Serial child killer Robert Black compared his sexual abuse and torture of young girls to a theatre performance.
The former delivery driver from Falkirk in Scotland, who preyed on victims as young as five, made the claim to a leading forensic psychiatrist who conducted a series of interviews with him in prison.
A chilling new television documentary, to be aired next month, reveals that the killer compared himself to an actor starring in a play when he carried out his horrific crimes.
Black was found dead in his cell in Maghaberry high-security prison in Co Antrim in January 2016 aged 68.
An inquest jury later ruled that he died of a heart attack.
The killer was serving a number of life imprisonment sentences when he died.
Black murdered four schoolgirls between 1981 and 1986. One was Co Antrim school girl Jennifer Cardy in 1981.
A group of leading forensic psychologists studied his crimes for TV series Making A Monster which examines some of the country’s worst murderers.
The Daily Record reports that Black told Dr Richard Badcock said that he blocked out memories of whether his victims had lived or died but remembered abusing them and compared it to theatre.
Describing his meetings with Black, Dr Badcock said: “He was very unprepossessing physically, he was overweight, he was shy.
“He was not terribly intelligent but he had quite a lot of what you might think of as natural cunning.
“He didn’t have lots of opportunities for conversations so he was quite happy to talk about himself."
He continued: “There were areas of his life that he was happy to talk about and areas of his life that he wasn’t.
“The things that he didn’t want to talk about very much were the offences.
“One thing he did say was he had no recollection of what happened to the victims in terms of whether they died or not.
“He said it was like a theatre. Like the curtains opening at the start of a play.
“What had gone on before the curtains opened he had no knowledge of.
“What happened after the curtains closed he had no recollection of - these were the areas where the girls were killed and the bodies disposed of.
“But he had some recollection of what happened in between.”
Black, originally from Grangemouth in Stirlingshire, was raised by foster parents and later spent time in care homes where it is thought he was sexually abused.
The forensic psychologists concluded that he was driven to kill because of anger at the ill-treatment and abuse he suffered as a child.
The experts added that Black could not have been ‘cured’ and would have gone on to kill many more if he had not been caught.
In an audio recording of an interview conducted behind bars, he complained of being denied Christmas presents one year as a child.
He said: “I remember one Christmas I didn’t get no Christmas presents because I had been bad.
“I got one present from somebody that lived out of town. It was a football.
“I can’t remember what I had done like, you know.
“She says ‘Santa Claus isn’t coming this year to you’. And he didn’t.”
Dr Badcock, who also interviewed serial killer GP Harold Shipman, said: “Would he proudly describe himself as a serial killer? No he would not.
“He would describe himself as the unfortunate victim of life.
“What he mostly wanted to get across was how badly he had been treated at various stages of life. That was his central mantra.
“It’s certainly clear that something very traumatic happened to him at a very early age which he never discussed, presumably in the form of sexual abuse.
“It was something that so disturbed him that he shut himself off from it completely, disassociated himself from it.
“Because he could never address it or deal with it, it was the thing that stopped from being able to develop along different lines.
“It had the effect of encouraging him to grow up feeling vulnerable, alienated and inadequate.”
Black was convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting and murdering nine-year-old schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy in 1981 and dumping her body in a dam. Jennifer, from Ballinderry, was abducted while she cycled to a friend’s house near her home.
In May 1994, he was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering three of his victims.
Susan Maxwell was 11 when abducted in 1982 near the border between Scotland and England.
Her body was gagged and bound and she was found 250 miles away in England.
His next victim was a girl aged five, Caroline Hogg, who was abducted from Portobello in Edinburgh in 1983 and her body was found 300 miles away.
Sarah Harper, aged 10, was abducted in 1986 and found dead in the River Trent near Nottingham.
The Making A Monster episode featuring Black will be shown on the Crime+Investigation channel on February 24 at 9pm.