Brother’s woe in pier drama

Robert Downes and Karen Downes have spoken of their concerns about the safety of their son Robert Downes, 21.

Robert Downes and Karen Downes have spoken of their concerns about the safety of their son Robert Downes, 21.

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THE brother of a missing schoolgirl who was involved in a late-night pier stand-off with police says what happened to his sister has ruined his life.

Robert Downes said the disappearance of his sister Charlene, who is believed to have been murdered, has made life “torture”.

The 21-year-old remains on bail after admitting harassing the man who was charged and acquitted in connection with the murder of his sister, who vanished aged 14 in 2003.

On Tuesday night, 10 police officers, including a negotiator and two handlers with their dogs, fire and rescue services and the RNLI were called to North Pier after he tied himself to railings .

He admitted breaching bail after fleeing from police and forcing a 75-minute stand-off with officers.

Today Robert, who was just 12 when Charlene disappeared, said: “I’ve been drinking all the time and getting myself into trouble since Charlene disappeared. I was only 12 when she disappeared and I just want closure now.

“It’s doing my head in. I’ve got two children and I want to be able to tell them about Charlene as they get older. It’s been nine years of torture.”

At the family home on George Street, Blackpool, Robert’s mum Karen said Charlene’s disappearance had had a profound impact on her son.

She added: “He has never been the same since his sister disappeared. Life will never be the same again. He was 12 when it happened so it has taken his teenage years away from him.”

At Blackpool Magistrates’ Court yesterday, magistrates agreed to rebail Downes - who is due to be sentenced at Preston Crown Court - providing he keeps his 9pm to 7am curfew.

Two men were charged and subsequently acquitted in connection with Charlene’s murder, one was accused of murder and the second, who Downes harassed, was accused of helping dispose of the body.

Charlene has never been found, and with the 10th anniversary of her disappearance approaching in November, Mrs Downes added: “We live in hope and pray every day she will be found, it’s horrible.”

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