Paige Chivers has now been officially declared dead – more than eight years after she disappeared.
A verdict of unlawful killing was returned at an inquest today, which was opened following the conclusion of the murder trial that saw her killer jailed for 33 years.
We hope one day they will give Paige’s body up so we can finally lay her to rest
Her grandfather was the only member of family present at Blackpool Town Hall for the hearing, which brings to an end a painful chapter in their lives.
The ruling means the 15-year-old’s death can be formally registered despite her body never being found since she went missing in August 2007.
Police today vowed to keep up the search for Paige and urged her killer and his accomplice to reveal where they hid the body.
Det Chief Insp Mark Rothwell,the deputy senior investigating officer on the case, said after the hearing: “This is the end of another chapter – however the book won’t be closed until we find Paige’s body.
“We hope one day they will give Paige’s body up so we can finally lay her to rest.”
In July, Robert Ewing, 61, was convicted of murder. Gareth Dewhurst, 46, was found guilty of helping dispose of the body. Both were found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
The inquest heard Paige was seen at Ewing’s Bispham flat, on All Hallows Road, on August 24 – the day after she left home following a row over money with her dad.
Det Chief Insp Rothwell said: “We believe that was the last sighting of her alive.”
Traces of Paige’s blood was later found at the flat during the investigation, despite it having been cleaned almost ‘industrially’. Last year’s court case heard Ewing lied and said she had visited his flat with a cut on her arm.
Det Chief Insp Rothwell said yesterday Ewing had a ‘sexual interest’ in Paige.
He added: “That injury never occurred to Paige. It was never seen by her friends or family and she was never treated for it. A blow was certainly struck in the hallway.”
Despite lengthy ‘proof of life’ inquiries, police were unable to find any evidence Paige was still alive.
Recording his verdict, Mr Wilson said Paige died at Ewing’s All Hallows Road flat between 5pm on August 24 and 11.59pm on August 26.
In the absence of a body, he ruled the cause of death was ‘unascertained’.
He said: “Paige Emily Chivers was last seen at approximately 5pm on August 24. She died as a result of suffering a fatal blow while in the hallway of that property.
“There is no plausible evidence this was a death due to natural causes.”
Previous stories on the murder trial of Paige Chivers...