A former partner who lied to protect child killer Robert Howard has told Belfast Coronor’s Court that she feared for her life when he locked her in a room at his flat in Scotland for two days.
Patricia Quinn said she only managed to escape after slipping sleeping tablets into his tea.
Ms Quinn told the inquest of Tyrone schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson that Howard was an evil, manipulative charmer, and she could have been his next victim.
It was Ms Quinn’s second appearance in the witness box. She was previously excused over claims that the stress of the case had made her contemplate suicide.
Ms 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 police investigating Arlene’s disappearance, adding that she did not know that Howard was a violent abuser.
When asked by the Arkinson family barrister if she had considered the “real consequences” of her lies, Ms Quinn replied that she felt guilty but was not responsible.
There were angry scenes when allegations were put to Ms Quinn that she and Howard had been seen in a forest with a spade and a bag in the days after Arlene’s disappearance.
According to a partially blanked out police intelligence document, a taxi driver was overheard talking about dropping the pair off at a forest near Pettigo.
A visibly agitated Ms Quinn denied the claim, saying she herself had initiated searches in the Pettigo area.
She also repeated a claim she had made previously that Howard was a police informer.