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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 August 2007, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Retrial in kebab shop murder case
Charlene Downes
Charlene Downes' body has never been found
The jury in the trial of a kebab shop owner accused of killing a schoolgirl and joking she had gone into the food has failed to reach a verdict.

Iyad Albattikhi, 30, of Dickson Road, Blackpool, denies killing 14-year-old Charlene Downes.

His business partner and landlord, Mohammed Reveshi, 50, of Hornby Road, denies helping to dispose of the body.

The judge at Preston Crown Court ordered a retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

No trace of the teenager's body has ever been found.

Remanded in custody

After deliberating for just over 49 hours the jury told Mr Justice Henriques that it was "highly unlikely" that they would be able to reach a verdict.

On the 11th day of deliberations they were dismissed by the judge.

Both Mr Albattikhi and Mr Reveshi were remanded in custody pending a retrial, which is likely to take place in January next year.

Speaking outside the court over the judge's decision to order a retrial, Charlene's father Robert Downes, said: "I can't believe we went through all this to be told it's a retrial.

"We've just got to be strong and upbeat about this."


SEE ALSO
Kebab shop murder jury sent home
30 Jul 07 |  Lancashire
Jury retires in teen death trial
24 Jul 07 |  Lancashire
Dead girl chopped up, court told
24 May 07 |  Lancashire
Man, 28, denies teenager's murder
20 Jun 06 |  Lancashire
Pair in court over Charlene death
09 Mar 06 |  Lancashire

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