Man wrongly accused of murder ‘snapped’

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A man wrongly accused of murdering missing Blackpool teenager Paige Chivers lost his temper and threatened to kill a man because of the stress of his name being put to police, a court was told.

Gareth Dewhurst still suffered the effects of being arrested and investigated by detectives four years ago, Preston Crown Court was told.

The court heard how things came to a head when he spotted the son of an ex-girlfriend in Layton.

Bitterness had surrounded the break-up of the relationship and he threatened the man when he saw him.

The 45-year-old painter and decorator, of Duncan Avenue, Blackpool, was placed on 12 months supervision by a judge at Preston Crown Court who accepted that his behaviour last September had been completely out of character.

Dewhurst had pleaded guilty to an offence of affray.

Joseph Allman, prosecuting, said six years ago, the defendant had had a relationship with the mother of the victim.

On the afternoon of September 20, the victim was walking on Westcliffe Drive, Layton, when the defendant pulled up beside him in a red van and shouted through the passenger window: “I’m going to kill you”.

The man went into a nearby shop before leaving a short time later and walking along Layton Road. But the van re-appeared, was driven onto the pavement and Dewhurst said: “You’re dead. I’m going to kill you”.

The defendant was seen to get out of the van and again shout: “I’m going to kill you”. His face was described as being “screwed up with rage”.

Dewhurst took out a spade from the van, stood holding it in the road, before driving off.

Moments later, he re-appeared and threatened: “I know where you live. I’ll see you when you get home”.

Julie Taylor, defending, explained there had been some bitterness involved when Dewhurst ended the relationship with the woman in the past.

She told the judge that Paige Chivers has been missing, presumed dead for a number of years. She went missing in 2007, then aged 15.

When the relationship broke down there was an anonymous phone call, reporting Dewhurst for the alleged murder of Paige.

Miss Taylor added: “That was about four years ago. It has had a huge impact on the defendant.

“He was arrested by the police on suspicion of murder. He is a man who lives with and cares for his elderly father.

“His car and his father’s car were taken away for forensic analysis. The impact of that arrest and being under police investigation for an offence he had nothing to do with caused him a great deal of stress.”


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