Paedophile guilty of the murder of missing girl (15)
A paedophile who groomed a vulnerable schoolgirl who has been missing for eight years has been convicted of her murder.
Robert Ewing (60) killed 15-year-old Paige Chivers in Blackpool in August 2007.
He was also found guilty at Preston Crown of perverting the course of justice by intimidating witnesses.
Ewing was convicted on Tuesday, but the verdicts could not be reported because the jury was still considering the case against fellow defendant Gareth Dewhurst, who was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Yesterday the jury also convicted Dewhurst of a second charge of helping Ewing dispose of Paige's body. He was earlier cleared of a charge of having sex with the body after Ewing had killed her.
Paige went missing on August 23 after a row on the phone with her father Frank about missing cash. He reported her missing on August 26 but the police botched their initial response.
Her father clearly stated she was 15, but her date of birth was wrongly entered on the police system as 1962. As a result the matter was dealt with as though Paige were an adult aged 45. It was not corrected until September 7.
Ewing, formerly of All Hallows Road, Bispham, Blackpool, had developed an "inappropriate sexual interest" in Paige, described in court as a "very troubled and vulnerable'' youngster, before he beat her to death.
Bloodstains were found by a police forensics team in the inner hallway of his flat in 2007. The blood belonged to Paige and Ewing was arrested a few months later in 2008. But he was not charged until last year.
The murder was said to have taken place between August 23 and August 27, 2007. An extensive proof of life inquiry found no evidence Paige was alive.
The jury was told that Ewing's friend Dewhurst (46), of Duncan Avenue, Blackpool, had been overheard in conversation saying he had used his car to dump the teenager's body.
During the trial the jury heard that a "highly stoned'' Dewhurst had told a 16-year-old boy that Ewing killed Paige and had then made him have sex with her corpse before forcing him to use his car dispose of her body.
The pair will be sentenced on July 28.