Charlene Downes: does the BNP really want justice?
The British National Party is claiming credit for the announcement that the police are to launch a new enquiry into the death of Charlene Downes, who disappeared without trace in Blackpool on 1 November 2003, aged 14. But it is not a police investigation that the BNP really wants. The BNP has already decided that the two original suspects, business partners in a Blackpool kebab shop who were acquitted in 2007 of murdering Charlene and disposing of her body, are guilty.
An email letter today (3 November) signed by BNP leader Nick Griffin, headed “BNP pressure forces CPS to take action” quotes sound recordings allegedly of these two men talking about cutting up her body. And Lynne Mozar broadcasting on the BNP website states “everyone knows who murdered her” and the over 100 “people of interest” that the police identified in the year after her disappearance simply didn’t exist. These people included white British, Arab and Asian men according to an investigation in The Times on Friday. Inconvenient them not all being Muslims, hence Mozar’s denial.
The Times report revealed the existence of confidential reports and witness statements that “contain evidence from child protection professionals that Charlene was exposed to sex offenders almost from birth and that a succession of older white men, most of them invited into the family home by her father, were known or suspected to have abused her”.
The BNP has worked closely with Charlene’s mother, Karen Downes, who told The Times she would continue to “fight against grooming gangs with the BNP”, claiming that Islam was “a vile religion of hate” but that she did not hate all Muslims.
Any outcome of the police investigation other than the arrests of Muslims will of course be unacceptable to the BNP, which is only interested in justice for Charlene if it furthers the party’s Islamophobic agenda. For Mrs Downes, focusing on “Muslim grooming gangs” may be a way of avoiding facing any failings by herself and her husband in caring for Charlene, if what The Times reported is true. And Mrs Downes has indeed been let down by the police whose original investigation was seriously flawed and by child protection staff during Charlene’s short life. She may feel that nobody else is on her side apart from the BNP.
Interviewed by Mozar for BNP TV, Griffin claimed that Mrs Downes was not even told about the reopening of the police investigation but learnt of it from the BNP. If that is true, it is concerning. Even a BNP supporter should be treated with respect and decency by the police investigating her daughter’s murder.
In the same interview Griffin paid tribute to Margaret Walker, saying “people like her made this breakthrough [reopening the investigation] possible”. Walker, as Searchlight reported in July 2012, received an antisocial behaviour order ordering her not to write or distribute leaflets. Her viciously crazy leaflets (example below) are the last thing that could have influenced anyone.
The tenth anniversary of Charlene’s disappearance was also an opportunity for the BNP to hold a street demonstration in Blackpool calling for justice for her. Quite why the BNP bothered is unclear. Pictures on the BNP website show a small group of activists with banners proclaiming “Unite for justice”. With whom they wish to unite is not stated. Scrolling down the page you get to a picture of a somewhat larger group of people in a pub, clearly a more attractive location than the cold, wet streets of Blackpool.
Margaret Walker’s crazy leaflet
From Searchlight Magazine . Report by Sonia Gable. 03.11.13