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Man 'haunted for 50 years' after he claims he saw his Great Yarmouth step dad kill his baby brother

PUBLISHED: 15:22 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:46 16 November 2017

David Dearlove from Great Yarmouth leaving court. Inset a photo of Paul Booth taken weeks before he died. Photo: Evening Gazette inset - Cleveland Police/PA

David Dearlove from Great Yarmouth leaving court. Inset a photo of Paul Booth taken weeks before he died. Photo: Evening Gazette inset - Cleveland Police/PA

Archant

A Great Yarmouth man was accused in court by his step son of swinging his baby brother by the ankles and cracking his head on a fireplace.

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.
Picture: Evening GazettePeter 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. Picture: Evening Gazette

David Dearlove, 71, of Wolseley Road, denies murder, manslaughter and three charges of cruelty, and claims his step son Paul Booth fell out of bed and fatally struck his head on the floor 50 years ago in Stockton, near Hartlepool.

Peter Booth, 53, said he had crept downstairs from his bedroom when he saw his step dad swinging 19-month-old Paul by his ankles and smashing his head on the mantelpiece.

MORE: Great Yarmouth man kept toddler’s ‘murder secret for fifty years’ - court hears

Mr Booth told Teesside Crown Court that after his brother’s death in 1968, he eventually plucked up the courage to tell police in the mid-1990s but nothing was done.

David Dearlove with Paul Booth, weeks before the child died. Pic: Cleveland Police/PA Wire.David Dearlove with Paul Booth, weeks before the child died. Pic: Cleveland Police/PA Wire.

He said he again walked into a police station 10 years later to try to explain but it was not until he spoke to the police a third time in 2015 that his allegations were acted on.

“I remember getting out of bed, feeling hungry or thirsty, going downstairs and seeing what I should not have seen and scarpering back upstairs,” he said.

“All you were ever told was Paul had died by falling out of bed and hitting his head. When I told my mum what I had seen she totally blanked me and did not want to know.

The house at Haverton Hill, Stockton where Paul Booth died. Pic: Cleveland Police/PA Wire.The house at Haverton Hill, Stockton where Paul Booth died. Pic: Cleveland Police/PA Wire.

“Whenever Paul’s name was mentioned, just a brick wall would go up.

MORE: Great Yarmouth man David Dearlove leaves court after murder trial starts

“We were never asked, it was never spoken about. One minute he was there the next he was gone.

“The image has haunted me since I was almost four years old to standing here today.”

The court heard that the boys’ mother, Carol Booth, had three children, including a girl called Stephanie, and they lived in Haverton Hill, Stockton.

Ms Booth, who is now dead, had started a relationship with Dearlove in early 1968.

Prosecutor Richard Wright QC told Teesside Crown Court there was no doubt that a fractured skull was the cause of Paul’s death, but the jury needed to decide how it had happened.

He said: “The death of Paul Booth had been no accident, it had been as the result of a deliberate act. It had been murder.”

Mr Wright said doctors found multiple bruises of “differing ages” and he had suffered numerous “non-accidental injuries”.

He said they had often happened at a time when only Dearlove was in charge of him and the abuse also allegedly extended to the two siblings, which accounts for two of the cruelty charges.

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