Belfast Telegraph

Torment continues for Cardy family as they wait for a verdict

By Deborah McAleese

The agony continues for the family of Jennifer Cardy after the jury was sent home last night after failing to reach a decision over the guilt of her accused killer Robert Black.

Judge Mr Justice Weatherup told the jury to retire for the evening when it became clear after almost three hours of deliberations that they were not close to reaching a unanimous verdict in the case against serial child killer Black.

The judge told them he did not want them to feel under any time pressure to make a decision and asked them to return this morning.

It had been a tense wait in Armagh Crown Court yesterday for Jennifer's family. At one stage her father, Andy, sat with his head bowed as if in quiet prayer.

Black, a notorious predatory paedophile who is convicted of kidnapping and murdering three other children, is accused of abducting and killing Jennifer 30 years ago.

The nine-year-old schoolgirl disappeared as she cycled from her Ballinderry home to a friend's house on August 12, 1981. Her body was discovered six days later floating in water at McKee's Dam outside Hillsborough.

The prosecution claimed that Black had the opportunity to kill Jennifer, saying that, at the time of her disappearance, he was in the vicinity.

Black, a London-based van driver, had just made a number of deliveries in Belfast and Newry.

They also said that Jennifer's murder bears similar hallmarks to the murders of three young girls - 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, from the Scottish Borders, five-year-old Caroline Hogg, from Edinburgh, and Sarah Harper (10), from Morley, near Leeds - killed by Black during the 1980s while he was out making deliveries.

Black's defence team has argued however, that there is not sufficient evidence to place him in Northern Ireland at the time. They also claimed there were more disparities than similarities between the murders.

Background

The jury in the trial of serial killer Robert Black, who is accused of murdering schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy 30 years ago, deliberated for almost three hours yesterday but failed to reach a verdict. They will return to Armagh Crown Court today to continue their deliberations.

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