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I'm sorry for the fish, says dad after Black ashes ditched at sea

By Claire McNeilly

Published 22/02/2016

Serial killer Robert Black
Serial killer Robert Black
Schoolgirl Genette Tate, who went missing in 1978

A father who believes his 13-year-old daughter was murdered by child serial killer Robert Black has said he feels "sorry for the fish" after it emerged that the paedophile's ashes were discarded at sea.

John Tate, whose daughter Genette went missing from a rural lane in Aylesbeare, Devon, in August 1978 was speaking after the Prison Service confirmed how Black's remains were disposed of three weeks after his cremation.

The 68-year-old sex offender died on January 12 at Maghaberry Prison, where he was serving 12 life sentences for the kidnap and murder of four little children, including nine-year-old Ballinderry schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy.

It was likely that Black, who was convicted of murdering Susan Maxwell, Caroline Hogg, Sarah Harper and Jennifer Cardy, was going to be charged with Genette's murder.

After hearing what had happened to Black's remains, Mr Tate said he "felt sorry for any fish that swallow his ashes".

"I hope they sank to the deepest, darkest, coldest part of the sea," he told a national newspaper.

"That would be fitting for such a cold killer - though if there's a Hell that's where he should be.

"Decent people would have cut a grave of his out of the ground."

Last Friday the Northern Ireland Prison Service said: "No one claimed Robert Black's ashes, which have now been scattered at sea without formal ceremony beyond these shores."

Mr Tate revealed he had also unsuccessfully attempted to visit the sex attacker in prison, adding: "I never got an opportunity - he wouldn't see me and we dropped it in the end."

The Scottish-born sex fiend stalked the roads of the UK searching for victims.

His reign of terror finished in 1990, when police officers caught him red-handed with a barely-alive six-year-old girl in the back of his van in the Scottish village of Stow.

She was hooded, bound, gagged and stuffed in a sleeping bag, and she had been sexually assaulted by the notorious paedophile moments earlier.

Once in custody detectives were able to link Black to a series of unsolved crimes over the previous decade.

There was fresh hope of a prosecution for Genette's murder after he lost an appeal against his conviction for Jennifer's murder.

Critically, the appeal court ruled that Black's offending was unique, so bad character evidence could be used to identify the offender at the scene - opening the door for detectives to revisit Genette's disappearance.

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