|21 April 1947
|4 + ?
|Scotland, England, N. Ireland
|1981 - 1986
|Sexual / various
|Newcastle Crown Court
|Mr Justice Lord Macpherson
|Armagh Crown Court
|Mr Justice Ronald Weatherup
|Toby Hedworth QC
|David Spens QC
Within days of Robert Black's birth Jessie Hunter Black decided to have her son put into foster care He was taken by foster parents in their 50's, Jack and Margaret Tulip.
To his classmates at primary school Robert - or 'Smelly Robbie Tulip' as he was known - is remembered as having been an aggressive and slightly wayward boy. Getting involved in petty crime from a young age.
As well as the petty violence, Black was also developing a strange sexual self-awareness, as confessed by Black years later to a prison psychologist,
"I used to push things up my anus".
After his arrest in 1990 police found photographs that Black had taken of himself: one showed him with a wine-bottle up his anus, another with a telephone-handset, yet another with a table leg. Black also remembers fantasising about excreting on his hands and then rubbing the faeces in. He also always had an uneasy feeling that he would have preferred to have been a girl. But he was not homosexual in his desires.
His foster mother, Margaret Tulip died in 1958. when Black was only 11, and was once again deprived of a mother figure.
It was decided that Black would go to a Children's Home near Falkirk, close to where he was born. It was during Black's time there that his fascination with sex, and particularly with the vagina, finally drove him across the line from childish experimentation to criminal behaviour.
In 1969 at the age of 12, Black made his first attempt at rape. He was moved several times, finally being moved to a school in London. Once in London he tried out as a footballer, failing due to bad eyesight. He eventually became a lifeguard, he was a keen swimmer and this was great for his paedophile fantasies. He loved swimming and had the choice of two local pools, over 20 years later a little girl called Caroline Hogg was to be abducted from Portobello, and later murdered. Caroline’s house was on the route between two swimming-pools.
In the summer of 1962 when Black was fifteen, his time at the children's home was up. Black got a job as a delivery boy and found a room to rent in a boys’ home in Greenock, outside Glasgow. He later admitted that while he was doing his delivery rounds he molested 30 or 40 girls. Black's first conviction came shortly afterwards. The charge was for 'lewd and libidinous' behaviour with a young girl. Black, who was now seventeen, had approached a seven-year-old girl in the park, asking her if she would like to go with him to see some kittens. The girl trustingly followed him as he led her to a deserted building. She was later found wandering the streets: bleeding, crying and confused.
Black left Greenock and returned to Grangemouth to make a new start. Here he got a job with a builders' company and rented a room. He also met his first real girlfriend, Pamela Hodgson, and he fell in love, developed a sexual relationship and decided to get engaged, but, she broke off the engagement not long after, and told him it was over.
1978 - 13-year-old Genette Tate went missing ??
12th August 1981, 9-year-old Jenifer Cardy disappears on way to friends house
30th July 1982, 11-year-old Susan Maxwell - missing
8th July 1983, five-year-old Caroline Hogg - missing
The bodies were found within 24 miles of each other - 300 miles from the abductions.
26 March 1986, ten-year-old Sarah Harper - missing
14 July 1990 attempted abduction of Mandy Wilson., Black is caught red handed after a routine stop. The victim is found tied up and gagged in a sleeping bag in the back of his van, she had been sexually assaulted moments before. Medial experts claimed she was not far from death when police found her.
Wednesday 13 April 1994 Trial - Moot Hall in Newcastle. Black stands trial for the three murders known to police at the time. Susan Maxwell, Caroline Hogg and Sarah Harperr.
Thursday 19th May 1994 the jury found him guilty of three murders
Black is not eligible for parole until at least aged 82, in 2029.
Black is most famously known for his connection, or not, to the disappearance of 13 year old Genette Tate, and several others.
July 1994, a meeting was held in Newcastle to consider the possibility of Black’s involvement in similar murders. As well as possible murders in France, Amsterdam, Ireland and Germany, there were up to ten unsolved abductions and murders in England which have Black’s MO:
April Fabb Norfolk, 1969
9-year-old Christine Markham Scunthorpe 1973
13-year-old Genette Tate Devon 1978
14-year-old Suzanne Lawrence Essex 1979
16-year-old Colette Aram 1983 since attributed to Paul Hutchinson
14-year-old Patsy Morris 1990
Marion Crofts 1990
Lisa Hession 1990
No conclusion, or charges were reached at the time.
In 1992 after Black had been served with ten summonses, including three for the murder of three little girls, in an attempt to shift the moral responsibility he told officers: "Tell Pamela she's not responsible for all this".
10th April 2008, it was confirmed that police questioned Black about the murder of Jennifer Cardy, aged nine when she was abducted and murdered in 1981.
Police originally spoke to Black about this case in 2005, but are now looking at taking Black to trial in Northern Ireland.
Friday 22nd September 2011, Trial starts at Armagh Crown Court. Black denies the abduction and murder of Jenifer Cardy.
Friday 7th October 2011, In an unusual move the stunned jury is told about Black's previous convictions. Kidnap and rape, plus the murder of three young girls in the 1980's.
The prosecution said Black’s past crimes did not in themselves make him guilty of Jennifer’s murder but he claimed striking similarities between the cases would prove it. The prosecution also claimed that work records prove Black was in Northern Ireland on the day Jennifer was killed. The prosecution further claimed petrol receipts would prove that Black was in the area that day and would have driven by the spot known as McKee's Dam where Jenifer's body was found.
Thursday 27th October 2011, Black denied murder, and any connection to Jenifer Cardy.
Black was found guilty of the kidnap and murder of 9-year-old Jenifer Cardy. on the 12th August 1981. Judge Weatherup told Black: "You have been convicted by a jury of murder. There is only one sentence that will be imposed by law. "That's the sentence of life imprisonment. Accordingly, I sentence you to life imprisonment."
He then turned to the guards and said: "Take him down please."
Tuesday 12th January 2016; Black, now aged 68, died of natural causes in Maghaberry top security prison in County Antrim. Northern Ireland.
It appears he may have taken many secret to his grave, as above, he was suspected of killing many other children, and police were expecting to charge him with further murders in the next few weeks.