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Cardy murder: Tragic schoolgirl's mum embraces killer Black's lawyer

Published 28/10/2011

Collect picture of Jennifer Cardy provided by the PSNI.
Collect picture of Jennifer Cardy provided by the PSNI.
Jennifer Cardy
Andrew Cardy father of murdered school girl Jennifer Cardy leaves Armagh Court House yesterday as convicted Scottish killer Robert Black was found guilty of the young girl
Robert Black
Jennifer Cardy was snatched as she cycled to a friend's house in the quiet Co Antrim village of Ballinderry on August 12, 1981
Jennifer's father Andy and mother Pat comfort each other outside the court.
A petrol receipt belonging to serial killer Robert Black which was used as evidence in his trial for the murder of Jennifer Cardy.
Eleven year old Susan Maxwell who disappeared and was murdered in 1982 by Robert Black Serial killer Robert Black
Undated handout photo of ten year old Sarah Harper who vanished from Morley, near Leeds on March 26th 1986, and was murdered by Robert Black
UK PROVINCIAL USE ONLY. ALL TV, FOREIGNS, NATIONALS (INC REGIONAL EDITIONS) OUT. BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE: Undated handout photo of murdered schoolgirl Caroline Hogg as her murderer Robert Black has today been found guilty at Armagh Crown Court of kidnapping and murdering schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy in August 1981. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday October 27, 2011. See PA story ULSTER Cardy. Photo credit should read: PA WireNOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Victoria Cardy, sister of murdered schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy, leaves Armagh court house. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 26, 2011. The jury in serial killer Robert Black's latest murder trial has been sent home for the day after failing to reach a verdict after almost three hours of deliberations. See PA story ULSTER Cardy. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Detectives examining bike which was found thrown over hedge on roadside (on Crumlin Rd, Ballinderry) . 13/8/81
Robert Black appears at Lisburn Magistrates Court charged with the murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy in August 1981
Parents Andrew and Patricia Cardy leave Armagh Courthouse

It was a simple yet moving gesture that encapsulated the remarkable qualities of the family of murdered Northern Ireland girl Jennifer Cardy.

Jennifer Cardy's mother Patricia walked over to the lawyer who had defended the man found guilty of her daughter's kidnap and murder and embraced him warmly.

That hug with David Spens QC in a quiet corner of Armagh Crown Court demonstrated the generosity and kindness of spirit the entire Cardy family retained throughout a trial which exposed them to an ordeal second only to the horror of losing Jennifer.

For the Cardys, this verdict was not about winners or losers, it was about justice.

Jennifer's father, Andy, had made a point of shaking hands with all members of Robert Black's defence team moments earlier.

"We would not have been happy if he had been convicted without a proper defence and we believe he had the best defence that could ever have been provided for a murderer," Mr Cardy said afterwards.

Around midday, he and his wife had held each other tight as the guilty verdicts were read to a courtroom choked with emotion.

Mrs Cardy sobbed into her husband's shoulder. Close by, their children, Mark, Philip and Victoria, absorbed the outcome with typically understated dignity.

Few had failed to be impacted by the evidence heard over the course of the previous five weeks as Black's sordid crimes against little girls were outlined in gruesome detail.

As the forewoman of the jury revealed the outcome of their two day deliberation, a number of her fellow jurors wept openly. They had shared embraces before they entered the court for the final time.

Tears flowed on the press benches as well, with journalists hardened through years of covering violence in Northern Ireland overcome by the moment.

On the other side of the court, detectives who had spent almost a decade building the case against the predatory paedophile exchanged glances of unspoken satisfaction.

One lawyer later said he had never experienced a day like it in 20 years in a courtroom.

Contrast this to the reaction of Black.

There was simply no reaction from the depraved killer.

Not even a shrug of the shoulders.

But as he was led from the dock, finally out of sight of the Cardy family and the jurors, there was a palpable wave of relief.

Judge Ronald Weatherup thanked the jury for enduring what he conceded had been a most traumatic experience and told them counselling was available if they felt they needed it.

Outside Court No 1 and after they had shared a quiet moment together, the Cardys made a point of thanking everyone who had been involved.

They had presents for Crown counsel Toby Hedworth QC and Donna McColgan QC and for all the detectives involved in bringing Black to justice, especially detective constable Yvonne Younger who had been at their side throughout in her role as family liaison officer.

"We have seen two sides of humanity over the last weeks," Mr Cardy reflected later.

"We have seen the side of Robert Black, we have also seen the side of the lovely people that we have met."

The detective who reopened the investigation in June 2002, Raymond Murray said it was not a day to think about Black - a man he described as "a lost cause to humanity".

Instead he said he wanted to focus on Jennifer and her family.

"They have had to sit through very harrowing material for six weeks," he said.

"They've done it with the incredible dignity that I've come to know that family has over the past nine and half years of this investigation.

"My thoughts are with Jennifer - the fantastic little girl as she has been described to me and no doubt the fabulous woman she would have grown up to be.

"That opportunity was denied her and it was denied her because she was cruelly murdered and taken from her family."

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