Convicted Stamford Hill child killer could be charged with fifth murder

Child killer Robert Black

Child killer Robert Black - Credit: Archant

A convicted child killer and paedophile from Hackney could be charged with the murder of a 13-year-old paper delivery girl who disappeared 29 years ago.

Robert Black, 67, formerly of West Bank, Stamford Hill, is currently serving life in jail for four child murders and could now be charged with the killing of Genette Tate, who was last seen in a rural lane in Aylesbeare, Devon, in 1978.

Her bag of newspapers and bike were left lying on the road but her body has never been found.

Police have resumed talks with the Crown Prosecution Service after Black lost his appeal against his conviction for the murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy, who was snatched from the road as she cycled to a friend’s house in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, in 1981.

Black argued that his trial was prejudiced because details about three other child murders he had already been jailed for were revealed to the jury.

Now police are trying to see whether the appeal court ruling has any bearing on the Genette Tate disappearance as it could pave the way for police to launch a case against Black based on his previous convictions.

Genette’s father John Tate told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme he feels “pretty happy” that the police are confident in their investigation, although he hoped they had not overlooked any other suspect by spending time focusing on Black.

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Black is serving a total of 12 life sentences for murder and kidnap.

He was found guilty in 1994 of the three child murders – those of 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, from the Scottish Borders in 1982; five-year-old Caroline Hogg, from Edinburgh in 1983; and Sarah Harper, 10, from Morley, near Leeds in 1986.

He was also charged with the attempted abduction of a 15-year-old girl in 1988.

In 2011, he was found guilty of the murder of Jennifer Cardy – whose body was discovered in a reservoir 10 miles from where she had vanished.

Police trawled through more than half a million petrol credit card receipts of Black’s and found he had made a delivery in Belfast on the day she had disappeared.

Black, who delivered advertising posters all over the UK, was finally caught red-handed in 1990 with a six-year-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 her moments earlier.

A CPS spokesperson said: “CPS South West is liaising with Devon and Cornwall Police regarding the Genette Tate case and will provide advice as appropriate.”