Page last updated at 19:42 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 20:42 UK

Murder accused has charge dropped

Charlene Downes
Charlene Downes' body has never been found

The man accused of murdering a 14-year-old girl whose body was later claimed to have "gone into kebabs" walked free from court on a separate charge.

Iyad Albattikhi was cleared of killing Blackpool teenager Charlene Downes at Preston Crown Court last month.

But he could not be named because he faced a trial on separate allegations of indecent assault.

The Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence for the assault charge and the case was dismissed.

Charlene has not been seen since November 1 2003 when she kissed her mother goodbye to go off to see friends on Blackpool Promenade.

Mr Albattikhi, 30, and his co-accused Mohammed Reveshi joked that Charlene had "gone into kebabs", a jury was told at their original trial at Preston in May last year.

Retrial collapse

The jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict.

Mr Reveshi, 50, was also acquitted of helping to dispose of her body.

Both men spent two-and-a-half years in prison on remand.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is managing Lancashire Police's internal investigation into the reasons behind the collapse of the retrial.

No trace of Charlene has ever been found.

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