Justice call for tragic Charlene

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A CONTROVERSIAL pressure group calling for justice for tragic teen Charlene Downes will hold a protest in Blackpool.

Casuals United – a protest group which is affiliated to the English Defence League – will march along the Promenade in South Shore as part of a demonstration on Saturday Match 26.

Charlene has never been found since vanishing aged 14 in 2003.

Joe Cardiff, from Casuals United told The Gazette he expected around 500 people to turn up.

He said: “This case was so horrific and there’s no justice for Charlene and her family. The case collapsed.

“The family have been let down. Where is the justice for the family? We will come to Blackpool until there is justice for Charlene and every time we come there will be more people supporting us.

“There was no trouble last year and there won’t be any this year.

“Many of our people will be with their children and we always liaise with the police.”

In 2006, Iyad Albattikhi was charged with murdering Charlene. His business partner Mohammed Reveshi was charged with helping dispose of the body.

A jury was unable to reach a decision after the first trial in 2007 and a retrial was halted last year due to problems with evidence. Both men were acquitted.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission later found part of the investigation was “handled poorly and unprofessionally”.

The demonstration will take place from 1pm.

Casuals United say Charlene’s mother, Karen, will speak at the event and a memorial CD of her daughter’s favourite music will be played.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We are aware of the planned demonstration and will provide an appropriate policing response, which will allow the right to a peaceful protest but will also protect and reassure members of the public.

“The investigation into Charlene’s disappearance remains ongoing.”