Howard loses challenge to holding of an inquest into death of Arlene Artkinson

Convicted child killer and rapist, Robert Howard, has lost his legal challenge to the holding of an inquest into the death of Arlene Artkinson.

In September, he was granted leave to seek a judicial review of the coroner's decision to examine the 1994 disappearance of Arlene Arkinson.

His legal team claimed the move was an attempt to undermine the not guilty verdict returned against him in 2005.

The body of 15-year-old Arlene, has never been found. She went missing in 1994.

Arlene, from Castlederg, County Tyrone, vanished after attending a disco in Bundoran.

67-year-old Howard, who lived near her home at the time, was charged with her murder but acquitted at trial.

The jury didn't know that by then he was already serving life for raping and killing 14-year-old Hanna Williams from Deptford, south London.

Howard's lawyers argued that the inquest is being used as a way of reopening issues surrounding the case because the Arkinson family were unhappy with the outcome of the criminal trial.

Yesterday, a High Court judge confirmed he had dismissed Howard's application for a judicial review.

Mr Justice Treacy said he would issue a judgment setting out the reasons for his decision tomorrow.

Howard's lawyers, who unsuccessfully tried to have reporting restrictions imposed on their judicial review application, pointed out that the coroner's stated purpose was to allow Arlene's death to be registered.

It was argued that this could be achieved through an alternative, High Court procedure with the Presumption of Death Act 2009 coming into effect.