Belfast Telegraph

Mother speaks at 1981 murder trial

A mother whose daughter was abducted and murdered while cycling to a friend's house has recounted her final moments with her "thoughtful little girl" as she gave evidence at the trial of the alleged killer.

Patricia Cardy said nine-year-old Jennifer had been cradling her baby sister Victoria moments before she pedalled off on her new red bike on the short trip from which she would never return 30 years ago.

Mrs Cardy recalled the last time she saw her daughter alive as the trial of the man accused of kidnapping and murdering her - 64-year-old Robert Black - began at Armagh Crown Court.

The court also heard a police statement taken from one of the schoolgirl's closest friends at the time who revealed that after watching a TV programme about someone who got into a strange car and was abducted, Jennifer vowed she "would never do that".

Jennifer left her home near the quiet Co Antrim village of Ballinderry, close to Lisburn, just after lunchtime on Wednesday, August 12, 1981, to go to her friend Louise Major's house about a mile away.

She never arrived. Her body was found floating face down and tangled in weeds in a dam behind a nearby dual-carriageway layby six days later. She had been sexually assaulted.

The first day of the murder trial before judge Mr Justice Ronnie Weatherup heard that old work records place Black, a Scot from north London, in the area of the crime at the time it happened.

Petrol purchase receipts, dispatch orders and proof of a bonus payment provide conclusive evidence that the then van driver was in the region the day Jennifer disappeared, a Crown lawyer claimed.

Toby Hedworth QC later revealed that Black accepted he was in Ireland at the time when interviewed by police 24 years later.

Black denies counts of kidnap and murder.

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