Northern Ireland news

True crime series explores the 1994 murder of Co Tyrone teenager Arlene Arkinson

Arlene Arkinson was last seen on August 14, 1994
Allan Preston

A true crime documentary series from TG4 has examined the case the missing Co Tyrone schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson.

The second episode of Marú Inár Measc (Murderers Among Us) airs on Wednesday, and hears of the devastating impact the loss of the 15-year-old had on her family.

She was last seen on August 14, 1994, as she left her home in Castlederg to attend a disco across the border in Bundoran.

Her body has never been found, but over 20 years later an inquest ruled that she had been abducted and murdered by the serial killer Robert Howard.

"I just wish that could have changed that night," Kathleen said of the last time she saw her younger sister, adding that she has given up hope of ever finding her body.

Arlene had left Kathleen's house on August 13 after babysitting, and headed to Bundoran after being invited to a disco by her friend Donna Quinn.

She left in a car with Donna and her boyfriend Sean along with Robert Howard who was driving the car. It remains the last time she was ever seen by her family.

In 2008, the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland found that a thorough initial investigation had been carried out, but a follow up failed to treat the disappearance as suspicious at an early stage.

This meant that crucial opportunities for gathering evidence were lost, including a failure to seize and search Howard's car at an early stage.

Howard was also not arrested until 46 days after the disappearance, allowing the opportunity to dispose of evidence.

A spokesperson for TG4 said: “Marú Inár Measc is a four-part true crime documentary series by Midas Productions which shines a light on the effect that fatal crimes have on society, local communities and on the victim’s families as they are left without answers.

“This series could not have been made without the cooperation of each family and loved ones who shared their story and allowed us the privilege of filming with them.”

In an accompanying podcast series, producer Sorcha Nic Eochagáin speaks to the journalist Pólin Ní Chiaráin about the murder and discusses the grooming techniques used by Robert Howard.

Northern Ireland news