Arkinson family seeks more info from Gardai on 24th anniversary of Arlene’s disappearance

Thursday, 16 August 2018

THE family of murdered Castlederg schoolgirl, Arlene Arkinson, have urged Gardai to provide more information about bodies in a grave exhumed during searches for her.
It emerged earlier this year that the body of a woman with long hair wrapped in plastic had been exhumed from a grave in Co Sligo, however tests subsequently revealed that the remains were not those of Arlene and were, in fact, those of an adult male.
The development was disclosed at the long-running inquest in Belfast into her disappearance, but at the time coroner Brian Sherrard said it remained unclear if the exhumed grave had any links to her disappearance.
Yesterday (Tuesday), marked the 24th anniversary of the 15-year-old's disappearance. She vanished after attending a disco with friends across the border in Bundoran in August 1994.
She was last seen being driven off down a country road by convicted child killer and rapist, Robert Howard, who died in a Co Durham prison in October 2015. He was acquitted of her murder in 2005, but has always remained the main suspect in her murder.
Her body has never been found but her family's hopes were high and then dashed again after the remains were exhumed in Sligo.
In a statement yesterday (Tuesday), Arlene's sister, Kathleen, said the family had been told there were more bodies in the grave than expected and are now demanding to know if they too were examined.
She is also asking Gardaí to provide more information and "co-operate" with the inquest into her death.
In the statement - released through her solicitor - she said: "We would like the Garda to please confirm the exact number of bodies in that grave and if they were all examined."
She added: "We hold much reservation and doubt in relation to the recent events involving An Garda Síochána. Before the inquest resumes on September 4, 2018, we would also like An Garda Síochána to explain what provoked the exhumation that they say they did carry out.
"We request that An Garda Síochána co-operate with Arlene's inquest and the lawyers acting for the coroner, in order ultimately to assist us and allay the suspicion and rumour we are dealing with on a daily basis in relation to Arlene's remains."
West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP., Órfhlaith Begley, has supported the Arkinson family in their calls for assistance from Gardai.
She said: "An Garda Síochána have fallen short when it comes to assisting the Arkinson family by failing to produce documents or nominate witnesses in the past. They should provide the Arkinson family and the PSNI with information relating to the body and grave that were searched in Silgo as part of the investigation into Arlene's disapperance and murder.
"The Arkinson family have waited too long for the truth and should not have to put up with more obstacles being placed in their way."


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete