True Crime: The Disappearance of Charlene Downes

Disclaimer: All of the information in this post has come from thorough research from the Internet, which I can source if necessary. If you believe my facts are wrong, please inform me in the comments and I will correct them. I mean no harm or disrespect to the families effected of those involved.

Charlene Downes was born on March 25th 1989. She was born to parents Robert and Karen Downes in the West Midlands. She had a Brother and two Sisters, and they all moved to Blackpool in 1999.

Charlene was described as a happy and sometimes rebellious girl, she was often getting into chaos but had lots of friends who she loved and spent a lot of time with in the Blackpool area. She was often out with them at the Arcades and at McDonalds as all teenagers do.

On November 1st, 2003, Charlene and her sister were out at the Arcades spending time away from the family home. It was a Saturday and Charlene was planning on meeting up with her friends later on, but had gone for tea with her sister. Karen, their Mother, was handing out flyers for an Indian restaurant as her job at the time, and as she was handing them out to passers by, she saw Charlene and her other daughter, Rebecca across the street. Charlene was wearing black jeans with a gold-eagle design on the front of them, a black jumper with a white diamond pattern and black boots. At 6:45pm, Karen shouted for her daughters and the pair of them went up to talk to her. They chatted briefly, with Rebecca saying she was going to head home, and Charlene said she was going to meet with some of her best friends for a while. Karen warned her to be home for 10pm, as per her Saturday night curfew. Charlene called her friends from a telephone box and Karen waited with her until they arrived. Karen watched them all walk off towards Entertainment Complex, ‘The Winter Gardens.’

That was the last time Karen ever saw Charlene, but from CCTV footage and accounts as told by friends, we know what Charlene did with her friends after meeting with her Mother. The friends spent a couple of hours together, then the friends went home. Charlene was insistent she was being met to be walked home, so the friends left her be. But at 9:30pm, the last CCTV footage ever of Charlene is of her on the North Pier, near the Carousel Bar. She is with an unidentified woman in her mid thirties, wearing a long coat. The friend last saw her at 11pm, near Talbot Road.

The next morning, Karen checked Charlene’s room to find she was not home. She didn’t worry, she assumed she was with friends. But when Charlene later did not return, Karen phoned up the friends and realised Charlene had not been with them since the previous evening. This struck panic, and the Police were informed.

Investigation and Trial: 

After a length of time and no sign of Charlene, the Police began to set up covert tape recordings in the area to catch anybody talking about missing girls, specifically Charlene. Because of the time she had been missing for, the Police were treating it as a murder case, and several arrests were made. These arrests included Iyad Albattikhi, a 29 year old man from Jordan and his business partner, Mohammed Reveshi. The pair worked at the fast food shop, ‘Funny Boyz’. During the Investigation, a police report saw that 11 takeaway shops in Blackpool Town Centre had been grooming dozens of young, white girls aged 12-15 giving them cigarettes, food and alcohol in return for ‘sexual favours’. Mick Gladwell, a former superintendent said that the police inquiry into child grooming in the area was shadowed because of political correctness and the fear of appearing racist. It was exposed that Charlene Downes was one of the girls being exploited, and the prosecution heard that Albattikhi had sex with Downes.

The covert tapes heard that Albattikhi had sex with what was assumed as Downes, on more than one occasion, but on November 1st, she was supposedly killed. You can then hear Reveshi, saying along the lines of ‘You’ll never find the girl, she’s in the meat grinder, in the kebabs, they’ll never find her.’ The Jury failed to reach a verdict, with both men claiming that neither of them had ever met Downes, despite the epidemic of child grooming in takeaway shops and what had previously been said. The case against the pair of them was dropped.

Controversy and Contrasts to the Case:

In 2013, there were confidential police reports showing that Charlene’s abuse started at home. The file contained a 40 year old man’s admission of having paid Charlene for sex. Child protection officials and Social Services were aware of her name, and knew that she was vulnerable for exploitation from infancy. A hospital report from when she was 11, shows that there were identified signs of abuse and her household was being permanently visited by various men with convictions of rape and assault. There was a man lodging with the Downes family at the time of her disappearance who was on bail for sexual assaulting somebody, but the day after he moved to Preston. He was interviewed by Police, but that is all that came of it.

The Downes family are strong EDL members, the English Defence League. This is a far right community of people who want to tarnish those with different ethnicities with a dirty brush. The Charlene Downes case became a hub of racism after the Funny Boyz pair were put on trial. The family were said to be more bothered about the pair’s race, than that of the disappearance/murder of their daughter. Karen Downes has posted racist content on Facebook a variety of times, including discriminatory terminology for people from Africa. The Brother and Sister of Charlene Downes have both previously been arrested for attacking the Funny Boyz pair and their Brother, with Karen being sanctioned for harassing them.

Theories and Thoughts: 

One Theory is that Charlene was abused, killed and disposed by the Funny Boyz pair. But as it stands, there wasn’t enough evidence to support this. However, the tapes say that a girl was killed and disposed of, if it wasn’t Charlene, it was still somebody else. They are still guilty in the minds of many for committing those acts, whether it was to Charlene or not.

Another is that The Downes family paid the Funny Boyz pair to do such a thing to Charlene. Therefore, sparking a movement with the EDL with a racist and political movement, using Charlene as the catalyst.

The most believed theory on the Internet from my research, is that in the time Charlene was expelled from School, she was used a prostitute by her family to earn them extra cash. Hence the reason there were so many men with convictions in the home, and Charlene had so many signs of abuse. It would also explain why she felt comfortable going into the Takeaway shops and having those men exploit her too, as it was a constant in her life. She knew nothing but pain and suffering, at the hands of others, particularly her family.

A lot of people believe she took her own life, although there is minimal evidence to support this. But she was constantly acting out at School and being expelled, instead of being helped or having anyone approach her.

My own personal thoughts are not being added to this, I don’t believe my opinion will be beneficial to the case, but I do find that the case of Charlene Downes is often ignored compared to other missing people cases and it’s one of the most shocking and controversial because of all I have mentioned above.


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