Belfast Telegraph

Arlene Arkinson file now ready for coroner

BY MICHAEL McHUGH

Sensitive police material on the murder of an Northern Ireland schoolgirl is ready for a coroner to view, an inquest has heard.

Robert Howard, who was acquitted of killing 15-year-old Arlene Arkinson, has been granted funding for legal representation. A full hearing is scheduled for this spring and Howard is expected to appear as a witness.

Senior coroner John Leckey held a preliminary session in Belfast.

Mark Robinson, a PSNI barrister, said sensitive documents relating to the case were ready for the coroner's office to view at a police station in Carrickfergus.

Mr Leckey will then decide whether the information can be disclosed to the victim's family and lawyers for Howard.

The coroner said: "Time is marching on, April 28 is not long."

Arlene, from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, went missing in August 1994 after a disco in Donegal. Her body has never been found.

In 2005, Howard was found not guilty of murder but the jury was unaware he had a history of sex attacks and that he was found guilty of murdering a London schoolgirl.

A long-delayed inquest is due to take place in Omagh in April.

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