Face­book photo puts dad in dock for ‘mur­der’... 49 YEARS later

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Tom Witherow

AN abu­sive step­fa­ther lied about a tod­dler’s mur­der for nearly 50 years be­fore the truth was fi­nally un­cov­ered, thanks to a faded photo posted on Face­book, a court heard yes­ter­day.

David Dearlove, 71, main­tained 19-month-old Paul Booth died as the re­sult of an ac­ci­den­tal fall from his bed on Oc­to­ber 1, 1968.

He was fi­nally charged with mur­der af­ter the tod­dler’s brother Peter Booth, who was nearly four when Paul died, be­came an­gry when he saw an old black and white photo of the lit­tle boy be­ing held by Dearlove on Face­book.

For years Mr Booth had been trau­ma­tised by the mem­ory of what he saw through a crack in a door on the night Paul died, a jury was told. He had tried and failed to get the po­lice to re­open the in­ves­ti­ga­tion on three oc­ca­sions be­fore he saw the Face­book pic­ture in 2015 and de­manded that Dearlove take it down.

He also told a fam­ily mem­ber for the first time what he had seen 47 years ear­lier. The cousin told po­lice Paul’s death had been mur­der and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Yes­ter­day Mr Booth fi­nally told his story in pub­lic, say­ing he wit­nessed Dearlove swing­ing his brother by the an­kles and smash­ing his head against a fire sur­round.

Pros­e­cu­tor Richard Wright, QC, told the court there was no doubt a frac­tured skull had been the cause of Paul’s death.

Dearlove claimed Paul fell out of bed and struck his head on the floor. He was ar­rested last year in Great Yar­mouth, Nor­folk, where he lives with his wife of 36 years.

The court was told that the boys’ mother Carol Booth, who is now dead, had three chil­dren in­clud­ing a girl, Stephanie, and had started a re­la­tion­ship with Dearlove in early 1968. They broke up in 1970.

Mr Booth, 53, yes­ter­day faced his al­legedly abu­sive step­fa­ther across the court­room to tell of the night he saw his brother’s death at their home in Stock­ton-on-Tees.

He said: ‘I sneaked down­stairs be­cause I was hun­gry, you learned to sneak about qui­etly when I was a kid. I went to the door that leads into the front room, it was ajar and I stuck my head through and saw David Dearlove and Paul in there. I could see David Dearloves’s back with his arms out­stretched swing­ing Paul round. He swung round and caught Paul’s head on the fire­place.

‘There was a yelp, a scream and my Mam came through from the kitchen and I heard her shout, “What is go­ing on”. I ran back up the stairs.’

Mr Booth added: ‘As we grew up it was never dis­cussed, my mother would say, “You don’t know noth­ing, keep your mouth shut”.’

Dearlove de­nies mur­der and man­slaugh­ter. He is also al­leged to have abused Stephanie and Peter and de­nies three charges of cru­elty.

The case con­tin­ues.

Tragic: Lit­tle Paul Booth with David Dearlove in the Face­book post

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.