Northern Ireland

Arlene Arkinson inquest: Suspect Robert Howard was 'haunted by the face of a girl'

Arlene Arkinson disappeared in 1994 after a school disco in county Donegal
Image caption Arlene Arkinson disappeared in 1994 after a school disco in county Donegal

Robert Howard - suspected of murdering County Tyrone teenager Arlene Arkinson - was haunted by the face of a girl, a policeman has told the inquest into her disappearance.

Arlene, a 15-year-old from Castlederg, vanished after a night at a disco in County Donegal in 1994.

Her body has never been found.

Trevor Stevenson, a detective sergeant who'd been stationed in Castlederg from 1990 to 1994, described Howard as "one of the most evil men I have ever met."

Mr Stevenson, a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) told the court he had met and interviewed Howard in Deptford initially on another matter in 1999.

Howard told the officer that living in Castlederg was "a very dark time for him," according to Mr Stevenson.

"He said that not a day went past that he didn't think about the terrible things which had happened in Castlederg, and that he was haunted by it." Mr Stevenson said.

"He said he would see a face in the crowd, the face which would remind him of the girl and bring it all back to him."

Mr Stevenson said: "I believed he was talking about Arlene. If you haunt someone you need to be dead."

Image caption The teenager was last seen in a car driven by convicted killer Robert Howard

Howard, 71, had been due to give evidence before the inquest.

He died at HMP Frankland in County Durham last October.

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