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Wednesday 21st August 2019

Murder of Charlene Downes viewers baffled after dark allegations in episode two

Viewers don't know what to think

The second episode of new Channel 5 documentary series The Murder of Charlene Downes aired last night (May 22) but left many viewers feeling no closer to the truth.

Telly fans didn't know what to think after one audio expert discussed the tape recordings used against the top suspects and found them inadmissible.

Forensic audiologist Elizabeth McCelland, who listened to the surveillance tapes of Mohammed Reveshi, claimed the case's top investigator was 'biased' as she transcribed the recordings.

Elizabeth McCelland (Credit: Channel 5)

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Speaking on the programme, McCelland said cops' interpretation of what was on the tapes lacked "phonetic or linguistic support".

Kebab shop owner Mohammed Reveshi, who shocked viewers in the first episode by claiming he couldn't give a toss if missing teen Charlene is alive or dead, was a prime suspect alongside Iyad Albattikhi.

Police suspected Reveshi and Albattikhi had something to do with Charlene's disappearance, so they planted listening devices in Reveshi's home and car in the hope of securing evidence against him.

After four weeks of monitoring his and Albattikhi's conversations, they amassed 52 tapes and the recordings were transcribed by DS Jan Beasant.

DS Jan Beasant (Credit: Channel 5)

When the case went to Preston Crown Court, the only evidence police had against the suspects were the tape transcripts.

But according to forensic audio expert Elizabeth McCelland, Beasant - who volunteered to go through the tapes - was biased.

McCelland said on the show: "It's extremely important that when recordings are being transcribed, that the person doing the task is objective, that they don't already have very strong views or indeed any views at all about how far that evidence is going to be used to support a case.

Kudos to Channel 5 for going beyond the 'Charlene Downes was put in kebabs' BS that continues to be shared on social media.

"In this instance, the police officer transcript showed several signs that she had been subject to confirmation bias, which is the technical term for being influenced by the events which she had investigated."

McCelland said that as DS Beasant was one of the main officers on the case, she "could not possibly" have produced unbiased transcripts.

There was one particularly incriminating transcript that alleged Reveshi referred to a "burial place" but McCelland, after listening to the tapes herself, said: "You won't hear burial place on this, I doubt that it's there."

McCelland wasn't convinced the transcripts matched the recordings (Credit: Channel 5)

One element holding back the quality of the recordings was the fact that one listening device was placed near a TV.

A detective on the Charlene Downes case, Don Fraser, admitted the audibility of the recordings was "very problematic" and "very, very poor".

Reveshi, who was interviewed for the documentary and created his own transcripts of the tapes, said of the coppers' version: "I never said anything like that, where is it all coming from?"

Reveshi created his own transcripts (Credit: Channel 5)

The grisly theory that Charlene was chopped up and served as kebab meat came from the transcripts, but Channel 5's documentary has suggested there's no real evidence to support that line.

Two episodes in and it appears viewers are no more certain about what happened than they were before.

One wrote on Twitter: "The murder of #CharleneDownes is shocking. It’s just idk."

Another said: "Kudos to Channel 5 for going beyond the '#CharleneDownes was put in kebabs' BS that continues to be shared on social media."

A third commented: "When the focus of a case is more about the race or religion of the perpetrator than it is about the victims and justice; then people loose. Any and everybody should be called out for their wrongdoings!"

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Someone else tweeted: "I don't know what to think about this documentary... #CharleneDownes."

A fifth said: "#Channel5 #CharleneDownes absolutely shocked as to how still NO ONE has been put in prison yet all the evidence is there stacked up. Get me prime minister."

Another viewer wrote: "I am so lost with this tragic case. Everyone seems to be shady as hell."

- The Murder of Charlene Downes continues on Channel 5 tonight (May 23) at 9pm

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