Family’s relief as inquest to be held in Omagh

File photo dated 13/02/12 of Arlene Arkinson's sister Kathleen who has spoken of her relief at a coroner's ruling that her inquest should be held near her home town. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday August 30, 2013. The hearing, scheduled to start next April, will take place in Omagh and is expected to last for just over two months. Kathleen Arkinson said travelling to Belfast would have traumatised the family all over again. See PA story ULSTER Arkinson. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire

File photo dated 13/02/12 of Arlene Arkinson's sister Kathleen who has spoken of her relief at a coroner's ruling that her inquest should be held near her home town. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday August 30, 2013. The hearing, scheduled to start next April, will take place in Omagh and is expected to last for just over two months. Kathleen Arkinson said travelling to Belfast would have traumatised the family all over again. See PA story ULSTER Arkinson. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire

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A sister of murdered schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson has spoken of her relief at a coroner’s ruling that her inquest should be held in Omagh and not Belfast.

The hearing, scheduled to start on April 28, is expected to last for just over two months.

Kathleen Arkinson said travelling to Belfast would have traumatised the family all over again.

“It is a total relief. If we had to go up to Laganside again everything would be brought back to us.

“We would have had no confidence in anything and it would have meant so much travelling which would have been hard for family members who are not well,” she said.

Arlene, 15, from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, disappeared in August 1994 after a night out at a disco in Donegal.

Her body has never been found.

In 2005 child killer Robert Howard was acquitted of murder but the jury was unaware he had a history of sex attacks and that two years earlier he was found guilty of murdering Hannah Williams, 14, in south London.

A preliminary hearing at Belfast’s Old Town Hall was told Howard, currently behind bars at Frankland prison in Co Durham, will give evidence via video link.

Ms Arkinson said: “I don’t know what way we are going to feel when we see him. I don’t know what reaction we are going to have.

“But,I am sure we will have the strength to get through the inquest.”