Date queried in child murder trial
Invoices linking the dispatch company which employed a suspected child killer to the region where the murder happened do not make clear what date it delivered there, a court has been told.
A retired businessman who commissioned London-based firm Poster Dispatch and Storage Ltd (PDS) to deliver posters to Northern Ireland in the month nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy was murdered near Lisburn, Co Antrim, said he could not be certain exactly when it carried out the job.
Former PDS driver Robert Black, 64, is on trial at Armagh Crown Court accused of kidnapping and murdering the schoolgirl on August 12, 1981.
Jennifer disappeared from the village of Ballinderry as she cycled to a friend's house. Her body was found floating face down in a dam ten miles away, close to Hillsborough, six days later. She had been sexually assaulted.
The Crown has claimed the documents, along with other work records, indicate that Black, a Scot from north London, had conducted a delivery run in Northern Ireland on the day of the murder before getting an overnight ferry back to England.
Crown lawyer Toby Hedworth QC asked retired chair of advertising agency Concord and Poster Link Alan Simmons when the posters would have been delivered if they were due to be on billboards for the start of the campaigns on September 1. Mr Simmons said he would have expected them to be there around two to three weeks before they were unveiled.
But Black's defence lawyer David Spens QC said the invoices were not specific about delivery dates. "There's no document that demonstrates on its face there was a delivery to Northern Ireland in the middle of August 1981?" he asked.
Mr Simmons acknowledged he did not know exactly when PDS would have made the trip. "I can't give you a specific date just a likely period between which it would have been delivered," he said.
The Crown has also argued that petrol purchases made on the day after the murder demonstrate that Black was in Northern Ireland the previous day.
Black, dressed in a red jumper, was flanked by two prison guards as he sat in the dock listening. Jennifer's parents Andrew and Patricia sat yards behind him in the public gallery.