Murder trial jury hears covert tapes

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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The jury in the Paige Chivers murder trial listened to covert recording of conversations between the man accused of her murder and his co-accused.

The recordings were made as police stepped up their investigations, years after the teenager’s disappearance from her home in Longford Avenue, Bispham, in 2007.

Paige Chivers

Paige Chivers

The muffled recordings were taken from the homes of Robert Ewing, 60, and Gareth Dewhurst.

The prosecution claim that 15-year-old Paige was killed at Ewing’s flat on All Hallows Road, Bispham.

Co-defendant Gareth Dewhurst, 46, of Duncan Avenue, Bispham, denies a serious sexual offence, assisting an offender and also doing an act tended and intended to pervert the course of justice.

In the tapes played to the jury at Preston Crown Court, yesterday, the men can be heard discussing arrests and interviews of others who were questioned after police increased the reward for information about the missing 15-year-old to £30,000.

After the reward was raised, Ewing told officers another man had confessed to killing Paige.

Apparently speaking to himself, he was heard to say: “I don’t even want a reward. I’m not bothered about it.

“I, Robert Ewing, could have solved this single handedly on my own but it has been ruined by incompetent CID.

“Why do you think I came forward?

“When he told me this I came forward to see you.

“I’ve passed on vital information which could have solved this. I’ve solved your case for you.”

However, in a later conversation in which Dewhurst said he believed Paige was still alive, Ewing said: “The more I think about it, how stupid are they going to look when that clown turns up and says ‘Hi, it’s Paige, I believe people are looking for me.’”

The men said they thought Paige may have moved to Ireland and be living with gypsies under a different name.

But Ewing said: “That’s what I’ve been saying all along. But then, I think she would have come forward when her dad was killed, but…

“Or, if she is dead...well……”

Paige’s father, Frank, was murdered in 2013.

Both men sat with their heads in their hands as the conversations were played out in the court room.

The prosecution has alleged that Ewing, who was known as Bob, had a sexual interest in the girl.

And it is also claimed that Dewhurst helped in disposing of Paige’s body.

At an earlier hearing the court was told that in a typed statement Ewing, 54 when Paige disappeared, described the girl as a friend.

He said Paige had turned up at his flat with her clothes in two carrier bags following a row with her father.

The court heard her father, Frank, had been angry about her “pinching” money and Paige had left home.

(Proceeding)