Arlene Arkinson sister walks out of inquest

A distraught Arlene Arkinson's sister Kathleen walked out of Belfast Coroner's Court on Tuesday
A distraught Arlene Arkinson's sister Kathleen walked out of Belfast Coroner's Court on Tuesday

A distraught sister of missing teenager Arlene Arkinson walked out of an inquest on Tuesday as police defended their handling of the case.

Kathleen Arkinson sobbed as a former senior detective, who was part of a team that searched her home and dug up her garden, gave evidence to Belfast Coroner’s Court.

Arlene Arkinson has never been found after she disappeared in 1994

Arlene Arkinson has never been found after she disappeared in 1994

Paul Bennett, a retired PSNI detective constable described chaotic scenes as police and Army acting on an anonymous tip-off arrived at Ms Arkinson’s home in Castlederg, Co Tyrone in April 1996 - two years after the schoolgirl went missing.

Ms Arkinson became hysterical, the court was told.

“She was abusive and was shouting, she was not opening the door. She threw a vase and other items towards myself and other officers,” according to a statement made by the officer in July 1996 which was read to the court.

“She was roaring and shouting.

“She had a knife and said she would stick it through the first person through the door,” it was claimed.

When uniformed officers did gain entry, Ms Arkinson, whose crying children were also standing in the hallway, was handcuffed and taken into the living room.

Nothing was found during the search of the property at Drumnabey Park or in a second search which used radar equipment in 2002.

Throughout the officer’s testimony, Ms Arkinson shook her head and at one point had to be comforted by her solicitor. She left the courtroom visibly upset.

Mr Bennett said officers had been working to unravel the truth about Arlene’s disappearance and could not believe “everybody and everything”.

He said: “I believe that the police did everything they could have in a timely manner.

“The police were probing from the very bottom to try and establish the truth.”

Fifteen-year-old Arlene, from Castlederg, vanished after a night out at a disco across the Irish border in Co Donegal on August 13, 1994.

The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.