Belfast Telegraph

Receipts 'show Black was in Ulster'

A former work colleague of a Scottish van driver accused of murdering a schoolgirl in Northern Ireland has told his trial he has no doubt he was in the region on the day she vanished.

Robert Black, now 64, is charged with the kidnap and murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy on August 12 1981.

The defendant worked for a London company - Poster, Dispatch and Storage (PDS) - at the time and the Crown is attempting to prove he was near the scene when Jennifer was snatched in the Co Antrim village of Ballinderry as she cycled to a friend's house

Her body was found six days later floating in a dam beside a roadside lay-by 10 miles away near the Co Down village of Hillsborough. She had been sexually assaulted.

Michael Carder, who also worked as a driver for PDS, told the fourth day of Black's trial at Armagh Crown Court that fuel receipts pointed to him being in Northern Ireland on a delivery run.

He said a receipt signed by Black the following day - August 13 - at a filling station outside Coventry on the main road to London suggested he was returning from the ferry at Liverpool.

When asked by Crown lawyer Toby Hedworth QC where he believed Black had been the previous day, Mr Carder replied: "I would have said Northern Ireland."

Black, a Scot who lived in north London, denies the charges facing him.

Mr Carder said the Datsun van Black was driving when he bought the fuel was only really used for the Northern Ireland route, and trips in and around London and East Anglia.

However, Black's defence counsel David Spens QC said the witness's assertion that his client was in the region was based on two assumptions: that PDS carried out a delivery in Northern Ireland on that date; and that the Datsun van was limited to Northern Ireland, London and East Anglia.

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