The man accused of murdering Blackpool schoolgirl Paige Chivers was “paranoid” about the police investigation into her disappearance, a court heard.
The jury at Preston Crown Court was yesterday played a series of covert recording made of conversations between Robert Ewing and Gareth Dewhurst.
I think he’s basically under suspicion. I think he could be a prime suspect
The court learned of conversations from last year between the pair and their acquaintances when Ewing denied murdering 15-year-old Paige, who has not been seen since 2007.
Ewing, 60, of All Hallows Road, Bispham, denies murdering Paige. He also denies intending to pervert the course of justice.
Dewhurst, 46, of Duncan Avenue, Bispham, denies assisting in the disposal of her body, intending to pervert the course of justice and a sex offence.
Jurors heard Ewing and Dewhurst discussing the police investigation after learning that another man had been quizzed by detectives investigating the case on April 14, 2014.
Ewing said: “I think he’s basically under suspicion. I think he could be a prime suspect.”
He went on to say the officers must have thought the man was a “weirdo”, adding: “They know we are neo-Nazis but we are not weirdos.”
Discussing a mutual acquaintance, he told Dewhurst: “I don’t want to ask him – he will drop me in it.”
When Dewhurst told Ewing he was “paranoid” the 60-year-old replied: “It’s better to be paranoid. At least it shows you have got your eyes open.”
He then talked about the time he “saw that pig” – referring to a police officer he thought was watching him.
He added: “He was looking at me. I thought I will go back in and make out I’ve forgotten something.
“He was just sat there on a swing, a pig.”
In the early hours of April 15, 2014 – just hours before police publicised a £30,000 reward for information – Ewing made a call to Dewhurst’s phone, the court heard.
He said: “He’s dug a hole for himself. I can’t see me and you getting nicked.”
He later voiced fears police – who he said had asked about them – still suspected the pair and would “lean on” the man to get him to name them.
He said: “I knew (he) was going to be the weak link here.
“The bombshell was when he said I didn’t kill her Bob, I didn’t.
“Me and you are still suspects. We are still suspects but we haven’t done a thing.”