Robert Howard loses bid to stop Arlene Inquest

A High Court judge has criticised the delay to an inquest into the death of missing schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson.

The 15-year-old from Castlederg disappeared after attending a disco in Bundoran in 1994.

An inquest was ordered in 2007, but has yet to start.

Mr Justice Treacy dismissed a legal bid to stop it by a convicted child-killer acquitted of murdering Arlene. He then urged the senior coroner to ensure no further delay.

Robert Howard was acquitted of Arlene's murder in 2005. His legal team said the inquest would be used to attempt to undermine that verdict.

67-year-old Howard, who had lived near her home, was already serving life for raping and killing 14-year-old Hanna Williams from Deptford, south London.

Today, the judge said that coroners who ensure they respect the rights of people such as Howard must be equally careful with those of the next of kin.