Lancashire Police has very good reason to believe two teenage girls, Charlene Downes and Paige Chivers, were murdered in the Blackpool area.
Charlene was last seen on November 1 2003 and Paige was last sighted on August 23 2007.
Last year, both investigations were reviewed and new and incomplete lines of inquiry were identified. Although, the two inquiries are not being formally linked, they are both being classed as ‘no body murders’.
A ‘no body murder’ is one of the most challenging types of murders to investigate. In some of these cases, although there is no body, there will at the very least be a murder scene, which can provide valuable forensic evidence.
Unfortunately, in the case of these two young girls, there are no bodies and there is no physical evidence of a murder scene.
It is therefore unlikely a major breakthrough will happen in either case, unless an offender(s) makes a mistake, a body is discovered, a murder scene is identified or a person comes forward with information. In recent weeks the investigation into the murder of Paige has become more high profile, with searches taking place in the Bispham area.
Another important development has been Clive Grunshaw, the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, offering a £30,000 reward for any information, which leads to a conviction or to the recovery of Paige’s body.
That is a decent offer of a reward and I am not being critical of Mr Grunshaw but perhaps that reward should be increased. I would suggest a figure in excess of £100,000, purely for information that leads to the recovery of her body.
That kind of reward is a greater incentive to a person who may be closely linked or even related to the main offender(s).
This may also succeed in making both investigations more high profile, which could assist with the wider appeal for more information. For some reason these two murder inquiries have not received a profile sufficient to tweak the national conscience.
Although the answers to Charlene and Paige’s demise may lie within the Blackpool area, the vital piece information which starts the ball rolling may be further afield. It should be a concern to us all that the murder of two teenage girls from Lancashire does not appear to be of greater national interest.