November 2018

Killer of Blackpool girl Paige Chivers found guilty of abusing children

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The man who groomed and murdered Blackpool girl Paige Chivers has been given a further jail term for subjecting two young children to a catalogue of vile physical and sexual abuse more than a decade before killing the vulnerable teen.

Robert Ewing, 66, was jailed for life in 2015 for the 2007 murder of 15-year-old Paige, whom he had exploited sexually.

It has since emerged that he terrorised a young girl and boy in the early 1990s, with one of the children as young as five.

He was given 15 years in jail after being found guilty of the latest offences at Preston Crown Court – but the court heard due to his ongoing 32-year sentence he is not eligible for parole until he is aged 92.

Judge Philip Parry said Ewing could appear “charming and beguiling” to other adults.

But he told the killer: “Behind closed doors with children you were a brutal, perverted and sadistic bully.

“Many would describe you as evil incarnate. You are in judgement a modern day monster.”

He said Ewing made the girl’s life “an utter misery” while treating the boy “like a play thing”.

The court heard he subjected the little boy to physical abuse by tying him up, throwing urine at him, defecating on his bed, throwing him around, dragging him by his hair and hitting him with a back scratcher.

He was found guilty of two counts of indecently assaulting the boy, and a count of child cruelty towards each of the children.

Some jurors were visibly distressed as they were then told he was responsible for Paige’s murder and other offences.

Ewing, wearing a bottle green jumper, sat with his arms folded gave no reaction as the girl, now a grown woman, stood in the witness box to tell the court how his depraved behaviour affected her.

She said: “He tried to rid me of my pride, my dignity, and my identity.

“He became a permanent image in my mind. I saw him all the time. I would wake up and I couldn’t breathe.”

She said she needed years of therapy to deal with the effects of her abuse, adding: “Now I know I can walk away from all of this and be free.”

The boy, in a statement, said: “I really believed when he made threats to kill me I thought he would do it.

“I was made to feel I must have been so naughty that Robert Ewing was punishing me for what I had done.”

The court previously heard how the child killer forced the girl to watch while he tortured the boy, who was just seven or eight-years-old at the time.

He would subject her to cold baths and would force her head under the water until she couldn’t breathe. The girl, who was aged as young as nine, was frequently woken at night and made to crawl around and pick up fluff from the carpet.

The boy was also made to stand naked on a chair while Ewing watched him, and he would sexually assault him.

Previously prosecutor Robert Dudley told the jury: “He would be told that was what he got for being a dirty, disgusting thing.”

The court heard the boy’s headmaster raised concerns about rope burns on the boy’s wrists – caused by Ewing – but he was “too scared to tell the truth” and blamed them on another child.

A later police investigation saw Ewing convicted of two counts of gross indecency and one count of indecent assault at Wolverhampton Crown Court in 1995.

In 2007, Ewing, formerly of Kincraig Place, Bispham, was convicted of murdering Paige Chivers, who was last seen on August 23, 2007, at a bus stop in Ashfield Road, Bispham.

The 15-year-old’s body has never been found but Ewing was convicted of killing her in his flat after bloodstains were found.

He was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

During a search of Ewing’s flat in All Hallows Road, Bispham, police officers found a hoard of cuttings about the case and about the murder.

July 2015

Paige murderer jailed for more than three decades

2

Robert Ewing (left) murdered Paige and Gareth Dewhurst was found guilty of helping to dispose of her body

The man who murdered Blackpool teenager Paige Chivers has been jailed for 33 years.

Robert Ewing, 60, was found guilty of murdering the 15-year-old in his Blackpool flat in August 2007.

Earlier this month, a jury convicted him, after the court was told he had developed an “inappropriate sexual interest” in Paige before he beat her to death.

Paige’s body has never been found.

Bloodstains belonging to the “vulnerable” teenager were later found by a police forensics team in the inner hallway of his flat in All Hallows Road, Bispham.

The murder was said to have taken place between August 23 and August 27 2007.

On August 23, Paige had packed two carrier bags with clothes and left her home in Longford Avenue, Bispham, after a family row.

Later the same day she was spotted at a nearby bus stop with the defendant.

An extensive proof of life inquiry found no evidence Paige was alive and she never claimed a ‘significant’ inheritance sum left to her after her mother’s death.

Less than a fortnight before Paige went missing, Ewing contacted police to tell them that a ‘problem child’ had turned up on his doorstep having been thrown out by her father.

Prosecutors said he was effectively “testing the water” and that there had been “very little reaction” by officials.

Ewing was also found guilty by a jury at Preston Crown Court of perverting the course of justice by intimidating witnesses and providing false information to the police.

Co-defendant Gareth Dewhurst, 46, of Duncan Avenue, Blackpool, was convicted of perverting the course of justice and assisting Ewing to dispose of Paige’s body.

Police say they remain committed to finding Paige’s body.

July 2015

Paige Chivers murder: Man guilty of killing missing Blackpool schoolgirl

A man has been found guilty of murdering missing Blackpool schoolgirl Paige Chivers.

The body of the 15-year-old, who was reported missing in August 2007, has never been found.

Robert Ewing, 60, denied murder but was convicted of killing her by a jury at Preston Crown Court.

He had an “inappropriate sexual interest” in the teenager and took advantage of her chaotic upbringing, the court was told.

Co-defendant Gareth Dewhurst, 46, of Duncan Avenue, Bispham was cleared of a serious sexual offence but convicted of helping dispose of Paige’s body.

Ewing, of Kincraig Place, Bispham, was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice by intimidating witnesses and laying false trails.

This included an anonymous phone call to police about a “problem child” he said had turned up on his doorstep.

Vital days were lost in the search for Paige due to her age being wrongly logged by police as 45 instead of 15.

They did not investigate for 12 days as they had recorded her year of birth as 1962.

Her age was not corrected until 7 September 2007 when police started their inquiries into her disappearance.

Lancashire Police accepted the error and voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Blood spots matching Paige’s DNA were found at the flat Ewing lived at the time, in All Hallows Road, Bispham in Blackpool.

Ewing claimed they came from a cut on Paige’s arm which he had treated.

However, no other blood was found at the flat and a piece of carpet had been removed shortly after the teenager’s disappearance.

Ewing claimed he replaced it because his cat had urinated on it.

Ewing also made entries in his diary which the prosecution said related to sexual acts with Paige.

After the verdicts were returned, her brother said in a statement:

“Paige was a fun loving kid, she was bright and funny.

“She was only a child when our mum passed away in 2007. It was so hard on us all at the time and I would go as far as to say it broke us.”

He described Paige as “bonny” and “outgoing” and said they thought she was “just out with mates” when she disappeared.

But “days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years.”

“We used to go out in the car looking for Paige and sometimes do a ‘double take’ when we saw some girls and anyone similar to her. We would drive around the block and check again, raising our hopes only to be let down again, you never stop looking,” he said.

“I’m concerned that I will never know what her last words were, if she was in any pain or even if I will find out what actually went on the days she went missing.

“I hope and pray that the people responsible tell us where she is so we can lay her to rest. This will at least give us some closure and maybe stop any nightmares, images and worry about where she is.”

Paige was reported missing by her father Frank Chivers on 26 August 2007.

She had left home three days earlier with two carrier bags of her belongings after her brother said their father threatened to “kill her” when he got home from work over stealing money from him.

Although her body has never been found there is no evidence that Paige is alive despite numerous appeals, including a £30,000 reward to help solve her disappearance.

She had been in line to inherit a “significant amount of money” on her 18th birthday following her mother’s death in February 2007.
‘Complex case’

The prosecution believe Ewing murdered her between 23-27 August.

Det Supt Andy Webster, who led the investigation, said it had been a “challenging and complex case”.

He said Paige’s family, and particularly her brother, had shown “tremendous bravery”.

“It is nearly eight years since Paige disappeared. She has never been found. To this end, we remain committed to finding Paige and I would appeal for Ewing and Dewhurst to now tell us where she is so that she can be laid to rest with dignity.”

The pair will be sentenced on 28 July.

Paige’s father was murdered in 2013, aged 49, in an unrelated incident. He was found with a head injury at his home in Layton, Blackpool.

Sean Conlon, 44, of no fixed address, was convicted of his murder and jailed for a minimum of 15 years at Preston Crown Court in January of last year.