'Murdered' Paige Chivers may be alive, claims defence barrister
A 15-year-old alleged murder victim could still be alive eight years after her disappearance, a defence barrister has said.
A jury at Preston Crown Court was told they could not rule out the possibility that Paige Chivers could be living outside the UK.
Robert Ewing (60) is said to have groomed the "very troubled and vulnerable" Blackpool youngster before he beat her to death, possibly with a hammer, and then disposed of her body. But in his closing speech on behalf of Ewing, his barrister Stuart Denney QC suggested the "off the rails" and "wild" teenager had decided to run away and stay away.
He said: "If ever there was a girl who had motive and personality to disappear for good, that girl was Paige Chivers in August 2007.
"We are going to suggest, with reasons connected with her background, there were powerful reasons for Paige Chivers to finally leave home.
"Can I be sure she is alive? No I cannot, but equally you cannot be sure she is dead either. The evidence is simply not good enough to make any rational, careful person be sure."
An extensive proof of life inquiry had not found any evidence Paige was alive and she had yet to claim a "significant" inheritance left to her on her mother's death once she turned 18, the jury heard.
The Crown has told the jury they can be sure Paige is dead even though no body has been found.
Ewing, formerly of All Hallows Road, Bispham, Blackpool, denies killing Paige in August 2007.
He also denies intending to pervert the course of public justice by intimidating witnesses and providing false information.
Gareth Dewhurst (46), of Duncan Avenue, Blackpool, also denies intending to pervert the course of public justice and other charges.