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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Prosecuting Violent Crime

Violent crime covers a wide range of offences including:

These crimes are extremely rare, they account for only about 1% of all crime. Yet they cause significant harm, both to individual victims and their families in terms of physical injury and psychological trauma, and to society more widely in terms of fear. We are committed to prosecuting violent crimes efficiently and effectively.

Robert Ewing and Gareth Dewhurst jailed in case of missing schoolgirl, Paige Chivers


Today, Robert Ewing and Gareth Dewhurst have been jailed for their parts in the murder of Paige Chivers. Ewing was found guilty of murder and has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 33 years. Dewhurst was found guilty of assisting Ewing to dispose of Paige Chivers' body and has received a total sentence of 8 years imprisonment. Both men have also been found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

 Paige Chivers was 15 when she went missing in Blackpool at around the time of the Bank Holiday weekend in August 2007.  She was a vulnerable teenager whose mother had died only six months earlier. Her body has never been found.

Joanne Cunliffe, from CPS North West Complex Casework Unit said:

"At the time of her disappearance Paige had very little stability in her life and Robert Ewing took advantage of this.  He was a middle-aged man who befriended her, not for any charitable reasons, but because he had an inappropriate sexual interest in her.  Although we will never know the exact circumstances, the jury in delivering their guilty verdict have found that soon after Paige went missing he killed her in his flat.  Gareth Dewhurst knew about the murder and helped Robert Ewing dispose of her body.

"Neither of the defendants has ever shown any remorse and over the years since Paige went missing they have done everything they could to cover their tracks, to divert enquiries away from them and try to put the blame on other people.  Robert Ewing in particular has attempted to lay false trails and obstruct the police investigations through a series of concocted explanations about the evidence.

"The CPS and the police have remained determined throughout to uncover the truth and to bring justice for Paige.  We have worked closely from the outset of this investigation, painstakingly piecing together hundreds of items of evidence and hundreds of witness statements to build a strong case and enable the jury to see through the defendants' lies.

"Because Paige's body has never been found this has been a very complex case, firstly to prove that Paige was dead, not just missing, and then to prove that Robert Ewing murdered her.

"My sincere sympathies are with the family of Paige Chivers.  Despite the outcome today the trial has been a difficult and painful time for them.  I hope they can take some comfort in knowing that Robert Ewing and Gareth Dewhurst will now receive justice."


Robert Ewing was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 33 years for murder. He was also given 3 years for perverting the course of justice, to be served concurrently.

Gareth Dewhurst was sentenced to 7 years for assisting an offender and 12 months for perverting the course of justice, to be served consecutively.


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.