Northern Ireland

Arlene Arkinson: Witness tells inquest police told her Howard was informer

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Media captionArlene Arkinson was last seen in a car driven by Robert Howard

The mother of a friend of Arlene Arkinson said police officers told her convicted child killer Robert Howard was an informer, an inquest has heard.

Arlene, 15, was last seen being driven away by Howard in the early hours of the morning after attending a disco in Bundoran, County Donegal in 1994.

Patricia Quinn denied she was in a relationship with Howard and said they were just friends.

However, under questioning, she said he slept in her bed when he stayed over.

She told Belfast Coroners Court: "He wasn't interested in me. He was interested in young girls in uniforms."

Ms Quinn's daughter, Donna, had been friends with Arlene since they were young children.

On the night in 1994 that the teenager disappeared she had been to a disco in Bundoran with Donna Quinn, her boyfriend and Robert Howard.

Image caption Robert Howard was a prime suspect in the teenager's murder but was found not guilty after a trial in 2005

Arlene's body has never been found.

Howard has always been the prime suspect in the case despite being acquitted in 2005.

At the time the jury were not told he was already serving a life sentence for the murder of Kent teenager Hannah Williams.

The 71-year-old died in prison last year.

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