Belfast Telegraph

Girl 'fought to escape snatch bid'

A teenager's desperate struggle with convicted Scottish serial killer Robert Black as he tried to bundled her into his van has been recounted at a murder trial.

Fifteen-year-old Teresa Thornhill, who ultimately escaped the notorious paedophile's grasp after biting and kicking him, later told police: "I was fighting for my life."

Dramatic details of the failed abduction bid in Nottingham in 1988 were recounted at Armagh Crown Court on the 13th day of Black's trial for the kidnap and murder of Jennifer Cardy in Northern Ireland seven years earlier.

Earlier, the jury visited the quiet country road in Ballinderry, Co Antrim, where Jennifer was snatched in August 1981 and the dam 15 miles away where the nine-year-old's body was found six days later.

In 1994, Black was convicted of three other child murders and the attempted kidnapping of Teresa in the Radford area of Nottingham. The court heard that work records and petrol purchase receipts placed the former delivery driver close to all those crime scenes. The Crown contends that similar documentation links the Scottish killer to the area where Jennifer vanished.

Retired Scottish police detective Roger Orr, who led the triple murder investigation in the early 1990s, told the jury of Black's efforts to capture Teresa in April 1988. He said she had been walking home when she was suddenly grabbed from behind.

"It was a very strong bear hug, pinning her arms by her sides and lifting her off the street," Mr Orr said. "She screamed continuously and struggled," said Mr Orr. "In her own words, she was fighting for her life."

In her efforts to escape, Teresa bit Black on the hand and arm and knocked off his glasses. Black thrust his hand over her nose and mouth and tried to push her into the door of his van. Mr Orr said the schoolgirl resisted fiercely, wedging her feet up on either side of the door frame and refusing to go in.

Only when Teresa's friend, who had heard her cries for help, came running to the scene did Black finally let go and the pair ran away.

Mr Orr recounted Teresa's lucky escape as he gave evidence for a second day about Black's dark criminal past. The 64-year-old denies the charges.

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