Serial killer Robert Black refused to enter the witness box and look the jury in the eye in his latest murder trial because he knows he is guilty, the prosecution has claimed.
The notorious paedophile realised he could not answer the questions the Crown wished to ask him about the abduction and murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy, Crown lawyer Toby Hedworth told Armagh Crown Court.
The QC concluded a powerful closing address, which had to be interrupted at one point because a female juror broke down in tears as Black's dark criminal past was outlined, by urging the jury members to ask themselves why the 64-year-old convicted triple child killer would not enter the witness box.
"There is one absolutely central and fundamental witness that I on behalf of the prosecution would have liked to ask some questions," he said, as an impassive Black looked on from the dock.
"But he has quite deliberately chosen not to walk the few short paces from the dock to the witness box - you can make your own assessment, but I make it eight paces - take the oath, look you in the eye and answer these charges.
"You may ask yourselves why? Because ladies and gentlemen the prosecution would have some questions for Robert Black.
"Questions that, because he is guilty, he knows he cannot answer."
Black, a former London-based delivery driver, denies snatching and murdering Jennifer while on a day-long work trip to Northern Ireland in August 1981.
The schoolgirl's parents Andy and Patricia, her brothers Mark and Philip and sister Victoria watched the two-and-a-half-hour closing address from the public gallery.
In 1994 Black was convicted of three unsolved child murders in the 1980s - 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, from the Scottish Borders, five-year-old Caroline Hogg, from Edinburgh, and Sarah Harper, 10, from Morley, near Leeds - and a failed abduction bid in Nottingham in 1988.