An abusive stepfather carried the chilling secret of a toddler’s brutal murder with him for almost 50 years before he was finally accused, a court has been told.
David Dearlove, 71, always maintained that Paul Booth, 19 months, died as the result of an accidental fall from his bed on October 1st 1968.
But he is now accused of having swung the boy into a fireplace, causing catastrophic injuries which led to his death.
His alleged crime went unreported for decades until Paul’s brother Peter, who was just four when Paul died, saw a faded photograph of the youngster being held by Dearlove on Facebook in 2015.
A local newspaper report still exists of the death of toddler for which a man is now on trial for murder. The boy’s brother said he saw the killing in 1968 and came forward after seeing a picture of the alleged murderer on Facebook
For years, a jury heard, Peter had been haunted by the memory of what he saw through a gap in a door on the night Paul died.
He said he saw David Dearlove swinging Paul by the ankles and dashing his head against a fireplace.
Peter Booth demanded Dearlove’s family take down the photograph and then told his cousin what he had seen that night 47 years earlier.
The cousin told the police that Paul’s death had actually been a murder and an investigation was put in place.
Dearlove, who had split from Paul’s mother Carol Booth in 1970 and long-since left the scene of his alleged crime in Stockton-on-Tees, was arrested at his new home in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
The unusual, historical case is being heard by a judge and jury at Teesside Crown Court
The pensioner, who had since remarried, was charged with Paul’s murder and accused of cruelty to his older siblings Peter and Stephanie.
Dearlove denies the murder and unlawful killing of Paul Booth and further denies three charges of child cruelty – defined as assault, ill treatment or neglect causing injury to health – in 1967 to 1968.
The trial, expected to last three weeks, continues.
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