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PSNI in fresh search for remains of murdered teen Arlene Arkinson

Arlene disappeared after a disco in Bundoran in August 1994. No trace of her remains has ever been found.

DETECTIVES IN NORTHERN Ireland have launched a fresh search for the remains of murdered teenager Arlene Arkinson.

The PSNI said that searches have resumed in rural locations across Tyrone this morning.

Arlene disappeared in 1994 when she was 15-years-old. She had been out for the night at a disco in Bundoran but failed to return to her Castlederg home on 14 August. In 2005,  61-year-old man stood trial for her murder, but he was acquitted.

Now in his late 70s, Robert Howard – a convicted child killer and rapist – launched a legal bid to halt an inquest into Arlene’s death late last year. His lawyers argued that it would undermine his acquittal. According to the BBC, the senior coroner has since told a preliminary hearing that the inquest will not start for two years.

Howard is serving a life sentence in England for the rape and murder of 14-year-old Hannah Williams whose body was found in a cement works in Kent.

His violent past was never disclosed to the jury who cleared him of Arlene’s murder as there is a ban on revealing previous convictions during trials. The Arkinson family has called for this law to be change.

Police have said they hope the new searches will achieve two things – recovery of the schoolgirl’s remains and progress for the investigation.

A team of officers using specialist search dogs have been deployed to a number of locations. The sites to be covered have links to the overall probe into Arlene’s disappearance and murder.

Searches will continue to be conducted on a planned roll-out, said the PSNI. They will be dependent on weather conditions, availability of resources and operational commitments.

Detectives from the Serious Crime Branch have been in contact with the Arkinson family and continue to provide them with updates.

The new series of searches were planned by PSNI teams last August, at which time Detective Supt Raymond Murray, the leading officer, said Arlene’s family had been in torment for 17 years.

He said his wanted to do everything possible to reunite the missing girl with her family.

Despite the considerable time gap and the challenges involved in locating remains, we will do everything we possibly can to achieve this.

Police have thanked landowners who have cooperated within the search operation. An appeal has also been made for anyone with information about Arlene’s final movements to contact police at Maydown on 0845 600 8000.

PSNI in fresh search for remains of murdered teen Arlene Arkinson
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  • Robert Howard

  • Arlene Arkinson

  • Arkinson family

Read: Murdered schoolgirl Arlene’s family ‘in torment’ as searches resume>

Search resumes for murdered Tyrone teenager>