Arlene Arkinson family ‘let down’ by authorities

Arlene Arkinson
Arlene Arkinson

The sister of a schoolgirl believed to have been murdered and secretly buried by a notorious child killing rapist says her family feel let down by the authorities.

Kathleen Arkinson has accused the PSNI of stalling inquest proceedings for her younger sibling Arlene Arkinson, who vanished in 1994.

In a stinging attack after chief murder suspect Robert Howard died in prison on Friday, Ms Arkinson said: “I am 100 per cent critical of the police. They have held back and held back for 21 years.

“They have waited so long until he died. I am so angry, we are all angry.”

In the eight years since a preliminary inquest process began, a number of fixed hearing dates have been scrapped due to delays in disclosing papers.

Most recently, a September start date was postponed until November at which Howard was due to give evidence.

Ms Arkinson added: “I knew he was sick but I didn’t realise he was dying. I wanted him to be alive to take the stand at the inquest. But, we still want the papers from the police. We want answers. It has been 21 years – we could have three death certificates for Arlene. But, it looks like Howard will get his before her.”

Meanwhile, Ms Arkinson has vowed her quest for justice would continue and has called for fresh searches to locate her body.

In a statement the PSNI expressed regret at the delay and said work was ongoing to complete the disclosure process.

“On behalf of the coroner, PSNI disclosed material to the family in 2013 as part of the inquest process. However, earlier this year, the coroner then directed that PSNI review proposed redactions within some of the material. Work has been ongoing in relation to this and is expected to be completed soon,” it said.