Friday, May 25, 2007

Britain: A Jordanian immigrant who murdered a schoolgirl joked that she had been chopped up and put into kebabs

Jaya Narain:

A fast-food shop owner who murdered a schoolgirl joked that she had been "chopped up" and put into kebabs, a court heard yesterday.

Iyad Albattikhi had been having sex with 14-year-old Charlene Downes, the jury was told.

She was one of a number of white girls who went into alleyways behind restaurants in Blackpool to have sex with the men who worked in the takeaways.

Albattikhi, 29, who owns the resort's Funny Boyz fast food shop, is accused of murdering Charlene, who went missing three and a half years ago. Her body has never been found.

Prosecutor Tim Holroyde, QC, told Preston Crown Court that witnesses heard Albattikhi and others talking about Charlene.

He said: "These people were talking about sex with white girls and there was mention of having sex with Charlene.

"Albattikhi laughed and said she was kinky and she was very small - the plainest possible indication that he was lying to the police when he said he did not know her.

"He and others present were then laughingly saying that Charlene had gone into the kebabs."

Charlene, who had been expelled from school, spent her time hanging around shops on Blackpool promenade, the court heard.

She kissed her mother goodbye on a Saturday evening in November 2003 and never came home, the jury heard.

Police launched a murder investigation after receiving information that a girl had been "killed and chopped up", said Mr Holroyde.

Albattikhi, a Jordanian immigrant, ran the takeaway with his landlord, Mohammed Reveshi, who is originally from Iran.

Reveshi, 50, is charged with helping Albattikhi dispose of Charlene's body. Both men deny the charges and have told police they never knew the girl.

The teenager had become familiar around the takeaways and would sometimes get free food, said Mr Holroyde.

He said: "In addition, she was one of a number of adolescent white girls who sometimes went at night to the alleyway behind the restaurants.

"She and others went there to meet much older men from the restaurants, and it seems perfectly clear that there was at times some sexual activity."

Mr Holroyde added: "Of course, it goes without saying that sexual activity between these adult men and a 14-year-old girl would be a crime which could be expected to have serious consequences for them, so they would have every reason to want to prevent the police ever getting to learn of it."

Police spoke to Albattikhi and Reveshi after Charlene disappeared but they insisted they did not know her, the jury was told.

Mr Holroyde claimed they lied about knowing Charlene because "one of them murdered her and the other has disposed of the body".

Detectives later bugged the men's flats and Reveshi's car. Mr Holroyde said parts of these tape recordings were "revealing".

Dead girl chopped up, court told

I've put Charlene in the kebabs

Charlene Downes - a murder too far for the MSM

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