Northern Ireland

Robert Black: Child killer's ashes scattered at sea

Media captionThe ashes of child killer Robert Black, who was convicted of the murders of four children from across the UK in the 1980s, have been scattered at sea.

The ashes of child killer Robert Black, who was convicted of the murders of four children from across the UK in the 1980s, have been scattered at sea.

Black, 68, who had a history of abducting, abusing and murdering young girls, died in Maghaberry prison, County Antrim, last month.

Among his victims was Jennifer Cardy, nine, of Ballinderry in County Antrim.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service said his ashes were scattered "without ceremony, beyond these shores".

A spokesperson said this was done in the absence of anyone claiming his remains and "in accordance with the legal requirements for disposal."

Jennifer Cardy's father Andy said: "I think it was handled discreetly, I think it was handled reverently and with respect and I think it had to be handled like that and I think the authorities did really well.

"I'm very pleased at how they handled it.

"We would now say that it's over. We knew that he would never be out of jail again and that he would never hurt another little girl.

"But probably it would be right to say that that's the end of it and that's quite a relief."

Black's other victims were Sarah Harper, 10, of Leeds, Susan Maxwell, 11, of Northumberland, and Caroline Hogg, five, of Edinburgh.

Image caption Robert Black was convicted of murdering (clockwise from top left) Jennifer Cardy, Sarah Harper, Susan Maxwell and Caroline Hogg
Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Robert Black was a delivery driver who had a history of abducting and murdering young girls

Black, originally from Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, was a predatory paedophile with a long criminal record of sexually abusing young girls.

Jennifer Cardy's killing was the first murder that he was known to have carried out, but it was the last one of which he was convicted.

Black's job as a delivery driver meant he travelled widely across the UK and, at the time, he was in Northern Ireland driving for a London-based poster company.

His nine-year-old victim was cycling to a friend's house near her home in Ballinderry, County Antrim, on 12 August 1981 when Black abducted and sexually assaulted Jennifer, before dumping her body in a dam.

Image caption Jennifer Cardy was abducted while she cycled to a friend's house near her County Antrim home in 1981

The following year, Black abducted and murdered 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, who had been walking to her home in Cornhill on-Tweed, Northumberland.

In 1983, five-year-old Caroline Hogg disappeared from outside her home in Portobello, Edinburgh, and was later found dead in a ditch in Leicestershire.

Three years later, Black abducted 10-year-old Sarah Harper as she walked from a corner shop near her home in Morley, Leeds.

Sarah's body was later discovered in the River Trent in Nottingham.

Image caption Police investigating Jennifer Cardy's disappearance staged a reconstruction in 1981 in a bid to trace her last movements

Black was eventually arrested in 1990, when police stopped his van and found a six-year-old girl bound and gagged in the back of his vehicle.

The child, who had been kidnapped from a village in the Scottish Borders, was rescued by police but the case led detectives to Black's previous victims.

In 1994, Black was convicted for the murders of Susan, Caroline and Sarah.

He was already serving life sentences for the three killings when he was found guilty of Jennifer's murder in 2011.

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