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Jury deliberations continue in trial of man accused of murdering toddler 50 years ago

David Dearlove arrives at Teesside Crown Court where he is charged with murdering his stepson 50 years ago. Photo: Scott Heppell/PA Wire

David Dearlove arrives at Teesside Crown Court where he is charged with murdering his stepson 50 years ago. Photo: Scott Heppell/PA Wire

A jury is still considering its verdicts in the trial of a man accused of murdering a toddler almost 50 years ago will resume deliberations on Thursday.

Great Yarmouth man David Dearlove, 71, denies swinging his then 19-month-old stepson Paul Booth by the ankles against a fireplace in 1968.

The grandfather, of Wolseley Road, has told Teesside Crown Court that the little boy, the youngest of his partner’s three children, fell out of bed at the family home in Haverton Hill, Stockton, Teesside.

Dearlove denies murder and child cruelty charges.

Paul’s brother, Peter Booth, told the jury that, when he was three years old, he crept downstairs to get a drink and saw Dearlove swing the toddler against the mantelpiece.

Paul died from head injuries in hospital later that night.

Police investigated at the time but no charges were brought and an inquest recorded an open verdict.

The matter came to light again in 2015 when Peter Booth went to the police after becoming incensed at seeing a Facebook photo of Dearlove with his little brother on his knee.

Peter Booth and his sister, Stephanie, alleged that Dearlove was physically abusive towards them before he split with their mother, Carol, who has since died.

Dearlove, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, told the court he moved to London after the break-up, married, had two daughters and is now a grandfather.

He denies harming any of the children and the jury has heard he has no previous convictions.

The jury was sent home having not reached verdicts and will continue deliberations on Thursday.

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