Belfast Telegraph

Arlene inquest stalled by red tape, court told

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Red tape is barring officials from Dublin giving evidence to the inquest into missing Arlene Arkinson, a coroner's court heard yesterday.

Judge Brian Sherrard expressed dissatisfaction at the continuing delays stalling the conclusion of the long-running inquest.

He told Belfast Coroner's Court: "I am disappointed that we are still at this stage having been in correspondence with An Garda Siochana."

Arlene, from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, vanished aged 15 in August 1994 after a night out across the border in Co Donegal.

She was last seen being driven off down a country road late at night by convicted child killer Robert Howard.

He was acquitted of the schoolgirl's murder in 2005 by a jury not told about his lengthy criminal history, which included killing another teenager, Hannah Williams, in south London several years earlier.

Arlene's body has never been found despite extensive searches. Howard remained the prime suspect until his death in prison last year.

The full inquest formally opened in February after years of delays.

Correspondence with An Garda Siochana and the State Solicitor's Office has yielded little, the court heard.

Mr Sherrard said: "I am happy to meet representatives from An Garda Siochana or the State Solicitor's Office in an attempt to find a way through any red tape."

The hearing was adjourned until September 19.

Belfast Telegraph


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