Belfast Telegraph

Father of Black's first victim seeks answers on the serial killer's final resting place

By Deborah McAleese

The father of serial child killer Robert Black's first victim has demanded that authorities in Northern Ireland make his final resting place known.

John Tate, whose school-girl daughter Genette was abducted and murdered by Black in 1978, has hit out at the Northern Ireland Prison Service for refusing to tell him and the families of the paedophile's other victims where his ashes have been scattered.

Black died at Maghaberry Prison three weeks ago at the age of 68. He was serving 12 life sentences for the kidnap and murder of four little girls, including nine-year-old Ballinderry schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy (below right).

He died just weeks before he was due to be charged with 13-year-old Genette Tate's murder.

The prison authorities have come under criticism for attempting to keep details of Black's funeral secret.

They persistently refused to say if his funeral had taken place, how much it cost to the public purse or reveal where his ashes were to be discarded.

After the Belfast Telegraph revealed on Saturday that the killer had been cremated in a secret ceremony at Roselawn, the Prison Service eventually confirmed the funeral had taken place and said that the cost was £1,000.

However, the authorities continue to refuse to reveal where Black's ashes are to be scattered. Mr Tate has accused the prison service of "adding insult to injury" by keeping the details secret.

"Black was a sexually motivated psychopath - he was horrible and evil, I hate him. And now it appears the State are acting out his demise in secret. I asked the police on Friday about his funeral and where his remains would end up. But they told me they didn't know because the Northern Ireland prison authorities would not tell them," Mr Tate told the Daily Mirror newspaper.

He added: "If taxpayers' money has been used to pay for his funeral, surely we have a right to know where his ashes have been scattered and if there is going to be a headstone and where it will be put. But why aren't my questions being answered? I am not being told the truth, which adds insult to injury." Mr Tate also said: "When Black died I thought I would like to visit his grave to make sure he was dead. Now I don't think I could face it. "

UKIP MLA David McNarry criticised the Prison Service's "outrageous shroud of secrecy".

"I've no idea why the Prison Service has been so keen to protect this serial child killer. Maybe they should give a bit more thought to his victims' families instead," he said. The notorious paedophile was cremated in a secret ceremony at Roselawn Crematorium on the outskirts of Belfast on Friday evening. He was brought into the cemetery after the crematorium had closed to other services.

The Presbyterian chaplain of Maghaberry Prison, Rev Rodney Cameron, carried out the service, which lasted barely six minutes.

Black was first accused of rape aged 12. He then went on to abduct and murder a number of young girls while working as a delivery driver.

He was jailed in 1994 for the murders of Susan Maxwell (11) from Cornhill-on-Tweed, Northumberland, in 1982; Caroline Hogg (5), from Edinburgh, in 1983; and Sarah Harper (10) from Morley, near Leeds, in 1986. In 2011, he was also convicted of the murder of Jennifer (9), in Ballinderry, Co Antrim, in 1981.

He was further convicted of a failed abduction bid on Teresa Thornhill in Nottingham in 1988, when she was 15. Following his death, detectives said they were days away from charging him with the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Genette Tate, who went missing in Devon in 1978 and has never been found.

New information emerged after his death indicating that Black could have killed up to 15 more young girls, making him the country's most prolific serial killer of children.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph