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Inquest into Arlene death to end within two weeks

By Michael McHugh

Published 06/05/2016

Murdered: Arlene Arkinson
Murdered: Arlene Arkinson

The Arlene Arkinson inquest should be finished within two weeks, a barrister told the coroner.

Former and current detectives are still due to give evidence to the badly-delayed proceedings into the disappearance of the Co Tyrone teenager in 1994.

Around 30 days of evidence have been heard, but the hearing was adjourned recently because of a legal matter that had just come to light.

Much of yesterday's hearing was held in closed session to discuss the issue.

Coroner Brian Sherrard said: "Inevitably, there is going to be a certain amount of stopping and starting."

He told counsel in the case he would not rush them into something they were not ready to proceed with.

Barrister for the coroner Frank O'Donohue QC said the inquest would sit next Monday and Tuesday and again the following week.

"That should conclude the inquest," he said.

Arlene, a 15-year-old schoolgirl, disappeared on August 13, 1994 as she returned to her Castlederg home from a disco in Donegal. Her body has never been found despite extensive searches.

Chief suspect Robert Howard was acquitted of her murder in 2005 by a jury unaware of his conviction for killing a south London teenager several years earlier. He was the last person seen with her alive. He died in prison last year.

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