Charlene's sister attacked brother of murder accused

THE sister of missing Blackpool teen Charlene Downes assaulted the brother of a man cleared of murdering the youngster.

Emma Downes slapped Tariq Albattikhi in the face when a row broke in a

nightclub.

She reacted with fury when Mr Albattikhi approached her in Club Sanuk on

Blackpool Promenade and protested his brother Iyad's innocence.

Iyad Albattikhi was cleared of Charlene's murder 18 months ago.

The teenager vanished in November 2003.

Preston Crown Court heard how Mr Albattikhi grabbed Downes and when she pushed him away, she claims, he spat in her face and she slapped

him.

In a statement read out in court, Downes denied causing any wounds and said he had no obvious signs of injury on his face

The 24-year-old admitted swearing but denied using racist language and said the attack was not racially motivated but came about because he wanted to talk about his brother's innocence.

Downes, of Buchanan Street in central Blackpool, had originally been due to stand trial accused of racially attacking Mr Albattikhi.

But the charge was dropped and she admitted the lesser charge of common assault.

The court was told she had previous convictions for battery and threatening behaviour.

Judge Robert Brown told Downes: "I accept the circumstances and the emotional background as well as the role played by the victim himself

in bringing about his own circumstances.

"But because you have previous convictions it is necessary for the court to impose a sentence."

Wayne Jackson, defending, said: "She accepts she must be punished for what she did."

Downes was given a 12- month community order and told she must do 70 hours unpaid work.

Charlene, a former St George's High School pupil, was last seen on November 1, 2003 when she was 13.

Iyad Albattikhi and Mohammed Reveshi were business partners in the Funny

Boyz takeaway on Dickson Road when Mr Albattikhi was accused of killing the teenager.

Mr Reveshi was accused of helping to dispose of the body.

As Charlene's family sat through an 11-week trial, both men denied ever meeting the teenager.

After two weeks of deliberations, a jury decided they could not make a decision and a retrial was ordered.

But the two men were later cleared on the eve of the retrial after one of the prosecution's main witnesses was found to be unreliable.

Defence barristers accused Blackpool Police's investigation of being riddled with "incompetence manipulation and lies."