A TAKEAWAY which became the centre of a missing girl investigation has been sold, a court was told.
District Judge Jeff Brailsford sitting at Blackpool Magistrates Court was hearing an application by 34-year-old Iyad Albattikhi of Dickson Road, Blackpool.
The court heard Albattikhi had – at an earlier hearing – elected for trial at Preston Crown Court on a charge of sexually assaulting a woman. However, he now wished to reverse the legal process and have the trial held at the magistrates court.
The reason behind this request was that he was having difficulty getting legal aid and would not be able to fund fighting a trial at the higher court himself.
The judge was told Albatikhi no longer owned the Mr Beanz takeaway on Dickson Road which figured in the hunt for missing Blackpool schoolgirl Charlene Downes.
The takeaway was searched as part of the hunt for Charlene who was 13 when she went missing in 2003.
Jim Mowbray, prosecuting, objected to the change of venue for the trial claiming it was a “tactical ploy” by the defence. A date will be fixed for the trial of the allegation against Albattikhi after Judge Brailsford ruled a hearing at the lower court would come about more quickly which would be better for witnesses.