Age blunder hampered Lancashire murder investigation

Paige Chivers
Paige Chivers
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Lancashire police are being investigated after an error meant the disappearance of a teenager was not properly investigated until almost two weeks after she was reported missing.

Blackpool schoolgirl Paige Chivers, 15, went missing on August 23, 2007, after a row on the phone with her father Frank about missing cash.

He reported her missing three days later but the police botched their initial response.

Preston Crown Court heard 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 who had moved on voluntarily, rather than a girl of 15 who was missing from home. It was not corrected until September 7.

Lancashire Police said it will refer the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission now the trial is over.

Robert Ewing, 60, was found guilty of murder, while co-defendant Gareth Dewhurst, 46, was convicted of helping dispose of the body.

Both were found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We fully recognise and accept that an error was made when Paige was first reported missing.

“Quite simply her year of birth was recorded as 1962 and not 1992.

“While our focus quite rightly up to this juncture has been on the criminal investigation, this matter will now be voluntarily referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.”

The court heard Ewing groomed Paige before killing her at his flat in Bispham.

Paige’s family and police have now called for the pair to tell them where they hid her body.