Northern Ireland

Arkinson inquiry: Coroner disappointed at police delays

Arlene Arkinson
Image caption Arlene Arkinson was 15 when she went missing after a night out in Donegal in 1994

The coroner leading the inquiry into the death of a Castlederg schoolgirl has criticised Irish police for failing to provide documents and witnesses.

Coroner Brian Sherrard had hoped to conclude hearing evidence in the Arlene Arkinson case on 19 September.

The 15-year-old schoolgirl vanished after a night out in County Donegal, in the Republic of Ireland, in August 1994.

Her body has never been found.

The court heard that, despite ongoing correspondence, Irish police had not yet nominated any witnesses.

Mr Sherrard said: "I am disappointed that we are still at this stage having been in correspondence with An Garda Siochana for quite some time."

He said there should be a redoubling of efforts aimed at concluding evidence on 19 September.

Miss Arkinson was last seen with child killer Robert Howard after leaving a disco in Bundoran in the Republic of Ireland.

Howard was acquitted of her murder in 2005, but the jury was not told about his conviction for killing another teenager in England.

The Arkinson family were disturbed by the continuing delay, said a lawyer for the family, but they also praised the work already carried out but the Coroner.

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