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Man held on suspicion of 2003 murder of missing teenager Charlene Downes

The 14-year-old went missing in Blackpool on November 1, 2003.

A 51-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a teenage girl who disappeared more than a decade ago.

Charlene Downes was 14 when she vanished in Blackpool, Lancashire, on November 1 2003.

The suspect, who lived in the area at the time, is in custody for questioning.

Officers made several arrests for historical sexual offences last year during a case that has become the largest and longest investigation in Lancashire Police’s history, involving numerous media appeals and a £100,000 reward offered.

But they were said to not be directly connected to Charlene’s murder as the probe into the teenager’s disappearance is also looking at the wider issue of child sexual exploitation in the resort.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers.org they can email: charlenedownesinvestigation@lancashire.pnn.police.uk.

Charlene was last seen when she kissed her mother goodbye to go to see friends on Blackpool Promenade.

A jury failed to reach a verdict in a murder trial in 2007 and a retrial collapsed in 2008 after the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence.

Two men charged over her disappearance joked that Charlene had “gone into kebabs”, a jury was told at the original trial at Preston Crown Court.

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