Robert Black responsible for more child murders believes crime expert David Wilson

CHILD killer Robert Black could be responsible for some of the country’s most mysterious unsolved murders, a crime expert has claimed.

Professor of criminology David Wilson
Professor of criminology David Wilson

CHILD killer Robert Black could be responsible for some of the country’s most mysterious unsolved murders, a crime expert has claimed.

The sexual predator – who abducted, raped and murdered Northumberland schoolgirl Susan Maxwell in 1982 – was featured in an episode of the Channel 5 series Killers Behind Bars, which aired last night.

In the documentary, criminologist Professor David Wilson looked at theories that Black, 65, could be behind the murders of Norfolk 13-year-old April Fabb, who vanished in 1969, and Genette Tate, 13, who went missing in Aylesbeare, East Devon, in 1978.

And the professor claimed it is possible that Black – already convicted of four murders – is one of the country’s most prolific child killers.

“Robert Black is one of the most evil predatory paedophiles that this country has ever seen,” he said. “But his 30-year offending period led to him being convicted of only four child murders.

“I’m convinced this is just the tip of the iceberg. And if I’m right he could be guilty of more crimes than Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, making him the most prolific child killer in British history.

“I’m convinced there are more cases that merit further investigation.”

Susan Maxwell was abducted on July 30, 1982, after she left her home in Cornhill-on-Tweed, north Northumberland, to play a game of tennis in Coldstream.

Robert Black

Van driver Black raped and strangled her, before dumping her body by the side of a road near Uttoxeter in Staffordshire, 250 miles away.

In 1994 the paedophile, from Stamford Hill in London, was given 10 life sentences at Newcastle Crown Court for the murder of Susan, 10-year-old Sarah Harper and Caroline Hogg, who was just five.

His killing spree only ended in 1990, when he was caught red-handed by police with a barely-alive six-year-old girl hooded, bound, gagged and stuffed in a sleeping bag in the back of his van in the Scottish village of Stow.

Last year he was convicted of the murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy from Northern Ireland, who was snatched as she cycled to a friend’s house in the County Antrim village of Ballinderry on August 12, 1981.

Her body was found six days later in a dam behind a roadside lay-by 15 miles away at Hillsborough, County Down.

In Killers Behind Bars, Prof Wilson met former DCI Andrew Watt of Borders and Lothian Police who investigated one of Black’s crimes and the detective hands him a list of cases he believes have striking similarities to the other murders.

Pro Wilson also examined interviews with Scotland-born Black, recorded at Aberdeen’s Peterhead Prison.

Speaking to the late sex crimes expert Ray Wyre, Black discusses the case of papergirl Genette Tate, whose abductor has never been caught.

Prof Wilson claimed his in-depth knowledge of the case and inability to say the little girl’s name suggests he could be responsible.

The criminologist also visited the scene of April Fabb’s abduction and points out striking similarities between that and Black’s other crimes.

However, he says there is no evidence to suggest Black could have been in Norfolk at the time.

The programme concluded with Prof Wilson arguing there is a very real possibility that Black murdered Genette Tate. He said: “We should be re-opening this case.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer