BNP call for help in missing teen case

BNP hold a rally in Backpool over the disappearance of Charlene Downes
BNP hold a rally in Backpool over the disappearance of Charlene Downes
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A CONTROVERSIAL political party descended on Blackpool to once again call for justice for a missing resort schoolgirl.

Charlene Downes has not been seen since she vanished as a 14-year-old schoolgirl back in 2003 – and police are treating her disappearance as murder.

The British National Party (BNP) called for a “national day of action” in Blackpool on Saturday and around 30 people turned up to protest.

Clive Jefferson, assistant to BNP leader North West MEP Nick Griffin, joined party supporters on the Promenade and said: “As an MEP, Nick is appealing for more action in the Charlene Downes case.

“There have been a lot of people approaching Nick with quite alarming testimony and we will be putting a file together and officially demanding the investigation re-opening, through the appropriate channels.”

Two men were arrested and charged with murdering the teenager and disposing of her body.

But the case collapsed over unsafe evidence, and the men were acquitted of all charges and awarded a reported compensation sum of £300,000 each for the time they spent behind bars.

During Saturday’s “day of action” members of the far right party handed out more than 10,000 leaflets about the case and held a Promenade protest opposite Festival House. Mr Griffin also appeared in town to address party members and supporters at an evening rally, alongside Charlene’s mother Karen.

Mr Jefferson added: “We called a full day of action and we are asking anyone to come forward with any new evidence.

“It is all about heightening awareness of the case and the last thing Nick wants or Charlene’s family wants is for people to be intimidated or hold back because they think they are approaching what could be perceived as a radical political party.

“We want to take the politics out of this case and just focus on the issue.”

Mr Griffin attended a service last year to mark eight years since the St George’s High School pupil vanished.

Blackpool Police officers kept a close watch on proceedings but a spokesman told The Gazette: “The event passed off without incident.”