Charlene received chilling letter

CHARLENE Downes is alleged to have received a chilling letter which read: "You should be in a box under ground."

And the note warned: "I've been watching you."

Charlene, 14, has not been seen for almost four years since she went missing from her Blackpool home.

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It is alleged she was killed and her body disposed of by two Blackpool takeaway owners.

A murder trial in Preston was yesterday told how police found two abusive letters at Charlene's home in Buchanan Street as part of their original missing person inquiry.

One, written by hand, was addressed to Charlene and commented about not liking girls "going" with asians.

It is alleged Charlene had struck up a relationship with one or both of the men now on trial for her death - one a Jordanian, the other Iranian.

The letter also included the words: "You should be in a box under ground. Get out of Blackpool because I am ready to put you below."

It added: "You've been warned," as well as the passage stating "I've been watching you."

Another letter, also hand written, included a phrase "You are being watched" and another "We are going to get you like you got us".

Former Det Supt Paul Buschini, who led the murder inquiry into Charlene's suspected death, told Preston Crown Court police believed the second letter was in Charlene's handwriting.

Mr Buschini said it was felt the other letter had come from a girl who Charlene knew and had had altercations with in the town centre.

The ex-detective said: "They had exchanged unpleasantries, coming to blows on more than one occasion.

"But the girl interviewed denied sending the letter. There was no evidence she sent it."

He said officers had not believed the girl - who was not named in court - was being truthful about the matter.

The retired detective added: "We thought it was the result of an ongoing spat between the two."

Mr Buschini earlier told the court he believed Charlene died within hours of her disappearance.

He said: "All through the inquiry we hoped for the best for Charlene, but feared the worst.

"It's my belief she (Charlene) died within hours of her disappearance.

"Statistically, the chances were she would be dead very shortly after she went missing.

"From the outset of me taking command, which was nine or 10 days after the disappearance, I feared she had been murdered."

Iyad Albattikhi, 30, the former owner of Funny Boyz kebab shop on Dickson Road, Blackpool, denies murdering Charlene.

Mohammed Reveshi, 50, of Hornby Road, denies disposing of the former St Mary's High School pupil's body.

The court heard Charlene's mother and sister had spent hundreds of hours looking for her.

It was also told of around 300 alleged sightings of Charlene in the weeks after her disappearance - including one in Benidrom in Spain.

But Mr Buschini told the court: "There is not one corroborated sighting of her."

The court was also told that, when interviewed by police, both Albattikhi and Reveshi denied any knowledge of meeting Charlene.

Albattikhi told police: "I swear to God I never met her. I scratch my eyes out if I ever met her. I've never seen her."

The jury were told when Reveshi was arrested on suspicion of murder he said: "This is absolutely ridiculous and you know that."