A man who lied about killing a little boy for nearly 50 years has finally been brought to justice thanks to the boy’s brother and a Facebook post. Keep reading to learn more about the death of Paul Booth and the conviction of David Dearlove.
In 1968, 19-month-old Paul Booth died under mysterious circumstances in Stockton, England. His stepfather, David Dearlove, claimed that the boy had fallen out of his bed, cracking his skull on the concrete floor. An inquest into Booth’s death at the time proved inconclusive.
Booth was buried in an unmarked grave and his family ceased talking about him for a number of years. Then a Facebook post brought the memory of the death back to the boy’s brother, Peter.
Peter was three years old in 1968. He had headed downstairs for a drink when he saw Dearlove swing his little brother by the ankles and smash his head against a fireplace.
Peter went back upstairs before being discovered, but he never forgot what he saw. When he told his mother about what had happened, she just shut him out.
Peter, who is now in his 50s, had previously tried and failed to get the police to listen to him. But when he saw a photo posted to Facebook of his younger brother on the knee of his killer, Peter decided to try it again. This time the police looked deeper.
The investigation seemed like an uphill battle. The case was nearly 50 years old, the body of Paul Booth had been lost to an unmarked grave, and the other possible witness, Carol, Paul and Peter’s mother, had died.
All police had to go on was Peter’s memory and the autopsy report. Luckily, the autopsy report backed up Peter’s story that David Dearlove had swung Paul Booth by the ankles. It also said that the injury to the boy’s skull could not have been caused by a fall.
David Dearlove, 71, was convicted of murdering Paul Booth on December 1, 2017. He was also found guilty of three counts of child cruelty due to the testimony of Peter and his sister, Stephanie Marron. He faces a minimum of 13 years in prison.