Howard’s long string of convictions listed

Arlene Arkinson and her suspected killer Robert Howard
Arlene Arkinson and her suspected killer Robert Howard

The main suspect in the Arlene Arkinson murder inquiry had a criminal record which dated back decades.

Robert Howard, the last person to see the 15-year-old alive, had a string of convictions and was on bail when she vanished in August 1994.

A long-awaited inquest hearing over her death began on Monday.

:: 1957 - At the age of 13 Howard was convicted of burglary.

:: 1960-62 - Convicted of breaking and entering, larceny and malicious damage.

:: 1964 - Found guilty of burglary.

:: By 1965 he had appeared in courts in counties Carlow, Kildare and Tipperary.

:: 1965 - Aged 21, Howard broke into a house in London and attempted to commit a serious sexual assault on a child. He was caught when he returned to the property several days later.

After release from borstal, he returned to Ireland. He lived in Cork where further offences included malicious damage, breaking and entering and larceny.

:: 1969 - Jailed for six years after he broke into the home of a young married woman in Co Durham and tried to rape her.

:: 1973 - Howard was freed from prison and returned to a life of petty crime and theft.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he broke into the home of a 58-year-old woman, tied to her to a bed and raped her.

:: 1981 - Released from prison in England.

:: 1983 - Howard got married but the relationship broke down after three years.

:: 1988 - Jailed for 15 months for larceny.

:: 1990 - Attended an alcohol addiction treatment unit in Newry, Co Down, Northern Ireland, and lived at a caravan park on the outskirts of Castlederg, Co Tyrone, while on a social housing waiting list.

:: 1993 - A teenager residing in Castlederg alleged she was seriously sexually assaulted at Howard’s flat in Main Street. He was released on bail and breached a curfew by travelling to Co Donegal with Arlene Arkinson and her friends.

:: 1994 - Howard pleaded guilty to unlawful carnal knowledge but other more serious charges were left on the court books.

:: 2003 - Convicted at Maidstone Crown Court in Kent of the rape and murder of Hanna Williams, 14. Her body was found in 2002 in an industrial area near the Thames Estuary.

:: 2005 - Found not guilty of Arlene’s murder after the jury was not told about his previous convictions.

:: 2015 - Howard died in HMP Frankland in Durham aged 71.