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Sunday 25 September 2016

Missing child was 'hysterical' at mention of name of child-killer Robert Howard, inquest hears

Michael McHugj

Published 02/03/2016 | 13:42

Arlene Arkinson vanished after a disco in 1994
Arlene Arkinson vanished after a disco in 1994
Convicted child killer Robert Howard, as a long-delayed inquest into the death of murdered schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson will finally start on Monday, nine years after it was ordered

Missing teenager Arlene Arkinson was "hysterical" at the mention of self-confessed child killer Robert Howard - but police were not alerted, a witness has told an inquest.

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Howard allegedly told neighbour Bernadette Timoney that he had served six years in prison for murdering a six-year-old girl.

But, despite her concerns, Mrs Timoney never told the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). It took her 19 years to tell detectives.

She said: "I did not want to get involved with it."

Read More: 'I am going to do myself in' - woman who lied to police in missing girl case threatens to take her own life due to 'pressure'

Fifteen-year-old Arlene, from Castlederg, Co Tyrone, vanished after a night out at a disco across the Irish border in Co Donegal on August 13 1994.

The teenager rushed into Mrs Timoney's house one night saying she was pregnant and crying at the mention of Howard.

Mrs Timoney formed the view that Howard had done something to her.

But she never went to police, even after Arlene disappeared.

It was only when police talked to her that she volunteered the information.

"I just kept it to myself," she added.

Read More: Child killer seen carrying a spade in forest after schoolgirl disappeared

Howard was never convicted of murdering a six-year-old child.

Arlene was last seen with Howard - who was acquitted of her murder in 2005 by a jury which was unaware of his conviction for killing a south London teenager several years earlier.

He remained the prime suspect in the Arkinson case until his death in prison last year, aged 71.

Mrs Timoney warned her own daughter, Sharon, not to associate with Howard.

Read More: Arlene Arkinson 'may have been pregnant' when she disappeared, inquest told

She said: "Bob Howard was an evil looking person."

She claimed Howard confessed to murder when they were at a Castlederg caravan site where he lived.

He said he could not live at home in Portlaoise in the Republic and had spent some time in a hostel. He was living in a caravan in Castlederg.

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