Northern Ireland

Arlene Arkinson's sister launches PSNI civil action

Arlene Arkinson
Image caption Arlene Arkinson was 15 when she went missing in 1994, shortly after getting into a car with Robert Howard

Nineteen police witnesses have been called to give evidence in a case brought against Northern Ireland's chief constable by the sister of murdered schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson.

Kathleen Arkinson has launched the civil action for the alleged way she was treated by officers investigating her sister's disappearance.

15-year-old Arlene, from Castlederg, vanished after a night out in 1994.

She was last seen with child killer Robert Howard.

He died in prison in 2015.

Police dug up the bereaved sister's garden and searched her home following a false tip-off that Arlene was buried there.

During a brief hearing at a civil court in Omagh it emerged that 23 witnesses are to give evidence in Ms Arkinson's case against the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Nineteen of those witnesses are police witnesses, the court was told.

Several of the PSNI's witnesses flew in from London for the civil hearing due to take place on Friday.

However, it had to be adjourned until September after the court was told the case would likely take three days.

Image caption Howard was found not guilty of Arlene's murder after a trial in 2005

Howard was acquitted of the teenager's murder by a jury that was unaware of his previous conviction for murdering 14-year-old Hannah Williams, whose body was found in an industrial area close to the Thames Estuary.

Howard always remained the prime suspect in the Arkinson case.

Ms Arkinson said she will never give up hope of finding her sister's body.

She said: "It is never too late. I am begging anyone who knows something to please come forward with that information.

"I won't let anyone tell me I will never find her."

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