Belfast Telegraph

Guilt reason Robert Black won’t go in witness box, jury told

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 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.

“Questions to assist you in your careful and thorough and fair examination of this case. But strangely this witness is not dead. He is not infirm. He is not unable to come to court.

“He has in fact been here in the centre of this court for the duration of the trial. But he has quite deliberately chosen not to walk the few short paces from the dock to the witness box, 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.

On the 18th day of the trial, Mr Hedworth said the circumstances of the murder were wholly unique in the region over the last 40 years.

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 Northern Ireland Jennifer Cardy stands alone — she is unique,” said Mr Hedworth.

“No-one here does that sort of thing. But Robert Black does.

“That Robert Black was the abductor and murderer of Jennifer Cardy we submit you can and should have no doubt,” he told the jury.

The trial is due to sit again on Monday when the defence will present its closing statement.

Background

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. Prosecution counsel said Jennifer's case bore the paedophile's criminal signature

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