‘I never touched Frank’

Frank Chivers and (below) missing daughter Paige
Frank Chivers and (below) missing daughter Paige
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The man accused of murdering the father of a missing Blackpool schoolgirl with a violent blow has denied ever touching him.

Sean Conlon told a jury that Frank Chivers - father of Paige, who was 14 when she disappeared in 2007 - simply “keeled over” after getting to his feet in the living room of his 15th floor high rise flat.

Paige Chivers

Paige Chivers

Conlon, 44, of no fixed address told Preston Crown Court: “He stood up, swayed and went over in about three seconds. He ended up on the bin bags.”

He admitted he thought his friend was pretending to faint, but went on to help place him in the recovery position.

Conlon denies murdering Mr Chivers on August 11 last year and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

Prosecutors claim he struck Mr Chivers with a deliberate blow in a “petty” argument over £20 missing from his girlfriend Carl Turner’s purse. The court heard Mr Chivers was taken to hospital from his flat at Walter Robinson Court, Layton but never recovered.

A Home Office pathologist gave evidence to say she found a mark extending from his left cheek, to his neck, consistent with a footwear mark.

At the start of his evidence, Conlon accepted having previous convictions that included violence. He described himself as being “brought up in the criminal fraternity”.

He had used “recreational” drugs like cannabis since turning 15 and moved onto hard drugs from his early 20s.

To pay for heroin, which helped him with pain relief, he burgled homes, broke into sheds and cars. But he found it easier to sell drugs.

Conlon said he would make enough to fund his own habit and that was the situation up to August 11 last year.

If someone wanted drugs they could phone him for a meeting, he explained, and would use houses or flats for supplying.

He said regarding known heroin addict Mr Chivers’ address: “Frank gave me permission to sell from there. I gave him gear every day.

“I’d known him for years. He was a friend.”

He had been staying at the flat around four to five months before his friend died. Conlon said that on the night of Saturday August 10 he and his then girlfriend, had gone out to Flamingos nightclub.

He could not find her in the club later and was a bit tipsy when he walked the 10-minute journey to Layton early the following morning.

“I said ‘one of you has took £20’.” That was directed at Mr Chivers and his friend Sharon Garnett.

“Frank said ‘I’ve not had it.’ Sharon said exactly the same.

“They were my friends. I was more hurt than anything”.

Conlon said he and Mr Chivers went on to talk about a resettlement grant of around £4,500 he was due to get when he moved out of the flat.

“I was talking louder”, he told the court. “Frank started crying, getting upset. We were still talking about the money. I was telling him not to be stupid”.

Conlon told the court he left the flat as he was carrying heroin. He added: “I jumped up. I had not moved towards him. I swore at him.

“As Frank stood up he said ‘Conny listen’ and swayed. I heard a noise and that was it. I wouldn’t touch Frank.”


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