Brother targets former suspect

Charlene Downes and (below) her brother Robert Downes.
Charlene Downes and (below) her brother Robert Downes.
Have your say

THE brother of a missing Blackpool teenager feared murdered has admitted harassing a man who was cleared of allegedly helping to dispose of her body.

Charlene Downes was 14 when she vanished after setting out nine years ago to meet up with friends in Blackpool.

Robert Downes

Robert Downes

Lancashire Police went on to launch one of its biggest ever inquiries, but no body has ever been found.

Two businessmen later stood trial – one accused of her murder, the other Mohammed Raveshi, was charged with assisting an offender by helping to dispose of her remains.

A jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case and before a re-trial the case against them was dropped.

Takeaway owner Iyad Albattikhi was cleared of her murder.

Now Robert Downes, 21, has admitted a harassment charge relating to Mr Raveshi who once spent two and a half years on remand in jail over the Charlene case.

Downes, of George Street, Blackpool pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court yesterday to a charge of putting a person in fear of violence by harassment, between June 26 and July 25 this year.

He is said to have approached Mr Raveshi in his vehicle which was stopped, trying to open the driver’s door and also headbutting the passenger window, as well as pursuing the vehicle while brandishing a bottle and making threats.

The charge also states that he went to Mr Raveshi’s restaurant, called Yum Yum’s on the Promenade, and made threats to a member of staff.

Defence barrister Ben Morris asked for the case to be adjourned so that a pre sentence report can be compiled by the probation service.

Downes has a number of previous convictions. He has been bailed for sentencing on December 20. He is on conditional bail to that date, including a 9pm-7am curfew and a condition not to contact Mr Raveshi directly or indirectly.

Judge Anthony Russell QC told Downes “The allegation against you which you have pleaded guilty to is a serious one. I know there is a considerable amount of background to the case.

“You must understand all sentencing options will be open, including custody.

“Your record is not good.

“That is a factor I will have to take into account.

“I am not going to make up my mind until I know more about you.

“That will come from whatever is said on your behalf and from what is contained in the pre-sentence report.