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Channel 5's 'The Murder Of Charlene Downes' Starts Tonight

A new three-part series will investigate the disappearance and suspected murder of 14-year-old Charlene Downes in 2003.

The chilling documentary, which will appear on Channel 5, follows the teen's disappearance from her hometown of Blackpool almost 16 years ago.

The case is the longest-running murder investigation in Lancashire Constabulary's history, and has spawned several different theories as to what happened to the school girl, who is now widely believed to have been sexually exploited and killed.


Credit: Channel 5
Credit: Channel 5

Channel 5 commissioned VICE Studios to produce the series in a bid to discover what really happened to the "vulnerable" youngster.

With "unprecedented access" to a former suspect, family and friends, the police, case lawyers and other key players, the documentary will explore every avenue of what may have happened to the "presumed murdered" teenager.

Officials have explored several possibilities around what happened to Charlene, with one shocking theory suggesting she had been chopped up and put into kebab meat as she went missing from an area known for its fast food outlets.

However, the trial later collapsed and the two men put on trial were subsequently paid compensation for false imprisonment.


Charlene's mother recently spoke on the 15th anniversary of her daughter's disappearance, telling the Blackpool Gazette: "When Charlene went missing it was horrendous. I kept on thinking she would turn up, that she was just pushing the boundaries and testing my patience."

Credit: Channel 5
Credit: Channel 5

She believes her daughter may have been groomed, adding: "If anything positive can come from this, I would like to help other families. I want other mothers to be aware of the signs of grooming - to spot them and act on them - before it is too late."

She added that she had difficulty getting the case taken seriously: "The police came but they just dismissed Charlene as a runaway. I can't help feeling we were sidelined because we are uneducated and working class."

The Murder of Charlene Downes starts tonight at 9pm on Channel 5 and will continue on Wednesday and Thursday.

Featured Image Credit: [object Object]

Topics: Entertainment, True Crime, TV News

Marianne Eloise

Marianne writes about TV, film and internet culture for Nylon, VICE, The Guardian, Vulture, Time Out and more. She was previously a staff writer at Dazed.

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