Belfast Telegraph

World exclusive: Serial killer Robert Black's unclaimed remains cremated in secret Belfast funeral

By Deborah McAleese

A secret funeral for serial killer Robert Black was held in Belfast last night, it can be revealed.

The notorious paedophile was cremated after hours at Roselawn Crematorium on the outskirts of Belfast without any family or friends present.

A black Ford Mondeo carrying the 68-year-old killer's body drove through the cemetery gates after the crematorium had closed to other services.

No flowers or memorials adorned the coffin of the monster, who murdered nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy in Ballinderry in 1981.

A quick cremation was carried out just before 5pm.

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

He read a passage from Psalm 90 but made no reference to Black's murderous past.

After a short prayer, he committed the killer's body for cremation with the words, "Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust."

The paedophile's remains will now be disposed of at an undisclosed location outside of Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service refused to provide any comment on the child killer's funeral.

The authorities have been keen to keep the details surrounding the service private, with only a few people privy to the full information.

There had been anger that the public would have to cover the cost of Black's funeral because he died in jail and no family came forward to claim his remains.

The cheapest cremation service available from the firm which carried out yesterday's service costs in excess of £3,000.

Black died on January 12 at Maghaberry Prison, where he was serving 12 life sentences for the kidnap and murder of four little girls.

Local undertakers had refused to handle his remains, leading to a delay in the holding of a funeral for him, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.

Eventually, the Northern Ireland Prison Service found a funeral director prepared to take on the ceremony.

Justice Committee chairman, DUP MLA Alastair Ross, said he was glad that "a line can finally be drawn under this terrible case. Hopefully now, the families of this man's victims can find some peace," he added.

Following Black's death earlier this month there was huge concern about his funeral arrangements, with calls for his remains to be kept somewhere other than Northern Ireland, where he abducted and murdered Jennifer Cardy in 1981.

The prison authorities have come under fire for refusing to release any information to the public about his funeral or the cost to the public purse.

Ukip MLA David McNarry described the Prison Service's silence over the killer's service as "outrageous".

"This shroud of secrecy is just treating the public with contempt," he added.

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.


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