Killer in fresh move to block Arlene inquest

Child killer Robert Howard has made a fresh attempt to block the holding of an inquest into the death of murdered Castlederg teenager Arlene Arkinson.

Howard has lodged an appeal against the dismissal last December of his application for a judicial review of the Northern Ireland coroner’s decision to examine the 15 year-old’s disappearance in 1994. His legal team claimed the move was an attempt to undermine the not guilty verdict returned against him when he stood trial for the schoolgirl’s murder in 2005.

The jury in the trial for the murder of Arlene, whose body has never been found, were not told that Howard was already serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of 14 year-old Hannah Williams from Deptford, south London.

“That monster cannot be allowed to affect the inquest into our sister’s death,” Arlene’s sister Kathleen Arkinson told the Journal.

She reiterated the call for Howard to appear at the inquest and “tell the truth”.

“If he says he’s an innocent man then he should try to clear his name in the witness box,” she added.

On Monday next the Arkinson family will travel to Belfast for a pre-liminary hearing for the inquest into Arlene’s disappearance. The inquest has been pencilled in for September and is expected to last for up to three months. Due to the unavailability of a suitable local venue for the anticipated duration, it’s believed the hearing may be held in Belfast - something which the Arlene’s family say is “unacceptable”.

“The inquest must be held in Derry, Strabane or Omagh - that’s what our legal team will be arguing. Anyone who wants to hold it in Belfast is in for a challenge because I’m not giving up on this.” Kathleen Arkinson said.

Arlene Arkinson went missing after attending a disco in County Donegal

Arlene’s sister, Kathleen, said the jury was unaware of Howard’s criminal history and she did not blame any juror for the acquittal verdict.