A man who went on trial accused of disposing of the body of Charlene Downes has said of the missing schoolgirl: “I don’t care whether she’s alive or dead. I couldn’t give a toss to be honest.”
Charlene Downes was 14 in 2003 when she disappeared in Blackpool. Police believed that she was groomed by sexual predators before being murdered, with the case gaining particular notoriety due to allegations the girl had been dismembered, fed into a mincing machine, and then served as kebab meat.
Iranian migrant Mohammed Reveshi, who owns several takeaway shops in the area, along with Iyad Albattikhi, stood trial at Preston Crown Court for the crime, but the jury failed to reach a verdict and a subsequent retrial was dropped due to lack of evidence.
Reveshi made his aforementioned statement about the girl’s fate in a new documentary about the case which aired on Channel 5.
Mr Reveshi has always professed his innocence, insisting that, “As far as I’m concerned I’ve never come across her, I do not know her, I would not recognise her and I’ve never seen her in my life” in one of the programme’s scenes.
Police who worked on the case expressed scepticism, with Detective Don Fraser telling Channel 5, “You have to believe coincidence after coincidence to give Reveshi credibility. I think he’s a dangerous man, extremely clever, manipulative, and extremely wealthy now.”
Grooming Gang Victim’s Mother: Police Ignored Pleas to Find Charlene Because She Was Working Class https://t.co/8ihTm7kvCh
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 31, 2018
Detective Fraser alleged that he was previously friendly with Mr Reveshi but a “major problem” involving young girls watching softcore pornography at his house led him to grow suspicious of the Iranian’s character.
Mr Reveshi later applied to be a foster parent. When asked why he applied, he said he wanted to be “helpful” and dismissed out of hand allegations he was sleeping with teenagers in his care.
“I didn’t even sit next to them. If they were on a sofa, I was on another chair,” he said.
WATCH: Quilliam’s Maajid Nawaz Blasts ‘Complicit’ Politicians and Police in Pakistani Grooming Gang Coverup https://t.co/yQkIiw1mGq
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 16, 2018
The police first came to suspect Mr Reveshi when a local businessman, David Cassidy, alleged that Reveshi and Albattikhi were involved.
Cassidy said: “I’d heard rumours of Reveshi and girls getting in his van and not being seen until the next day.
“I’d also been told he had been seen with three young girls in his bed, one was 12 at the time, and one was Charlene Downes. She had apparently had enough and was going to go to the police.
“Apparently that’s what triggered something in their heads. Charlene ended up in Albattikhi’s room and Reveshi helped dispose of the body,” Mr Cassidy claimed.
Based on Mr Cassidy’s report, the police began surveillance of Mr Reveshi and Mr Albattikhi, installing covert recording devices in Reveshi’s home and car, and were said to be “shocked” by what they heard.
One of Charlene Downes’s friends claimed she was groomed in Blackpool’s “P*ki alley” by takeaway owners.
“Charlene was my soulmate, if she was around now we’d be married with kids. When alcohol and fags started being given, I asked her to come with me. She said no, so I went home and I never saw her again,” he said.
A report by think tank Quilliam has found that more than eight out of ten men convicted of grooming gang offences have an 'Asian' background, while victims are "almost exclusively white girls". https://t.co/WMYGngGPDf
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 10, 2017