Police in talks over new Charlene appeal

Charlene Downes
Charlene Downes
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Police investigating the suspected murder of Blackpool teenager Charlene Downes today confirmed they plan to launch a new appeal to find out what happened to her.

Almost 11 years to the day since the 14-year-old disappeared, officers have revealed they are in talks about launching a fresh TV appeal, as well as possibly offering a reward for new information.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said the force was in “discussions” with BBC’s Crimewatch programme about launching an appeal in December and were negotiating putting up a new reward for information.

The spokesman added: “This is one of the biggest inquiries in the history of Lancashire Police and we remain committed to it.

“We have a large team of detectives, led by a Senior Investigating Officer, who are currently in the process of both revisiting old lines of inquiry and following new ones in a bid to find Charlene’s killer or killers.

“We remain hopeful that this process will take us forward and clearly we will act on any new information which comes to light.”

Charlene, of Buchanan Street, Blackpool, was last seen on November 1, 2003, when she went to see friends on Blackpool Promenade.

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

Two local businessmen stood trial – one accused of murdering Charlene, the other of assisting an offender in connection with her disappearance.

A jury was unable to reach a verdict and a retrial was ordered.

In the subsequent retrial both men were acquitted.

Each received almost £250,000 in damages after serving two years on remand.

Speaking last year, Lancashire’s Deputy Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said police had not given up in their search for Charlene.

He added: “We appreciate that a considerable amount of time has passed since both Charlene went missing but we would still encourage anyone with information to come forward and speak to us as it could help bring the killer or killers to justice.”

Contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.