‘Tragic flat used to sell drugs’

Walter Robinson Court, where Frank Chivers (below) lived and was found collapsed in his flat. Bottom: Paige Chivers.
Walter Robinson Court, where Frank Chivers (below) lived and was found collapsed in his flat. Bottom: Paige Chivers.
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The man accused of murdering the father of a missing Blackpool schoolgirl had previously sold him heroin and had used his flat to supply drugs, a court heard.

Sean Conlon, 46, of no fixed address, is on trial charged with murdering Frank Chivers – the father of Paige, who was 15 when she went missing in 2007.

Frank Chivers

Frank Chivers

Preston Crown Court heard Conlon had been staying at Mr Chivers’ 15th floor flat in Walter Robinson Court, Layton, for an extended period.

Yesterday the jury heard evidence from Mr Chivers’ best friend Sharon Garnett about how she tried to save his life with help from an 999 operator after finding him unconscious.

Mrs Garnett spoke of Conlon having called her into the living room by saying “You had best come in here and sort this silly man out.”

Initially she said she thought Mr Chivers was messing around, having fallen off a small stool and lying on bin bags full of bedding.

Paige Chivers

Paige Chivers

Mrs Garnett said: “He was sort of twitching and sort of jumping. I thought he was putting it on. I did actually say to him ‘stop messing about, you’re frightening me’. He didn’t respond.”

She accepted that she had not seen any assault take place.

Mrs Garnett said she was shaking so much trying to check for Mr Chivers’ pulse she asked Conlon or his girlfriend Carly Turner to help her. Conlon then helped to place him in the recovery position.

A recording of her 999 call was played in court.

Conlon denies murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

The prosecution claims Mr Chivers died during a petty argument over £20 belonging to the defendant’s girlfriend.

Michael Hayton, prosecuting, said Conlon, in temper, delivered a violent blow which caused the rupture of a blood vessel and Mr Chivers died from internal bleeding.

Mrs Garnett told the court she had been doing a night shift before returning to the flat on August 11. Mr Chivers and the defendant were there talking.

Carly Turner came to the flat and her boyfriend, Conlon, asked about where she had got to the night before.

She went on to say that £20 was missing from her bag. Conlon said it had to be someone there.

Mrs Garnett told the court both she and Mr Chivers put £20 on a table.

She said: “Sean was quite angry about it and jumped up. I was quite upset and was crying at the time.

“I was concerned, a bit worried it might go too far.”

Asked by the prosecution if she had felt frightened by Conlon she replied: “I wouldn’t like to cross him or upset him.”

She said he seemed to calm down when the cash was put on the table. The jury heard at one stage when she was out of the living room Conlon called her.

He was sat on a chair and Mr Chivers had fallen backwards from a stool.

An operator who went on to take her 999 call instructed her on how to carry out chest compressions, twice a second, 600 times. She was told to keep doing that until paramedics arrived.

After Mr Chivers was taken to hospital it was the next day before she discovered he had died.

Defence barrister David Fish, asked about the victim’s health and she told him he used heroin everyday and he was an alcoholic. He said he felt alright, but looked very jaundiced. Some blood tests had been carried out, but he had not had the results.

Mr Fish asked: “I suggest he sold heroin from Mr Chivers’ flat and other people outside the immediate circle would turn up and be let in and would buy heroin off Sean Conlon”.

Mrs Garnett replied “Yes”. She also agreed that occasionally the defendant would let Mr Chivers have some heroin, for letting him do that.

Mrs Garnett accepted that whatever happened, she had not witnessed it because she was in another part of the flat.


• Mr Chivers’ daughter Paige, was last seen getting on a bus in Ashfield Road, Bispham in August 2007. Despite a nationwide search she has not been found.

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