Most people will be aware of Karen Downes, the Blackpool based mother of missing schoolgirl Charlene Downes. She has become somewhat of a cause célèbre for the British National Party since both parties threw their weights behind each other.
The police recently announced they were reopening the investigation into the disappearance of Charlene, 14, who went missing ten years ago. It is right and proper that they should do so, too. According to one newspaper report into the life of Charlene, she may have been abused by up to 100 men before her death. Her mother, Karen, insists that she was murdered and served up in kebabs by a Blackpool kebab house.
In 2007 two business partners were tried for murdering Charlene and disposing of her body using a mincing machine. Iyad Albattikhi and Mohammed Reveshi later received six-figure compensation sums for false imprisonment.
Karen is not cooperating with the new police investigation, but she and Charlene’s father are prepared to participate in an inquiry. Despite the BNP previously using the presumed death of Charlene as part of its anti-Muslim campaign in Nick Griffin’s European Parliamentary campaign, it emerged that police drew up a list of 100 ‘people of interest’, suspected of abusing Charlene, including a succession of older white men, which Charlene’s mother Karen told the Daily Mail were ‘exaggerated and widely untrue’.
What is true however, is that there has been an enormous number of claims and counter claims about the life of Charlene that give the impression, if true, that her short life was incredibly sad and disturbing.
Confidential police documents seen by The Times Newspaper allegedly show that as a 12-year-old she was seen by a visiting council worker scooping up pound coins in a revealing nightie as a man in his sixties buttoned up his fly.
Her police file also contains an admission by a 40-year-old friend of the parents that he had paid her to perform a sex act on him, a report that a man on bail for sexual offences was staying with the family at the time of her disappearance and a report claiming that during Charlene’s short life at least 16 men with convictions for rape, assault and violence visited her home.
Since joining the BNP in their anti-Muslim hate campaign, Charlene’s mother, Karen, has been a regular fixture at Nick Griffin’s side during his fleeting visits to his constituency. During a lobbying stunt just before the police announcement, Griffin was supposed to lead an ambush in the street of a lead member of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), but arrived late and missed his opportunity to portray himself as some sort of Gladiator. It transpired that the police had already made their minds up to re-open the investigation.
Why the BNP was lobbying the CPS and not the police is a bit of a mystery, as is to us, why Mrs Downes is apparently refusing to cooperate with an investigation by the police.
But Karen’s star appears to be falling from grace within the party. A number of women activists have raised concerns about her social and private life and it is believed Downes was also involved in a bust up with another member of the party at their recent conference in Blackpool, over money.
In October of this year, Karen Downes was in court after an altercation with her daughter, Rebecca, who pleaded guilty to assaulting Karen after believing that Karen Downes was cheating on her father.
BNP insiders allege that Downes has received cash and computers from the BNP leadership in exchange for helping with their campaign. HNH assume that if true, this would be only to cover expenses incurred in her campaigning with them.
What has come to light in the last few weeks is that Downes has flown a “lover” to Blackpool from New Zealand, whom she met on line and promised him a relationship, despite still living with her husband. This has since turned sour.
Aldwyn Bailey, 27, claims he flew to the UK to be with Downes and to escape a life on loneliness in New Zealand after becoming involved on line with Downes through his support for the BNP.
Bailey is now complaining that he has carried out acts of vandalism for her and faces prosecution from the police for his actions and has been limited to just two hours of her company.
Downes does not deny that this is true, or that she instructed Bailey to carry out the vandalism.
Bailey is desperately trying to save the relationship. Downes however, has asked her followers not just to report Bailey for working illegally in an Indian restaurant, but has also hinted that she would like Bailey beaten up for harassing and threatening her.
We do hope this is one police investigation that Karen will help the police with.
Head of Intelligence
Matthew Collins has been the focus of two BBC documentaries, 'Life Etc' in 2001 and the BBC3 film 'Dead Man Walking' (2004). His autobiography is 'HATE: My Life in the British Far Right' (Biteback) and he is also author of 'Nazi Terrorist: The Story of National Action' (HOPE not hate). He is a regular contributor to news & broadcast media.Twitter