Sunday 21 January 2018

Police launch fresh search for missing schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson

Arlene Arkinson vanished after a disco in 1994
Arlene Arkinson vanished after a disco in 1994
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A team of forensic specialists are examining a site close to where schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson was last seen in the company of a convicted child killer.

A local farmer alerted police to some disturbed earth in a field near the village of Killen in Co. Tyrone.

It is understood grazing cattle may have eaten away the undergrowth to reveal the suspicious plot.

Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said: "The family of Arlene Arkinson have been advised of this development purely as a precautionary measure.

"It would be premature to draw any inference from this initial report or the police response to it at this time."

Arlene vanished in 1994 after attending a disco in Donegal with friends. She was reportedly last seen being driven away by convicted child killer Robert Howard.

Howard was acquitted of the teenager’s murder in 2005 by a jury that were not told that he had been convicted in 2003 of the rape and murder of teenager Hannah Williams in south London in 1999. 

He remained the prime suspect in Arlene’s disappearance until his death in prison last year.

The field where the new search has been carried out is several miles outside Arlene’s hometown of Castlederg.

The area has been cordened off until Tuesday.

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