Belfast Telegraph

You’d want to throttle Robert Black: judge

The trial judge in the case of serial child killer Robert Black has said that jury members probably want to “throttle” the man accused of abducting and murdering schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy.

Judge Mr Justice Ronald Wetherup said he is sure the jury will have been “appalled” by what it heard about Black throughout the five-week trial.

The judge, however, warned jury members that they must set emotions aside and consider the case on the facts alone during his summing up at Armagh Crown Court yesterday.

Black, a notorious predatory paedophile who murdered three young girls during the 1980s, is accused of also murdering nine-year-old Jennifer in August 1981.

She was abducted as she cycled from her Ballinderry home to a friend’s house. Her body was found six days later floating in a dam outside Hillsborough.

“Of course you do not want any child that you know to be confronted by the defendant,” the judge said.

He added: “You of course would want to throttle the defendant, or worse, if he came near any member of your family.

“I want you to stop and step back. I want you to take care. I want you to be careful with what you do. I want you to remember that you have to judge the matter based on the evidence.”

Jennifer’s parents, her two brothers and sister were in court yesterday to listen to the judge’s final directions to the jury.

Referring to the introduction of bad character evidence in the case — highlighting Black’s previous convictions for three child murders, abduction, attempted abduction and sex assaults — the judge told the jury this shows that the 64-year-old had a “tendency to engage in certain conduct”.

He warned, however, that they must be satisfied about Black’s responsibility for the abduction and murder of Jennifer “and not judge him on the basis of what you know of his previous convictions”.

The jury is due to be sent out to consider its verdict this morning.

Factfile

The jury in the trial of Robert Black — accused of abducting and murdering Jennifer Cardy (9) — is due to begin considering its verdict this morning. Jennifer was abducted on August 12, 1981. Her body was found floating in a dam six days later.

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