Police planned to charge Robert Black with girl’s murder

Serial killer Robert Black was suspected of killing school girl Genette Tate. Picture: PA

Serial killer Robert Black was suspected of killing school girl Genette Tate. Picture: PA

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POLICE were preparing to charge serial child killer Robert Black with the murder of a 13-year-old schoolgirl when he died behind bars, it has been confirmed.

The Scottish-born paedophile, 68, died in non-suspicious circumstances in Maghaberry high security jail in Northern Ireland earlier this week.

I basically hoped that we were going to find out what actually happened to her and to rule out once and for all that she is alive somewhere

John Tate, father of Genette

He was serving multiple life sentences for the murders of four schoolgirls in the 1980s and a number of other crimes.

Devon and Cornwall Police said it had been preparing to submit a file to the Crown Prosecution Service’s complex case unit in connection with the murder of Genette Tate, a newspaper delivery girl, who vanished in a rural lane in Aylesbeare, Devon, in August 1978. Her body has never been found.

Her father John last night said he fears he will never be able to lay his daughter to rest following Black’s death or find out what happened to her.

Mr Tate said: “It’s hard [to grieve] because there’s a tiny little bit of me that hopes she’s alive somewhere.

• READ MORE: Convicted child killer Robert Black dies in prison

“I basically hoped that we were going to find out what actually happened to her and to rule out once and for all that she is alive somewhere.”

Detective Superintendent Paul Burgan, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said Black was “weeks” away from being charged with her murder.

“The reinvestigation into Genette’s murder started back in 2014 following a court of appeal hearing in 2013,” Mr Burgan said.

“We have had a team of ten working on that extensively for the past two years.

“We were in the process of submitting a full evidential file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which would have been submitted in February of this year.

“In earlier indications, the CPS has said that in all probability, we would have charged Robert Black with Genette’s abduction and murder.

“We were waiting for a final charging decision from them when the file went to them.”

Mr Burgan said that he expected the charging decision from the CPS to come in “weeks rather than months”.

In 1994, Black was found guilty of three child murders in the 1980s – Susan Maxwell, 11, from Cornhill-on-Tweed in Northumberland, Caroline Hogg, five, from Edinburgh, and Sarah Harper, ten, from Morley, near Leeds – as well as a failed abduction bid in Nottingham in 1988.

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

Black first became a suspect in Genette’s murder in 1994 and was interviewed about it in 1996.

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