Arlene Arkinson's murderer Howard takes his secrets to the grave
Child killer Robert Howard, the only suspect in the murder of Castlederg teenager Arlene Arkinson, has died - taking his chilling secrets to the grave.
Howard was the last person to see the young girl alive when he offered her a lift home from a disco in Co Donegal in August 1994.
The 71-year-old, who was one of the most notorious and prolific sexual predators in the UK and Ireland, died in prison on Friday night, where he was serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of another schoolgirl in 2001.
Howard abducted Hannah Williams and strangled her before dumping her body in London.
Speaking after receiving the news of his death from the PSNI, Arlene's sister Kathleen said it had "sickened" her.
"If you had hit me with a sword, I wouldn't have felt it as hard", she said. "And if there is a Heaven, there is also a place down below and that's where he is heading."
Howard was due to give evidence at an inquest into the 15-year-old's death and Kathleen is now furious that the rapist and murderer has escaped the witness box.
She said: "He has got his own way as usual, he has taken his secrets to the grave."
Arlene's inquest was ordered eight years ago, but evidence is yet to start being heard.
Now that Howard has died the family's hopes of ever getting any answers have been shattered.
Arlene has not been seen since August 14, 1994, when it is believed Howard murdered her and disposed of her body.
Kathleen said her thoughts were also with Hannah Williams' mum. She said: "It is hard for her to know that Howard didn't even finish his sentence for killing Hannah."
Howard is suspected of carrying out a string of murders and rapes over a 40-year period.
A spokesperson for the prison service said: "Robert Howard was pronounced dead in hospital at 1.55pm on Friday. As with all deaths in custody there will be an investigation."