Serial child killer Robert Black should not be buried in Northern Ireland, says DUP's Poots
DUP MLA Edwin Poots has said the body of child killer Robert Black should not be buried in Northern Ireland.
Mr Poots said that a permanent grave for Black would have "too many painful memories" and create the potential for "someone to do something they shouldn't".
"There was concern that if he wasn't claimed he might end up in a pauper's grave," he added.
"We don't think that him being buried in a pauper's grave anywhere in the local vicinity would be a good idea."
He pointed out that Maghaberry Prison was only a few miles from the family home of Jennifer Cardy, who Black had murdered in 1981
"It's just far too raw," he said. "There's too many painful memories. The family have shown an amazing amount of graciousness about the whole thing, but there's a potential for someone to do something that they shouldn't.
"I've been thinking about it and it wouldn't really be suitable."
He continued: "Aside from that Robert Black really has no connection with Northern Ireland other than he committed a murder and abused a young child before he did it. He shouldn't be buried anywhere in a pauper's grave in Northern Ireland."
Asked what alternative he would support, Mr Poots said: "I don't know if he's left any instruction, if he hasn't then probably the easiest thing to do is to carry out a cremation, then whatever the authorities want to do with the ashes thereafter.
"You would fear if someone actually found out where his grave was that somebody might actually seek to do something to the body which isn't going to help anybody."
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Prison Service said last night there had been no movement on the funeral arrangements for Black.
They have also stated that the service would take responsibility if no next of kin made a claim.
This would mean ratepayers in Northern Ireland would foot the bill for the murderer's burial.
The average cost of a funeral in Northern Ireland just over £3,000, but even a low-budget version would still cost at least £1,000.
"There's no means of avoiding that, disgusting as it is for people," said Mr Poots.
"Whatever savings he might have, he may have a few pounds which will obviously be used for it," he said.
"Black shouldn't be buried in Northern Ireland because of the sensitivities and the non-association. He's not from Northern Ireland.
"The only reason he would be buried here is because he's in prison here and that's not the way it should be."
New information has emerged that Black could have killed up to 15 more young girls, making him the UK's most prolific serial killer of children.
If Black can be proven responsible he will have killed more children than Moors Murderers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, sex killers Fred and Rose West as well as Thomas Hamilton who killed 13 children in the Dunblane school massacre.