New heartbreak for family of girl ‘murdered and served as kebab’ as brother dies

The younger brother of a schoolgirl feared murdered and turned into kebab meat has been found dead, inflicting more heartbreak on his poor family.

Robert Downes, 30, was found “in a pool of blood” at his home in Blackpool, Lancashire, earlier this month on December 4, just a few hours after complaining of feeling unwell.

This tragedy comes 18 years after his older sister Charlene, who was 14 at the time, vanished without a trace, sparking one of the biggest police probes in history.

Cops believe the teenager was murdered by a grooming gang, but her body was never found.

Two local takeaway workers stood trial for her murder in May 2007 when prosecutors claimed Charlene's body had been cut up and minced into kebabs and her bones crushed into tile grouting.

But charges were dropped when a jury were unable to reach a verdict.

Now, nearly two decades later, her brother Robert, a father-of-four, has died in mysterious and tragic circumstances.

He had gone to a football match with his dad at Blackpool FC's Bloomfield Road stadium where he worked as a steward.

Shortly after arriving there, however, Robert complained of feeling ill and left.

He returned home at 6:30pm and fell asleep a short time later in an upstairs bedroom, which was the last time he was seen alive.

At around 11:30pm, his father returned home and went upstairs to check on his son and found him unresponsive on his bedroom floor surrounded by blood.

Paramedics were called to the house and Robert was pronounced dead at the scene, while his death is not believed to be suspicious.

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Robert's distraught mum Karen, 56, said she will not celebrate Christmas Day after the latest tragedy.

She said: "I only saw him that morning and he was fit and well. They said 'sorry, he's gone'. I just screamed.

"He was perfectly fine that morning, and just a few hours later he was dead on the floor.

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"The worst part was seeing them taking him away in that bag. It's unreal. He was only 30. I can't wrap my head around it – it was so sudden."

"I'm heartbroken. I still can't believe it. I still think he's going to walk up and knock on the door.

"Losing him as well as Charlene is just too much – I know it's been 18 years, but it doesn't get better. I'll never be the same again.

"Robert was the baby of the family, and my only boy. I already know what it's like to lose a child and it's not something you can ever get over.

"I'm sitting here bursting into tears every day. I've still got the last t-shirt he wore.

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"There are no Christmas decorations in our house. There'll be no Christmas Day for us. It's absolutely devastated me."

Post-mortem results came back inconclusive, meaning his family must now wait for an inquest to determine the cause.

Robert's funeral will take place at Carleton Crematorium in Blackpool on January 10.

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