Prisoner quizzed over paedophile Robert Black’s ‘confessions’

Serial child killer Robert Black Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Serial child killer Robert Black Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

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Detectives have questioned a prisoner after he claimed child killer Robert Black confessed many of his crimes to him.

Scottish-born Black, who was convicted of four child murders but suspected of many more, died in Maghaberry Prison in Northern Ireland in January.

Barry McCarney, also a convicted child killer, apparently befriended Black inside the high-security jail near Lisburn, Co Antrim. In the wake of the 68-year-old serial paedophile’s death, McCarney apparently told prison authorities that Black had confided in him that he had killed many children.

In court, Black never admitted to any of the murders he was convicted of.

Detectives from England flew to Northern Ireland last week to question McCarney at length on his claims. They questioned him twice over three days, for four hours each time.

McCarney, 36, from Trillick, County Tyrone, is serving a minimum 25-year sentence for murdering Enniskillen toddler Millie Martin in 2009.

Black, from Falkirk, was a delivery driver who stalked the roads of the UK searching for victims.

His reign of terror was ended in 1990 when he was caught red-handed by police with a barely alive six-year-old girl hooded, bound, gagged and stuffed in a sleeping bag in the back of his van in the Scottish village of Stow.

He had sexually assaulted the girl moments earlier.

Once in custody, the predator was linked to a series of unsolved crimes in the previous decade.

In 1994, Black was found guilty of three child murders in the 1980s – those of 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, from the Borders; five-year-old Caroline Hogg, from Portobello, Edinburgh; and Sarah Harper, 10, from Morley, near Leeds. He was also found guilty of a failed abduction bid in Nottingham in 1988.

In 2011, he was found guilty of the 1981 murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy, from Ballinderry, Co Antrim.

Black was also suspected of involvement in other killings and unexplained disappearances and had long been the prime suspect in the case of missing 13-year-old Genette Tate, who was last seen in a rural lane in Aylesbeare, Devon, in 1978.

No trace of the newspaper delivery girl has ever been found. All that remained at the scene were her bike and scattered papers.

Black died in non-suspicious circumstances in Maghaberry on 12 January and his body was cremated at the direction of prison authorities. His unclaimed ashes were scattered at sea without ceremony.

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