Charlene brother back in court

Robert Downes
Robert Downes
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The brother of missing Blackpool teenager Charlene Downes landed himself back in court for failing to keep part of the terms of his suspended sentence.

Robert Downes had been given a chance by a judge after admitting harassing a man accused of being involved in his sister’s disappearance nine years ago.

But he found himself back at Preston Crown Court yesterday for breaching his suspended sentence, by failing to keep two appointments regarding an alcohol treatment programme.

He was sentenced to 12 months jail, suspended for two years, with supervision and a six months alcohol treatment programme in February.

The 21-year-old, of Buchanan Street, Blackpool had admitted harassing a man – who had faced a charge of helping to dispose of Charlene’s body.

Lucy Wright, prosecuting on behalf of the probation service, said Downes had not provided acceptable explanations for failing to attend the sessions on April 16 and 22.

James Hawks, defending, said: “He is very anxious to apologise for the breaches.”

He added there had been no re-offending and Downes was living with his mother.

Judge Anthony Russell QC extended the alcohol treatment programme by a month and told him to pay £50 costs.

He told him: “I am sympathetic to the position you are in. You were given a good chance by that order and it is up to you to co-operate with it.

“If you continue to be in breach of the order, it will have to come back before me.”

Charlene went missing when she was just 14.

Two men later stood trial - one accused of her murder, the other charged with assisting an offender by helping to dispose of her remains – but they were acquitted.

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