Charlene Downes murder breakthrough as man 51 arrested more than a decade

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A 51-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering teenager Charlene Downes who disappeared more than a decade ago.Charlene Downes was 14 when she vanished in Blackpool, Lancashire, on November 1 2003 but CCTV footage of her last movements was only released last month.The suspect, who lived in the area at the time, is in custody for questioning.Officers made several arrests for historical sexual offences last year during a case that has become the largest and longest investigation in Lancashire Police’s history, involving numerous media appeals and a £100,000 reward offered. Charlene’s murder investigation has been dogged by problems ever since in launched.A 2007 murder trial collapsed because of police errors and the IPCC watchdog ruled the force’s blunders mean the killer may never be found.Last year a cold case team revisited the investigation and discovered CCTV footage of Charlene walking with her sister Rebecca on the day she vanished.It was finally released on the 13th anniversary of her disappearance in November and again for a fresh appeal on the BBC’s Crimewatch Live Roadshow last month.At the time of its release, her mother Karen said if it had been shown closer to the time she vanished it could have led to vital evidence from witnesses.She is taking civil action against Lancashire police and is seeking damages and a public apology over their handling of the investigation.In 2007 kebab shop boss Ilyad Albattikhi was acquitted of Charlene’s murder and his co-defendant Mohammed Reveshi was acquitted of helping dispose of her body.But a planned retrial in 2008 was dropped due to lack of evidence and the forensic blunders. The two men were paid almost £250,000 each in compensation. Charlene Downes, 14Credit:Greater Manchester Police center_img Charlene Downes, 14, But they were said to not be directly connected to Charlene’s murder as the probe into the teenager’s disappearance is also looking at the wider issue of child sexual exploitation in the resort.No trace of her has ever been found but detectives believed her body was chopped up and “gone into kebabs” at a takeaway in the seaside resort.Last month her parents Karen and Robert vowed to sue the force after crucial CCTV footage of her last movements sat in their archives for 12 years.But on Tuesday Lancashire Police finally announced a major breakthrough in the cold case, saying the 51 year-old man was currently in custody.last_img

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