Coroner rules out full inquest into Arlene Arkinson murder in 2013

A 'strain on resources' means that there will not be a  full inquest into the murder of missing Castlederg teenager Arlene Arkinson this year.

That is according to Senior Coroner John Leckey who told a preliminary inquest in Belfast today that he did not have the recources.

15 year-old Arlene Arkinson disappeared in August 1994 after a night out in Bundoran - convicted child-killer Robert Howard was acquitted of her murder in 2005.

An inquest into Arlene's death was ordered in 2007 but has been hit by delays after Howard's legal team launched a legal challenge claiming it could undermine the trial verdict.

Today Senior Coroner John Leckey told a preliminary inquest in Belfast that he would not have the capacity to hold an inquest this year - stating that he just would not have the resources.

Arkinson family barrister, Henry Toner QC, said he was surprised by the revelation and stated that 'If we proceed in the way we are going it could be 2015"

High Court Judge Mr Justice Treacy criticised the delay.

In 2012 police acting on new information carried out searches of Howard's former flat at Main Street, Castlederg.

Mark Robinson, barrister for the PSNI, told the hearing officers had removed 800 forensic exhibits from the flat and were awaiting results. A derelict farm in Strabane was also excavated but tests had proved negative.

More than 3,000 documents and almost 800 statements have been prepared by Police for an inquest and are due to be disclosed to the legal services next week.

Another preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 8 March.