Murder accused: ‘I am convinced Paige is alive’

Missing teenager Paige Chivers
Missing teenager Paige Chivers
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The man accused of murdering Blackpool teenager Paige Chivers has told a court: “Paige is still alive.”

Robert Ewing, 60, has been speaking about the schoolgirl who he described as a friend and saying he always thought she was older than 15 – although he insists his relationship with Paige was not sexual.

I am absolutely convinced to this day that she is still alive somewhere

Defending himself from the witness box at Preston Crown Court, Ewing, formerly of All Hallows Road, Bispham, said: “I am absolutely convinced to this day that she is still alive somewhere.”

When police searched the former BNP member’s flat during the course of their investigation into Paige’s disappearance they discovered files, diaries, newspaper clippings and photographs.

Ewing denied a diary entry made in 2007, listing a Snow Patrol CD, boxing equipment and some letters was a coded reference to sexual activity with the schoolgirl, telling the jury it was a reminder to buy Christmas presents for his children, whose initials corresponded to those letters.

Another file was discovered labelled ‘Paige Chivers’ which contained a number of handwritten notes Ewing had made in a bid to tell his story about Paige to newspapers.

But no one took him up on his offer of a story and he was arrested shortly after on suspicion of murdering Paige between August 23 and 27, 2007.

When asked by his defence lawyer John Jones QC if he was obsessed with the teenager, Ewing replied: “Not obsessive.

“It sounds odd a 58-year-old fella and she was 17 or 18, or 15 as it transpires, but I regarded her as a friend.”

Another file labelled ‘The life and death of Frank Chivers, Blackpool’s hardest man’ contained articles relating to Paige’s father who died after a fight at his flat in 2014.

Ewing said he had introduced himself to Paige’s father in the months before her disappearance and told him she would sometimes stay at his flat.

But he said: “I didn’t invite him round or anything. Some of the rumours you’d hear about him taking on half of Blackpool and fighting with the police, you know.

“They were just rumours.”

He told the court he had taken an interest in the disappearance of another Blackpool schoolgirl, Charlene Downes, after meeting her mother at rallies when he was a member of the English Defence League.

But through his not guilty plea, father and grandfather Ewing maintains he did not kill Paige or have any involvement in her disappearance.

He explained droplets of Paige’s blood had fallen on to the door frame at his flat when she had arrived with a cut to her elbow and he had helped her clean it up and put a dressing on it.

The hall carpet had been replaced after the cat repeatedly soiled it and he had OCD which resulted in him cleaning the flat obsessively, he told the court.

Ewing denies a charge of murder.

His friend Gareth Dewhurst – who he met through the Blackpool BNP branch – denies a serious sex offence and a charge of assisting an offender.