The cross-dressing father of a missing schoolgirl has blamed The Jeremy Kyle Show for ruining his life when he claims all he wanted to do was find his daughter.
Bob Downes, father of missing Blackpool teen Charlene Downes, claims he only agreed to appear on the ITV show to raise awareness of his daughter's case.
But he says he now feels he was persuaded to be a guessed under false pretences and his appearance has ruined his life.
The Jeremy Kyle Show has now been cancelled by ITV following the death of guest, Steven Dymond.
Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO, said: “Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show.
“The Jeremy Kyle Show has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for 14 years, but now is the right time for the show to end.
“Everyone at ITV's thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond.
"The previously announced review of the episode of the show is underway and will continue.
"ITV will continue to work with Jeremy Kyle on other projects."
Father-of-four Bob agreed to appear on the show after he admitted to being a cross-dresser after police searching their home for clues about their daughter found women’s clothing belonging to him.
It emerged Bob had an alter-ego called ‘Martina’ and that he had, in the past, considered gender reassignment.
But he says the backlash and abuse which followed his appearance on the show last November has left him at breaking point.
Bob said: “I thought that by going on the show we would be able to highlight the investigation into my daughter’s disappearance.
"I wanted publicity for the search and I wanted to raise awareness of the issues of grooming and sexual exploitation of missing kids.
“But my cross-dressing was brought up and I felt like a freak. It was very uncomfortable."
And it was a heartbreaking appearance for both Bob and his wife Karen.
He explained: "My wife, Karen, actually said on the show that she no longer loved me and she admitted she was only standing by me for the sake of our missing daughter.
“It broke me – to have my relationship and my deepest personal issues aired live on TV like that.
"I just was not prepared for it or for how it would be received by the public, by people who knew me.
“Afterwards I was abused. I was spat at in the street and I had pints thrown over me in pubs.
"I felt like I couldn’t leave the house. I was totally humiliated.
“I feel it’s a good thing that the show has been cancelled.
"It’s not before time. People are not aware of the lasting damage it can do.”
Tragic Steve, 62, – who suffered from depression – was reportedly lured by the promise of a free lie detector test that he hoped would prove he hadn't cheated on on-off fiancée Jane Callaghan.
But it backfired when he failed, allegedly prompting host Jeremy to 'rip in to him' and Jane to end things for good.
Just over a week later he was found dead in his rented bedroom surrounded by letters written to loved ones.
He had been dead for some days.
Charlene vanished in November 2003, aged 14.
Two local takeaway workers stood trial for Charlene’s murder in May 2007 but were not convicted.
The prosecution claimed that Charlene’s body had been cut up and minced into kebabs in a Blackpool takeaway.
After a planned retrial was abandoned in 2008, Karen and Bob began to give up hope of ever finding the truth.
Karen’s book, ‘Sold In Secret’ tells the full story of Charlene’s disappearance and the devastating effect it has had on their family.
She said: “I stick with Bob from duty and from love for Charlene. I no longer love him.
"Our daughter bonds us together but we have no closure, no justice.”
A three-part documentary into the tragedy: ‘The Murder Of Charlene Downes’ will be aired by Channel 5 next week.
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