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Robert Black, serial child killer, dies in prison

Published 12/01/2016

Robert Black was serving 12 life sentences for the murders of four schoolgirls in the 1980s
Robert Black was serving 12 life sentences for the murders of four schoolgirls in the 1980s

Serial child killer Robert Black has died in prison.

The Scottish-born sex attacker died in non-suspicious circumstances in Maghaberry high security jail in Northern Ireland.

The 68-year-old from Falkirk was serving multiple life sentences for the murders of four schoolgirls in the 1980s and a number of other crimes.

Black was a delivery driver who stalked the roads of the UK searching for victims.

His reign of terror was ended in 1990 when he was caught red-handed by police with a barely alive six-year-old girl hooded, bound, gagged and stuffed in a sleeping bag in the back of his van in the Scottish village of Stow. He had sexually assaulted her moments earlier.

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

In 1994, Black was found guilty of three child murders in the 1980s - those of 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, from the Scottish Borders, five-year-old Caroline Hogg, from Edinburgh, and Sarah Harper, 10, from Morley, near Leeds - as well as a failed abduction bid in Nottingham in 1988.

In 2011, he was found guilty of the 1981 murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy, from Ballinderry, Co Antrim.

He was also suspected of involvement in other killings and unexplained disappearances.

He had 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 were her bike and scattered papers.

A Northern Ireland Prison Service spokeswoman said: "The Prison Service has confirmed that a 68-year-old prisoner has died at Maghaberry Prison. While this is not being treated as suspicious, the Prison Service has informed the PSNI, Coroner, and Prisoner Ombudsman. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

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