The police failed Charlene Downes with incompetence and ‘lies’
WE do not know what happened to Charlene Downes, the 14-year-old child who disappeared for Blackpool, Lancashire, in 2003. We do know that DS Jan Beasant bugged the home of Blackburn man Iyad Albattikhi. We know of paedophile gangs.
Mr Albattikhi, the boss of Funny Boyz takeaway, Dickson Road, Blackpool, was accused of the murder of Charlene Downes.
Much later, Iyad Albattikhi, 31, was formally cleared of Charlene’s murder and Mohammed Raveshi, 51, a foster father and ex-social services worker, was acquitted of helping to dispose of her body.
Iyad Albattikhi, a Jordanian, and Mohammad Raveshi, originally from Iran, were sent to trial despite a lack of physical evidence.
Mohammed Reveshi was accused of assisting Albattikhi and his conversations were secretly recorded in his car and home under DS Beasant’s operation.
The jury at the original 2007 trial were told it was “inconceivable” Charlene Downes was still alive.
The Lancashire Telegraph notes:
A 2009 Independent Police Complaints Commission report identified a ‘series of failings’.
The police did not keep proper records. They did not transcribe their covert tapes fully. More than 52 audio tapes took Detective Sergeant Jan Beasant 2,400 hours to transcribe over a two-year period. In one tape, Mr Reveshi, allegedly said the words “eat the body”. The two men allegedly said that Charlene Downes had “gone into kebabs”. But when the first case collapsed – the jury failed to reach a verdict on Mr Albattikhi, after 11 days of deliberation and a 13 week trial – that evidence was not thought worthy of presenting to a jury at a retrial.
Indeed, there was no retrial. Lancashire Constabulary’s assistant chief constable Chris Weigh said in 2008:
“Yesterday, after careful consideration by the prosecuting counsel and the Crown Prosecution Service the decision was taken that there was insufficient evidence to place before a second jury. Some concerns about the evidence were raised by the prosecution and defence teams and we are reflecting on those as a priority today. In the meantime, because of our determination to be accountable and transparent, we have referred these concerns to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for them to take their own view.”
Why did the police and the Crown Prosecution Service think they had enough evidence to send Mr Iyad Albattikhi down for murder? They did not. The police had no proof whatsoever They had not a shred of evidence against either man. But still the police sued the men for the killing of a child.
Mr Albattikhi walked free after two and a half years behind bars.
In 2007, Ian Goldrein, QC, for the defence of Mr Albattikhi, said that neither of the transcripts read by the defendants’ lawyers included anything about bones, a mincing machine or blood.
In 2008, court Mr Bromley-Davenport said of his client:
“Mr Raveshi’s defence team have uncovered, within the Blackpool Police Service, an astonishing catalogue of incompetence, failures to disclose, manipulation and lies, some of which were uttered on oath during the trial last year. If the jury at that trial had swallowed the lies and been duped by the manipulation, a grave miscarriage of justice would have occurred and Mr Raveshi would now be serving a very long prison sentence for offences he did not commit. For nearly three and a half years the Blackpool Police have been hellbent on the ruthless pursuit of someone, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence throughout.”
DS Jan Beasant was in charge of the recordings:
She said the conversations – recorded between late February and late March 2005 – were a mixture of talk about business premises and the police inquiry… She was found guilty of two counts of misconduct not guilty of a third. She was forced to resign by the independent senior panel.
So. What did happen to Charles Downes? And why didn’t the police keep all avenues open?