Great Yarmouth man tried to save stepson’s life, murder trial hears
- Credit: Evening Gazette
A Great Yarmouth man accused of murdering his stepson almost 50 years ago tried to give the little boy the kiss of life, a jury has been told.
David Dearlove, 71, of Wolseley Road, is said to have swung 19-month-old Paul Booth's head against a fireplace in their then family home in 1968.
Dearlove says the toddler fell out of bed and the children's late mother Carol Booth said Paul's death was an accident.
On the third day of his murder trial Teesside Crown Court was read a statement from Dorothy Hopton, now deceased, who lived next door to the unmarried couple in the Haverton Hill area of Stockton at the time.
She remembered Mrs Booth knocking on her door in tears and telling her 'the baby had stopped breathing'.
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She went into their home and saw Paul unconscious on the settee, lying in vest and pyjamas.
Her statement said: 'David Dearlove was trying to give him the kiss of life.
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'He was lifting his eyelids and putting his finger in his mouth.'
She recalled telling the young man to stop lifting the child's eyelids, and asking what had happened.
'David Dearlove said he had fallen out of bed, the woman Booth did not answer as she was still sobbing,' her statement said.
'I saw a red mark on the child's right hand.
'David Dearlove said it had been burnt on the hot water pipes upstairs.'
MORE, Man is accused of killing stepsonMrs Hopton called for her daughter, a nurse, and when she returned she saw a bruise below Paul's left ear and a number of red marks on his neck.
A doctor came, then an ambulance crew and the child was taken to hospital, the statement said.
Earlier, the family babysitter who looked after the children when she was 10 or 11 recalled pinching coal from their neighbour so she could heat the house for the children when the adults were out.
Barbara Flemming remembered seeing Mrs Booth, a bubbly, 'bonny' lady, concealing a black eye with make-up.
She told the court: 'I was fascinated how she covered this up, but she never spoke to me about it.'
Mrs Flemming was told Paul died falling out of bed. She was a flower girl at his funeral.
She kept in touch with Peter throughout his life and told the jury they had two conversations, one around 20 years ago and one in 2015, where he asked her how his brother died.
She told the jury: 'I still said what I was told as a child, he fell out of bed.
'He said 'No, he didn't, that bastard killed him'.'
The jury has heard Peter say he remembered being aged three, coming downstairs and seeing Dearlove swing his little brother's head against the fireplace.
Mrs Flemming said Mrs Booth was attractive, how she reminded her of Dusty Springfield and was known as Cockney Carol as she was from the South.
She told police: 'She always looked after the children well, the clothing was beautiful, they were always well turned out and well presented.'
The court also heard from a council childcare professional who visited the family in 1968 along with an NSPCC inspector, the month before the boy's death.
Sheila Plummer remembered seeing bruises on Paul's body.
The authorities had been alerted by the matron at his nursery, the court heard.
His mother explained the bruises on his back were caused by him falling down the stairs and one on his temple was due to a moped or motorbike falling on him.
Photographs of him were taken and she said she was satisfied by the answers given, had not spoken to Dearlove at the time, and offered voluntary supervision to Mrs Booth who accepted the offer of help.
Ms Plummer was due to visit the family again the day after Paul died, the jury heard.
Dearlove denies murder as well as manslaughter and three charges of cruelty
The trial continues.