Missing Charlene Downes’ brother admitted assaulting mother and threatened to inject himself with bleach

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The “blighted” family of schoolgirl Charlene Downes who went missing 16 years ago are now fighting amongst themselves.

A court heard today how Charlene’s 27-year-old brother assaulted his own mother when she refused him money.

He grabbed Karen Downes’ wrist and the top she was wearing in her home on George Street, North Shore, before telling her: “Why don’t you die.”

Police were called to the house and when they tried to arrest Robert Downes he threatened to inject himself with bleach. He struggled as officers handcuffed him and tried to headbut one officer.

Downes of Loughrigg Terrace, Mereside, admitted assaulting the police officer and assaulting his own mother when he appeared at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

Magistrates issued a restraining order forbidding Downes from going to his mother’s home for the next three months - for her own protection. He must also pay her £50 compensation.

His lawyer Robert Castle told the hearing: “The background to this family has had a significant effect on matters.They have all been affected by the disappearance and murder investigation involving Charlene Downes.

“It has blighted the lives of all the family. He accepts what he did was an assault on his mother.He asked her for money and she refused him.”

Probation officer Brian Weatherington told the court that Robert Downes sometimes struggled with drink and drug problems.

As well as the restraining order and compensation payment, Downes was given a year long community order with 14 days rehabilitation.He must pay £170 court costs and keep and 14-day curfew.

Presiding magistrate Stephen Lunt told him: WStop falling out with your own mother-sort it out with her.”

Charlene Downes went missing 16 years ago when she was 14.Police believe she was murdered in Blackpool.

Lancashire Police still have a team investigating Charlene’s disappearance.