Stepdad 'swung toddler into fireplace in 1968 murder'

Paul Booth left with his mother's boyfriend David Dearlove

Paul Booth left with his mother's boyfriend David Dearlove

Peter Booth a witness in the trial of David Dearlove at Teesside Crown Court who is accused of killing 19-month-old Paul Booth in October 1968.

At the time he claimed the toddler had fallen out of bed and hit his head at their home in Stockton-on-Tees.

Dearlove stands accused of murdering his young stepson by swinging him round by the ankles and smashing his head into a fireplace, the court was told.

But despite Peter trying to get the police to reopen the investigation on three separate occasions, the case remained closed for five decades.

Mr Dearlove, who now lives in Great Yarmouth, also denied manslaughter and cruelty at Teesside Crown Court.

Prosecutor Richard Wright QC said there was no doubt that a fractured skull had been the cause of Paul's death, but the jury needed to decide how it had happened. He had not been asked to give any account in 1968.

Paul Booth's body showed signs of abuse after his death
CLEVELAND POLICE Paul Booth's body showed signs of abuse after his death

The alleged crime went unreported until Paul's brother Peter Booth, who was just four when Paul died, saw a photograph of his brother, being held by Dearlove on Facebook two years ago.

"What he said in that interview is what has led us here, 50 years on, to the trial of David Dearlove for the murder of his stepson, Paul Booth".

"The death of Paul Booth had been no accident, it had been as the result of a deliberate act".

The prosecutor said that Peter Booth contacted David Dearlove Jr to demand he remove the photograph from Facebook and made a decision to contact police.

The jury was told that Mr Dearlove allegedly abused Paul's two siblings, which account for the cruelty charges.

Paul had suffered a series of previous injuries, often at times when Dearlove was in sole charge of him, Mr Wright added.