The judge has started summing up the evidence in the murder trial of missing Blackpool teenager Paige Chivers.
As the trial draws to its conclusion, Mr Justice Baker has been reminding the jury about key points they must consider when deciding if Robert Ewing, 60, killed 15-year-old Paige and his friend Gareth Dewhurst, 46, helped dispose of her body after committing a sex offence against her.
Paige (pictured) has not been seen since she went missing in August 2007 after a row with her dad.
The prosecution relies on evidence that tiny spatters of blood, with a DNA profile matching Paige’s, were found on a skirting board and architrave in Ewing’s flat in All Hallows Road.
There have also been reports Dewhurst, of Duncan Avenue, Bispham, confessed he had helped dispose of Paige’s body to the son of a woman he was having a relationship with.
Ewing explained the blood in his flat must have come from a time when Paige arrived at his flat with a cut to her elbow and he had helped her clean it up, Preston Crown Court was told.
But forensic analyst Angela Forshaw said the stains were smaller than typical drops of blood and would be more likely caused by an impact to an existing blood stain.
Mr Justice Baker also reminded the jury of evidence of members of the Washer family that Dewhurst had said he had been forced to ‘go with’ Paige and help dispose of her body.
Dewhurst was in a relationship with Mary Washer who lived with her son Michael at a house in Blackpool.
One evening Michael returned home to find his mother and Dewhurst drinking at the kitchen table. His mother was drunk and went to lie on the sofa while Michael rolled a marijuana cigarette and smoked it with Dewhurst.
Mr Washer said Dewhurst was “stoned” and said he appeared “angry and paranoid” as he told him about an evening when he had returned home to a phone call from Bob (Ewing), telling him to get over to his flat.
Describing the claims made by Dewhurst, the judge said: “When he arrived he found Paige was dead.
“Bob had made him help get rid of the body. He said he was going to have to get rid of his car.”
Michael Washer said he had not told the police as that was not the done thing in his circles but when his mother Mary asked him what had been said it confirmed what she thought she had heard Dewhurst saying.
Mary’s daughter Rosemary Washer, who lived at a mother and baby unit with Tiffany Bell - a friend of Paige’s who had been in a relationship with Ewing - said Dewhurst had told her he would not be able to give her lifts any more because he had to get rid of his car.
The judge had also been summing up evidence of an alleged campaign of intimidation against members of the Washer family after his alleged confessions were reported to the police.
Ewing, of All Hallows Road, Bispham, denies murdering Paige and Dewhurst, 46, denies assisting in the disposal of her body.
The jury is expected to retire to consider the evidence today.
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