Northern Ireland

Arlene Arkinson inquest: Patricia Quinn feared she could have been 'Robert Howard's next victim'

Patricia Quinn Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Patricia Quinn said she was locked in a room for two days while visiting Robert Howard

A partner of child killer Robert Howard has told the inquest into the death of County Tyrone schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson she feared she could have been his next victim.

Patricia Quinn said she was locked in a room for two days while visiting the paedophile in Scotland.

Arlene, 15, from Castlederg, went missing in August 1994.

Her body has never been found, and Howard, who died in prison last year, was the main suspect.

Mrs Quinn, who denies being Howard's girlfriend, also described him as an evil, manipulative charmer to whom she was vulnerable.

She said: "For two days he kept me locked in. He kept the keys down the front of his trousers.

"Only he fell asleep, I could have been the next one."

Mrs Quinn was giving evidence to the inquest for a second time.

The court heard how she had visited Howard after he fled following the schoolgirl's disappearance.

She had gone to Scotland and stayed for a fortnight, having been subjected to intimidation in her home town, the court was told.

Image copyright Arkinson family
Image caption Arlene Arkinson disappeared in 1994 after a school disco in County Donegal

Mrs Quinn later claimed that police in Northern Ireland had been told about her ordeal but did not take it seriously.

"You know what they told me?" she said. "They said 'you were lucky he didn't tie you up'."

The mother of three has repeatedly denied being in a relationship with Howard, insisting they were just friends.

However, she accepted that a statement given to police in 2002 detailed that they had been intimate.

A barrister for the Arkinson family, said: "What's described there is quite substantially more than kissing and cuddling."

'White lie'

Mrs Quinn provided a bail address for Howard when he was accused of drugging, raping and imprisoning a teenage girl in Castlederg in 1993.

She has also admitted lying to provide an alibi, adding that she did not know that Howard was a violent abuser.

"He could have charmed the bees off the trees," she added.

Image caption Child killer Robert Howard was the main suspect in relation to the death of Arlene Arkinson

"I did not know what kind of person he was until I went to Scotland and then I found out."

When asked by the Arkinson family barrister if she had thought about the "real consequences" of her lie, she replied that she felt guilty, but was not responsible.

She said: "It was a white lie. Maybe it ended up a complicated lie, but at the time I thought it was only a wee white lie.

"The police have lied through their teeth this 21 years. They have made my life a misery. I don't care any more. In '93 and '94 they had him here for a reason. Nobody can deny that."

When questioned by police lawyers, Mrs Quinn told the court she had no evidence to back up her claim that Howard had been a police informer.

It was put to her that despite knowing he had harmed her daughter, sexually assaulted another teenage girl, and was probably responsible for Arlene's disappearance, she still went to stay with him in Scotland.

She said Howard "was good" to her, adding: "No one had been good to me before."

Mrs Quinn also claimed she was hoping he would give her some answers but said "that man wouldn't give away nothing".

The hearing continues.

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