Was Tyrone schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson’s suspected killer a British spy?

Arlene Arkinson and her suspected killer Robert Howard
Arlene Arkinson and her suspected killer Robert Howard

Questions are being asked about the background of convicted child killer Robert Howard after the Northern Ireland Office moved to block an inquest into the death of Arlene Arkinson from accessing secret documents.

The decision was revealed at Laganside Courts on Friday, just a day after Secretary of State Theresa Villiers made promises about disclosing information related to Troubles killings.

But, the application to withhold documents that could potentially end years of torment for Arlene’s family, was made on grounds of ‘national security’.

A Public Interest Immunity certificate was submitted by NIO Minister Ben Wallace, but the coroner will make the final decision after further submissions on Tuesday.

Members of the public have taken to Facebook to speculate that Howard may have been working for British Security Services.

He died in prison in October 2015, aged 71, but still remains the only suspect in relation to Arlene Arkinson’s disappearance.

The 15-year-old schoolgirl went missing after being seen with Howard in 1994.

He was cleared of her murder in 2005, but questions still remain, as he tried to hide his whereabouts on the night of her disappearance.

The jury at the time was also unaware he was already serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of 14-year-old Londoner Hannah Williams.