Belfast Telegraph

Missing girl team probes Cardy case

The red bike Jennifer Cardy was riding when Robert Black snatched her from a country road could be key to prosecuting the serial killer over another child disappearance, a senior detective has said.

The predatory Scottish paedophile, who was on Thursday found guilty of nine-year-old Jennifer's murder in Northern Ireland in 1981, has long been the prime suspect in the case of missing 13-year-old Genette Tate, who was last seen in a rural lane in Aylesbeare, Devon, in 1978.

No trace of the newspaper delivery girl has ever been found. All that remained at the scene was her bike and scattered papers.

Black, 64, has already been questioned by Devon and Cornwall police about Genette's case, but three years ago the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided there was not enough evidence to charge him.

The investigation into her suspected murder could have been given a significant boost by Thursday's verdict at Armagh Crown Court and officers in Devon are now set to review in fine detail all the evidence presented to court during the six-week trial.

Police believe the circumstances of both Jennifer and Genette's cases bear remarkable comparison and such "similar fact" evidence may be enough to convince the CPS there is the chance of a conviction.

The jury in Black's trial for the kidnap and murder of Jennifer was allowed to hear crucial "similar fact" evidence about how the serial killer had offended in the past - including his convictions in 1994 for the murders of three young girls.

Detective superintendent Raymond Murray, who led the Cardy investigation, explained the significance of Black's latest conviction to the Tate case. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer said: "There are striking similarities."

Jennifer was abducted as she cycled to a friend's house in the quiet Co Antrim village of Ballinderry in August, 1981. She was riding the shiny new bike she had been given for her ninth birthday less than two months before.

Her body was found six days later in a dam behind a roadside layby 15 miles away at Hillsborough, Co Down.

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