Belfast Telegraph

PSNI doing their best to find Arlene, inquest is told

By David Young

A senior detective has denied police are not doing enough to progress the inquest of a missing schoolgirl, revealing that more than 2,500 hours, at a cost of almost £75,000, have been diverted to the case since April.

Detective Superintendent Karen Baxter was called to give evidence to the coroner examining the murder of Arlene Arkinson, after police missed deadlines for security vetting and disclosing documents to the court.

"We simply don't have any other resources to put to this case in terms of disclosure," Ms Baxter told coroner Brian Sherrard.

Arlene (15) from Castlederg, Co Tyrone, vanished after a night out at a disco across the Irish border in Co Donegal in 1994.

She was last seen with convicted child killer Robert Howard, who died in prison last month.

Howard was acquitted of her murder, but the 71-year-old always remained the police's primary suspect in Arlene's disappearance and had been set to give evidence before her inquest, due to begin in February.

Failure by the PSNI to meet disclosure deadlines have thrown that start date into doubt.

The coroner set a new set of targets for disclosure, with the process due to be finished by early December.

Belfast Telegraph


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