tell them that a "problem child" had turned up on his doorstep having been thrown out by her father.

Prosecutors said he was effectively "testing the water" and that there had been "very little reaction" by officials.

Victim impact statement from Paige's sister Madison Houghton

"Paige was only a kid when her mum (Sheila) passed away in 2007. I would say it broke us. I think it hit Paige hard because of her age.

"Every birthday is a reminder that Paige is no longer with us to open her cards and to celebrate with her."

She said she thought Paige would have gone on to study hair and beauty and would have been "a brilliant Mum."

"Not a day goes by that we don't think about her. It should not have happened to my bonny outgoing sister.

"We all have big holes in our hearts that can no longer be replaced."

Ewing was also found guilty by a jury of perverting the course of justice by intimidating witnesses and providing false information to the police.

Joanne Cunliffe, from the Crown Prosecution Service North West complex casework unit, said: "At the time of her disappearance Paige had very little stability in her life and Robert Ewing took advantage of this.

"He was a middle-aged man who befriended her, not for any charitable reasons, but because he had an inappropriate sexual interest in her."

She added: "Neither of the defendants has ever shown any remorse and over the years since Paige went missing they have done everything they could to cover their tracks, to divert enquiries away from them and try to put the blame on other people."

Police say they "remain committed" to finding Paige's body.


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