Northern Ireland

Arlene Arkinson: Inquest told police investigation was 'disadvantaged'

Arlene Arkinson
Image caption Arlene Arkinson went missing after a night out on Donegal in 1994

The Arlene Arkinson inquest has been told police were at a disadvantage in their investigation due to the length of time it took to report the school girl missing.

The Castlederg teenager disappeared in 1994. Her body has never been found.

Retired police officer Brain Lavery reviewed the investigation for the National Crime Faculty.

He said the chances of finding a missing person alive after 24 hours was "very slim".

The inquest was told the police were "unfortunately playing catch up".

Arlene Arkinson was reported missing four days after she disappeared.

She went missing on 14 August 1994 after a night out on Donegal.

Image caption Child killer Robert Howard, who died in prison last year, was the main suspect

Barrister for the PSNI, Kevin Rooney QC, told the court that research formulated in 1999 showed 96 percent of children who disappeared were killed within the first 24 hours, while 76 percent were killed within at least six hours of when they were last seen.

The barrister also highlighted that the chances of prosecution were significantly reduced if an arrest was not made within 48 hours and a body was not found.

Arlene was last seen with the convicted child killer Robert Howard who died in prison last year.

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