Lover jailed over knife attack on Karen Downes

Mark Bailey is behind bars. Picuture Karen Downes
Mark Bailey is behind bars. Picuture Karen Downes
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The grieving mum of murdered Blackpool teenager Charlene Downes, who disappeared a decade ago, has been attacked for a third time by her lover whom she met online when she set up a website for her daughter.

Jealous Mark Bailey, 29, of Derby Road, North Shore attacked Karen Downes and held a knife to her, threatening to “chop her up.”

Charlene Downes as she was when she went missing in 2003

Charlene Downes as she was when she went missing in 2003

Preston Crown Court heard despite the attack, Mrs Downes was supportive of him and had written a letter to the judge saying she didn’t ‘condone his behaviour’ and realised he was ‘angry and frustrated’ at her not being able to make a ‘full commitment’ to him.

She wrote: “He is normally a lovely man and a talented musician who plays the piano. I love Mark very much and I forgive him”.

But jailing him for 12 months, Judge Richard Pearce said: “ It would have been frankly terrifying for her. It is clear she stands by you and stands by the relationship - one may also think she blames herself but she has no reason to blame herself.

“In the context of domestic violence, what a victim has to say can only be one small part of the picture.

You’re going to stay tonight aren’t you, you know what will happen if you don’t. I’ll chop you up, I’ll kill that family of yours as well

“It’s my job to protect people and that I will do by passing an appropriate sentence.”

Bailey, who admits affray, travelled half-way round the world from New Zealand to declare his love for Mrs Downes, 50, after befriending her on the website she set up.

He already has convictions for attacking her on two other occasions in which he pulled her hair in public.

In his latest terrifying attack, he grabbed a knife and threatened to stab Mrs Downes after getting into a rage when she told him she couldn’t stay at his home as her family were visiting.

Prosecuting, Lisa Worlsey said she went to his home on Derby Road on August 23 and on her arrival he asked her for some money.

She said she wouldn’t have any until tomorrow. He then demanded she go to shops for some food.

She added: “He called her a liar, and refused to make her a coffee. He then asked her if she was staying but she said she had to return home as her daughter and grandchildren were coming.

“He replied by saying: ‘You’re putting that stupid bitch before me’ and picked up a white handled kitchen knife, raised it to her face, and said: ‘You’re going to stay tonight aren’t you, you know what will happen if you don’t. I’ll chop you up, I’ll kill that family of yours as well.’ “

Bailey then turned the TV up and wound the blinds down, before grabbing her hair and punching her twice, the court heard.

He then pressed the knife onto her leg shouting: “You will come back tomorrow or you know what will happen. You will do what I say when I say.”

The victim then ran out onto street towards Dickson Road.

Police were called and found him climbing out of a window. One officer drew his Taser to subdue him.

Bailey was interviewed and made no comment.

Defending, Daniel Harman, said Bailey regreted deeply what he had done and was determined to address his anger management issues.

Despite Lancashire Police’s biggest ever missing persons inquiry 14-year-old Charlene has never been found.