June 2, 2014
A mum is hoping to finally see justice done more than ten years after her teenage daughter was murdered.
Charlene Downes, aged 14, was last seen by her mum Karen a decade ago.
Karen, 48, spent much of her life in Coventry and Charlene was born here. The family moved to Blackpool before Charlene vanished in November 2003.
Police initially believed she had run away from home but months later detectives told her family they were 99.9 per cent certain she had been murdered.
Detectives are now looking again at the unsolved case.
Karen says she is delighted Lancashire Police are putting resources into bringing Charlene’s killer to justice.
She said: “The whole thing has been a nightmare. We’ve been living in limbo. We cannot move on because we’ve never had justice. We’ve never had closure.”
Charlene was born at Walsgrave Hospital and originally lived with her family in Selina Dix House, Hillfields. The family moved to the Black Country, before heading to Blackpool.
A man was prosecuted for murder in 2007 but jurors failed to reach a verdict. A retrial did not happen because of concerns about covert surveillance evidence.
Karen added: ‘‘The trial, the investigation, it’s been so frustrating. All I want is justice. Money won’t bring my daughter back. I just want what’s right.
“I’m optimistic that one day we’ll get closure. If I’m totally honest I’d say that I’m not sure it will happen, but I hope it will.
“Our experiences with the police haven’t been great.
“I don’t think they’ve done a very good job. I hope they prove me wrong though.”
During the harrowing trial it was claimed that Charlene used to visit fast food shops in Blackpool and had been groomed to have sex with older men.
Prosecutors claimed secret recordings showed that she had been dismembered. Now officers are looking again at the original investigation.
Karen said: “It was an 11-week trial. It was awful. Then for the jury not to reach a verdict was excruciating. It’s great news they’re looking at it again.
“They tell me they’ll leave no stone on unturned. They’re determined.”