27/06/2005

Man cleared of Arkinson murder

A man accused of murdering a schoolgirl who went missing 11-years-ago has been found not guilty.

The jury at Belfast Crown Court acquitted Robert Howard formerly of Main Street in Castlederg, of killing 15-year-old Arlene Arkinson in 1994 when she disappeared.

Last Thursday, Mr Howard was acquitted of asking his former partner's daughter to lie for him however the jury are still deliberating on three other counts of perverting the course of justice, which he denies.

Arlene, from Castlederg, vanished after a night out with friends and despite a massive search, no body has ever been discovered.

Mr Howard has continually denied the murder and four further charges which were brought against him of perverting the court of justice.

Without a body, the prosecution was unable to obtain any forensic evidence, DNA or fingerprints to link Mr Howard to the killing.

(MB/CD)

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