Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Parents 'pleased' as killer jailed

Robert Black must serve a minimum of 25 years for murdering schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy in 1981
Collect picture of Jennifer Cardy provided by the PSNI.
Parents Andrew and Patricia Cardy leave Armagh Courthouse

The parents of a murdered schoolgirl spoke words of forgiveness after the serial child killer who took their daughter's life was told he would be jailed until he was at least 89.

Robert Black, now 64, and originally from Scotland, was told he must serve a minimum 25 years for murdering nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy, who was snatched as she cycled to a friend's house in Ballinderry, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, in 1981.

The murderer, who has been convicted of killing four young girls and is being investigated over a fifth disappearance, is now serving at least 12 life sentences at Wakefield Prison.

This includes the jail terms for murder and kidnapping handed down by Mr Justice Ronald Weatherup at Belfast Crown Court, which effectively added a further seven years to the date at which Black could be considered for release.

The former delivery driver abducted Jennifer while on a work trip to Northern Ireland and dumped her body in water close to the main Belfast-Dublin road near Hillsborough, Co Antrim, before catching a ferry home.

Mr Justice Weatherup, who earlier heard the killer's own lawyer offer no plea for mercy, said it was a "wicked deed".

Outside the court, Jennifer's parents, Andy and Pat, said they were satisfied that, in real terms, Black would spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Mr Cardy said his family's faith in God sustained them, adding: "It has been an emotional couple of hours. It has been a long, long journey. It has been 30 years of a journey."

Of the sentence, he said: "We are very, very pleased. We think that justice has been done. We don't think Robert Black will ever be out of jail again to assault wee girls. He will never be able to torture little girls."

Black was convicted of Jennifer's murder in October following a six-week trial at Armagh Crown Court.

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