Jennifer murder trial verdict due
The jury in serial killer Robert Black's latest murder trial will retire to consider its verdict today.
Judge Mr Justice Ronald Weatherup said he would briefly conclude his directions to the jurors at Armagh Crown Court before sending them out to begin deliberations.
The convicted triple child killer is accused of abducting and murdering nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy in Northern Ireland 30 years ago.
The schoolgirl was snatched as she cycled to a friend's house in the quiet Co Antrim village of Ballinderry on August 12 1981. Her body was found six days later in a dam behind a roadside lay-by 15 miles away at Hillsborough, Co Down.
During the five week trial, the Crown claimed Black, a London-based dispatch driver at the time, was in Northern Ireland on the day doing delivery runs. It further contends the kidnap and murder of Jennifer bears the hallmarks and signature of his past crimes against young girls.
Black, 64, denies the charges.
In 1994, Black was convicted of three unsolved child murders in the 1980s - 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, from the Scottish Borders, five-year-old Caroline Hogg, from Edinburgh, and Sarah Harper, 10, from Morley, near Leeds - and a failed abduction bid in Nottingham in 1988.
Jennifer had marks on her neck when she was found that some experts claimed were indicative of a ligature.
One pathologist said during the trial it was possible her assailant had applied it to subdue the girl, and not intentionally to kill her.
Noting this potential finding on Tuesday, Mr Weatherup said the jury also had the option of finding Black guilty of manslaughter not murder.