Judge criticises Arlene’s inquest delay

A Northern Ireland High Court judge has criticised the delay in holding an inquest into the death of missing Castlederg schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson, who went missing after attending a disco in Bundoran, 17 years ago.

A Northern Ireland High Court judge has criticised the delay in holding an inquest into the death of missing Castlederg schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson, who went missing after attending a disco in Bundoran, 17 years ago.

An inquest ordered four years ago, has still to commence. Mr Justice Treacy dismissed a legal bid to stop it by convicted child-killer Robert Howard who was previously acquitted of murdering Arlene in 2005. He urged the senior coroner to ensure no further delay in the matter.

There had been “unconscionable delay which has bedevilled the present proceedings,” he said.

Howard’s legal team claim the inquest would be used to attempt to undermine that verdict.

But the Judge said: “It is concerning that four years have now elapsed since this inquest was first announced and no substantive progress has yet been made in that inquest hearing.” Arlene was 15 years old when she disappeared.