My interview with a murderer who told me he’d kill again if released

John Halewood Dodd
John Halewood Dodd

The sentence of life imprisonment, with a minimum 33 years to serve, means convicted murderer and paedophile Robert Ewing is likely to spend the rest of his days behind bars.

Ewing, 60, was convicted of the murder of 15 year old Blackpool schoolgirl Paige Chivers who went missing in 2007, and whose body has never been found.

What really got to me were Paige’s sisters who were pleading for Ewing to disclose her whereabouts so they could lay her to rest.

One of the more regular comments that frustrates me is when people say they couldn’t do my job dealing with rapists and murderers, and trying to get them off.

A relatively simplistic assessment of our legal system, but I get the gist.

Well, at times it really is difficult.

In 2004 I represented Paul Culshaw who a year later was convicted of an horrific murder here in Lancaster.

This case attracted a great deal of media attention and Culshaw went on to be known as the ‘Shoelace Killer’.

Culshaw specifically requested me although we had never previously met.

The police had real concerns about my safety as he had convictions for extremely serious matters, including attempted murder.

I assured them that I would be fine, and insisted that I see my client alone, and certainly not within earshot of any police officers.

During my time with him he was softly spoken, and polite. The evidence was circumstantial but I thought he was the killer, although not once did he confirm this to me.

I half wanted him to confess all to assist the family and friends of the victim, but he was having none of it and that did unsettle me.

He did not give evidence at his trial and was found guilty and sentenced to life without any prospect of parole.

This illustrates how dangerous he was, as very few people are told they will never be released.

We advised on appeal so rare was the sentence, but when I went to see him he calmly declined, saying he would kill more people if he ever got out.

This was as near to a confession as we were going to get. Culshaw died in Durham prison in 2013 aged 45.