A depraved delivery driver who cruised the length of the United Kingdom looking for young girls to abduct could be one of the country’s most monstrous child killers.
Robert Black, who was found guilty yesterday of murdering a fourth schoolgirl, has been linked with another 13 unsolved child killings in Britain, Ireland and the Continent.
The 64-year-old is already serving ten life sentences for the murders of 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, Caroline Hogg, five, and Sarah Harper, ten, during the 1980s.
He was yesterday convicted of abducting nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy in his van as she cycled to a friend’s house in 1981, sexually abusing and killing her, then dumping her body in a nearby beauty spot.
Only Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley – whose five victims were aged between ten and 17 – killed more children in modern British criminal history.
The jury in Black’s latest trial was not told about the other girls whose lives Black may have cruelly taken during two decades in which he criss-crossed the British Isles and Europe delivering posters in his van.
As many as 40 cases were examined by police in the 1990s, but 13 possible killings are understood to remain potentially linked to Black.
Other murders linked to Black include:
April Fabb, aged 13, killed in Norfolk in 1969;
Christine Markham, six, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, 1973;
Mary Boyle, seven, from Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, 1977. Her body has never been found;
Susanne Lawrence, 14, Essex, 1979;
Pamela Hastie, 16, Johnstone, Scotland, 1981;
Colette Adam, 16, Keyworth, Nottingham, 1983;
Patsy Morris, 14, Feltham, west London, 1990.
In addition detectives in France are examining links between Black and the killings of four schoolgirls who were abducted near Paris in 1987, and a seven-year-old in Amsterdam in 1986.
Black was jailed for life in 1994, but detectives were determined to put him on trial for other killings, and two years ago he was charged with murdering Jennifer as she cycled to a friend’s house in the quiet Co Antrim village of Ballinderry in August 1981.
Yesterday, after just over four hours of deliberation, a jury at Armagh Crown Court unanimously found Black guilty of her kidnap and murder.
Black – already with no prospect of release until 2029 at the earliest – was given another life sentence, and is likely to be told he will never be released.
Backing the possibility that further murders will be looked at, he added: ‘I certainly think that the story of Robert Black does not end with this verdict today.’
Mr Orr believes Black is one of Britain’s most dangerous criminals.
‘He’s a child molester on one level, he’s an aggressive predatory paedophile on another, and I think unique in the history of serious offending against children in the United Kingdom.’
Black has never spoken about the killings, but immediately after his arrest in 1990 he opened up about his depravity, telling police: ‘I’ve always liked young girls since I was a young kid.’
When interviewed 15 years later by detectives investigating Jennifer Cardy’s murder, Black admitted being attracted by her outfit of short socks, shorts and a T-shirt.