Northern Ireland

Black trial absolutely horrendous says Jennifer Cardy's father

The father of murder victim Jennifer Cardy has spoken of how horrendous an experience the trial of her killer Robert Black has been for the family.

Black, 64, who was previously convicted of murdering three other young girls, murdered nine-year-old Jennifer in August 1981.

The child had been cycling to a friend's house near her home in Ballinderry, County Antrim, when the Scottish van driver abducted her.

"For the last six weeks we have had to endure and listen to how Robert Black kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered our daughter," Andy Cardy said.

"It has been absolutely horrendous. We heard things that, in all honesty, were not even in our imagination.

"We were confronted with the awfulness of her last few hours and what she had to suffer and it has been truly awful."

Mr Cardy said the family's Christian faith had been a source of strength.

"We had a faith, and particularly throughout the trial we had a promise from God that he would never forsake us.

"He has given us a peace that surpasses all understanding. We have been able to live without bitterness.

"The wonderful thing is that one day we will be reunited with Jennifer."

He said life had never been the same since Jennifer's loss.

"Robert Black stole the life of our daughter but he didn't steal the life of me and my family. We lived a happy and prosperous life, but we missed Jennifer every day,'' he said.

Mr Cardy said he pitied Black and "the awful life he has led".

"Robert Black's end, if he doesn't come to repentance, will be an eternity with Satan in hell."

He said he still believed that someone who commits such a murder should receive a death sentence.

He said he felt this not out of hatred or vengeance but out of a desire for justice.

Jennifer's mother Pat said her daughter had been "the happiest little girl that I have ever known".

"Jennifer had a lovely thoughtfulness beyond her nine years," she said.

"Robert Black has done this awful deed but he will not destroy us.

"I don't think we will ever have closure, because our daughter is gone.

"But we have the relief in knowing that the perpetrator of this gruesome, horrible crime has been brought to justice and that does bring us a peace and a relief."

Preyed on the vulnerable

Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray, who led the police investigation into Jennifer's death for nine years, said his thoughts were with the Cardy family.

"None of us can imagine what they have suffered over the past 30 years or, more recently, during the past weeks of this trial when the horrific events of August 1981 were re-visited," he said.

"Robert Black preyed on the most vulnerable, most innocent and most cherished members of society - our children - devastating families and communities along the way."

He described Robert Black as "a lost cause to humanity" and said it had been one of the longest police investigations ever conducted in Northern Ireland.

"It has taken many twists and turns," he said.

"At times we have been full of hope and on other occasions we've been frustrated by a lack of progress, but we stuck to our principles and to our task and we have collected enough evidence to convince a jury that Robert Black is guilty."

He added: "In the end, it was good, old-fashioned police work which brought this case to trial and secured a conviction.

"It was attention to detail. It was trawling through literally tons of material and checking every minute aspect to pull together all the pieces of this jigsaw from many parts of the UK.

"Today's conviction will ensure he remains behind bars for a long time to come."

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