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‘Scapegoat’ murder detective to sue police

Former Det Sgt Jan Beasant

Former Det Sgt Jan Beasant

A murder squad detective who claims she was made a scapegoat for failings in the unsolved Charlene Downes investigation is suing police for up to £500,000.

Former Det Sgt Jan Beasant was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing during the probe into the Blackpool schoolgirl’s disappearance.

Now Ms Beasant’s lawyers say she intends to sue Lancashire Police for “knowingly or with reckless indifference” 
accusing her of a lack of 
integrity.

It was November 1, 2003 when Blackpool schoolgirl Charlene, then aged just 14, vanished after kissing her mother goodbye in Church Street on her way to meet friends.

Two men were later charged with murder, but
 later cleared after two trials.

Ms Beasant was assigned the job of transcribing covertly recorded conversations between the suspects.

She was later told to step down from her job following a disciplinary hearing which deemed her conduct “fell below” the standard expected during the investigation.

It is believed the allegations against her centred around the gathering of evidence, though the force has never confirmed this.

A tribunal subsequently cleared her name in 2012.

A spokesman for the former detective said she had always wanted to prove her 
innocence.

Jim Halstead, who was Ms Beasant’s Police Federation representative before retiring a year ago, said: “She was to be the scapegoat and the inquiry was conducted along those lines. Time after time in interview we pointed out clear lines of inquiry which would have supported Det Sgt 
Beasant’s version of events.”

Lancashire Police said it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage.

Despite Lancashire Police’s biggest ever missing person inquiry, no one has ever been convicted in connection with Charlene’s disappearance.

 
 
 

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