Demo fuels new justice demand

Karen Downes (second from right) with family and friends at the Casuals United protest at Yates's in South Shore.
Karen Downes (second from right) with family and friends at the Casuals United protest at Yates's in South Shore.
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THE mother of missing Blackpool schoolgirl Charlene Downes says she hopes a protest calling for justice for her daughter will help spark new interest in the case.

Hundreds of campaigners gathered on the Promenade as part of a demonstration organised by controversial pressure group Casuals United on Saturday afternoon.

Charlene was just 14 years old when she disappeared in November 2003.

A murder investigation was launched and two takeaway owners, Jordanian Iyad Albattikhi and Mohammed Reveshi, were eventually arrested and charged with murdering the teenager and disposing of her body.

They were later acquitted of all charges.

Karen Downes, Charlene’s mother, said: “It was a really good day. It brought everything back but it also gave me hope, to know there are a lot of people behind Charlene. The supporters are from all over the country.

“We’ve had five demonstrations and we’re back to square one, the police aren’t doing anything to progress the case.”

Members of Casual United also addressed the crowd of supporters.

Joe Cardiff, from Casuals United, said: “The demonstration went really well. There were about 350 people.

“People came from all over the country. All we want is justice – we shouldn’t have to ask for it. We are going to keep coming to Blackpool until we get it. It’s not right.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “The disappearance of Charlene Downes is the subject of an ongoing murder investigation and should there be any developments the family will be informed.”