BY JANE LAVENDER
17:09, 23 MAY 2019UPDATED19:12, 23 MAY 2019
CHARLENE DOWNES – DOCUMENTARY REVEALS NEW DETAILS OF CHILLING MURDER
Charlene Downes vanished from Blackpool on November 1, 2003, and has never been seen since.
Police and her own family and friends are convinced the 14-year-old was murdered.
Her disappearance is covered in a hard-hitting three-part Channel 5 documentary, The Murder Of Charlene Downes.
The documentary claims, on the day Charlene was last seen alive, a convicted paedophile had been allowed into the family home.
He had been invited by Charlene’s father, Bob, who met him while drinking in the pub.
Police ‘blunders’ that lead to the collapse of Charlene Downes murder case
Bob has always insisted he had no idea the man had pleaded guilty to the crimes against two 10-year-old girls.
He says the first he knew about his ‘friend’s’ vile past was when he was in court three days after Charlene disappeared to see the man jailed.
Charlene’s mum, Karen, said: “I was horrified when I found out. I would never have let him into the house.”
A friend of Bob’s, Glen, claims to have seen unsual behaviour between Charlene and the convicted paedophile.
He said: “I saw her sitting on his lap once. I just didn’t think it was right for a young girl like that, sitting on his lap.”
Charlene hasn’t been seen since November 1, 2003(Image: PA)
Secret recordings that convinced police they had snared schoolgirl’s killers
The documentary also claims to have seen a social services report that there had been an “incident” between Charlene and the man on the day she disappeared.
It didn’t reveal any further details.
After Charlene didn’t return home on the Saturday night, the documentary says it took her mum two days to report her missing to police.
And that eight days after police started to investigate what had happened to the missing teenager that it was decided by officers that she would not be returning to her family home if she was found.
She would instead be placed under a child protection order.
Her mum, Karen Downes, waited two days before reporting her daughter missing(Image: Channel 5)
Missing schoolgirl Charlene Downes’ heartbreaking final words to her mum
Police believe she was murdered shortly after she went missing but her body has never been found and no one has ever been convicted of her killing.
But the teenager as hiding a dark secret – she was one of the resort’s teenage victims of what has been described as “endemic child abuse” in the town.
During the probe into Charlene’s disappearance police spoke to thousands of people and found teenage girls were “swapping sex for food, cigarettes and affection”.
The Saturday Charlene disappeared started like any other.
Karen will never forget the final words she said to her young daughter, who would now be 29.
Karen and Bob Downes have denied they knew the man was a paedophile(Image: Peter Powell)
The mum explained: “I said to her ‘don’t be late home my darling’.
“And she replied, ‘mum, I won’t be home late’.”
Karen has never spoke to her daughter again.
Police launched a huge manhunt following the teenager’s disappearance but officers said they were greeted with a “web of lies” almost as soon as they started to investigate.
But then officers received a piece of bombshell information from Blackpool businessman, David Cassidy.
The investigation into Charlene’s disappearance continues(Image: PA)
He claimed two kebab shop owners – Iyad Albattikhi and Mohammed Reveshi – were responsible for Charlene’s disappearance – and death.
Followng her disappearance, chilling rumours were circulating round the seaside town about what had happened to the teenager.
One was that Charlene had been murdered and then disposed of in black bin bags.
And a second, gruesome claim, was that she had been killed and her body used in kebabs.
Albattikhi and Reveshi have always denied any involvement in the teenager’s disappearance and suspected death.
Charlene’s mum, Karen, has written a book about her daughter’s disappearance(Image: focusfeatures.co.uk)
Following a huge police investigation into Albattikhi and Reveshi, which involved covert surveillance of their homes and cars, the two men were charged.
Albattikhi was chared with her murder while Reveshi was accused of disposing of her body.
Both stood trial in May 2007 but the jury failed to reach a verdict.
A retrial was ordered for the following year but the covert-surrveillance gathered by Lancashire Police was found to contain errors, the case dropped and the men were released.
Both men have also repeatedly denied being involved in grooming gangs.
The Murder Of Charlene Downes is on Channel 5 tonight at 9pm.