Paige Chivers murder: Man guilty of killing missing Blackpool girl
A man has been found guilty of murdering missing Blackpool teenager Paige Chivers.
The body of the 15-year-old, who was reported missing in August 2007, has never been found.
Robert Ewing, 60, denied murder but was convicted of killing her by a jury at Preston Crown Court.
Co-defendant Gareth Dewhurst, 46, of Duncan Avenue, Bispham was cleared of a serious sexual offence but convicted of helping dispose of Paige’s body.
Ewing of Kincraig Place, Bispham, was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice by intimidating witnesses and laying false trails.
This included an anonymous phone call to police about a “problem child” he said had turned up on his doorstep.
He had an “inappropriate sexual interest” in the teenager and took advantage of her chaotic upbringing, the court was told.
Vital days were lost in the search for Paige due to her age being wrongly logged by police as 45 instead of 15.
They did not investigate for 12 days as they had recorded her year of birth as 1962.
Her age was not corrected until 7 September 2007 when police started their inquiries into her disappearance.
Lancashire Police accepted the error and voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Paige was reported missing three days after leaving her home
Blood spots matching Paige’s DNA were found at the flat Ewing lived at the time, on All Hallows Road, Bispham, Blackpool.
Ewing claimed they came from a cut on Paige’s arm which he had treated.
However, no other blood was found at the flat and a piece of carpet had been removed from the flat shortly after the teenager’s disappearance.
Ewing claimed he replaced it because his cat had urinated on it.
Ewing also made entries in his diary which the prosecution said related to sexual acts with Paige.
‘Fun loving kid’
After the verdicts were returned, her brother said in a statement: “Paige was a fun loving kid, she was bright and funny. She was only a child when our mum passed away in 2007. It was so hard on us all at the time and I would go as far as to say it broke us.”
He described Paige as “bonny” and “outgoing” and said they thought that she was “just out with mates” when she disappeared.
But “days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years.”
He added: “We used to go out in the car looking for Paige and sometimes do a ‘double take’ when we saw some girls and anyone similar to her. We would drive around the block and check again, raising our hopes only to be let down again, you never stop looking.
“I’m concerned that I will never know what her last words were, if she was in any pain or even if I will find out what actually went on the days she went missing.
“I hope and pray that the people responsible tell us where she is so we can lay her to rest. This will at least give us some closure and maybe stop any nightmares, images and worry about where she is.”