Belfast Telegraph

Garda unearths fresh details on missing Arlene Arkinson

By Staff Reporter

Substantive information has been unearthed in the Republic over the disappearance of Arlene Arkinson, a lawyer has said.

The material includes a purported meeting between Garda and the former girlfriend of Robert Howard, the prime suspect in the murder of the schoolgirl, who disappeared in 1994.

Other material includes papers on lines of enquiry pursued by the Garda and searches carried out south of the border.

Arlene (15), from Castlederg, Co Tyrone, vanished after a night out in Co Donegal in August 1994.

Ivor McAteer, a legal representative for the Arkinson family, told her inquest: "The family are delighted that the enquiries are moving forward."

Arlene was last seen being driven down a country road by Howard, a convicted paedophile with a lengthy criminal history.

Despite extensive searches her body has never been found.

The inquest opened in February 2016 and has heard evidence from dozens of witnesses including Howard's former girlfriend Patricia Quinn and senior detectives who worked on the case.

Yesterday's preliminary hearing was told a meeting was held with Ms Quinn, her sister and a representative of the Garda.

The Arkinson family have been critical of the length of time the inquest has taken.

The coroner told the court he was mindful of the need to avoid delays.

"I don't want to adjourn this generally. I want to keep momentum," he added.

The next hearing has been scheduled to take place on October 23.

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