The Caroline Hogg Story

8 July 1983
                                                     from Wikipedia

Five-year-old Caroline Hogg, Black's youngest known victim, disappeared while playing outside her Beach Lane home in the Edinburgh suburb of Portobello in the early evening of 8 July 1983. When she failed to return home by 7:15 p.m., her family searched the surrounding streets. A boy told them he saw Caroline with a man on the nearby promenade, which they searched before calling Lothian and Borders Police.

The ensuing search was the largest in Scottish history at that time, with 2000 local volunteers and 50 members of the Royal Scots Fusiliers searching first Portobello, then expanding their scope to Edinburgh. By 10 July, Caroline's disappearance was headline news across the UK. Nine known paedophiles were identified as having been in Portobello on 8 July; all were eliminated from the inquiry.

Numerous eyewitnesses had seen an unkempt, balding, "furtive-looking" man wearing horn-rimmed glasses, watching Caroline as she played; then following her to a nearby fairground. En route, a 14-year-old girl named Jennifer Booth saw Caroline sitting with this man on a bench. Jennifer overheard Caroline reply, "Yes please" to some question posed to her by the man, before the two walked to the fairground holding hands. There, the man paid for Caroline to ride a carousel as he watched. A witness stated to police that as they left, Caroline seemed frightened.

Caroline remained in Black's van for at least 24 hours. Black delivered posters to Glasgow several hours after the abduction, and refuelled his van in Carlisle early the following morning.

On 18 July, Caroline's naked body was found in a ditch close to the M1 motorway in Twycross, 310 miles (500 km) from where she had been abducted and just 24 miles (39 km) from where Susan Maxwell's body had been found the previous year. The precise cause of death could not be determined due to the extent of decomposition. Insect activity suggested the body was placed where it was found on or after 12 July; Black had made a delivery to Bedworth on that date. The absence of clothing again suggested a sexual motive.

The following March, a televised reconstruction of the abduction was broadcast nationally. Appealing for witnesses to come forward, Caroline's father said: "You think it can never happen to you, but it has proven time and time again that it can, and it could again if this man isn't caught in the near future."

Coordinated task force

After the discovery of Caroline's body, a conference of senior Staffordshire and Leicestershire detectives unanimously concluded that Caroline's and Susan's murderers were the same person, to a large degree because of the distance between the abduction and discovery sites. (Jennifer Cardy's murder was not linked to this series until 2009)

Due to the distances involved, police suspected that the murderer of Susan and Caroline worked as a lorry or van driver, or a sales representative, which required him to travel extensively to locations which included the Scottish Borders. Both girls had been bound and likely subjected to a sexual assault prior to the murders, and each had been wearing white ankle socks at the time of her abduction, which may have triggered a fetish in the perpetrator's psyche. Due to the geographical and circumstantial nature of the offences, the killer was most likely an opportunist.

Based upon the day of the week when Susan and Caroline had been abducted (a Friday), the killer was likely tied to a delivery or production schedule. Following the August 1982 discovery of Susan's body, numerous transport firms with links between Scotland and the Midlands of England were contacted, and drivers were questioned about their whereabouts on the date of her abduction. This line of inquiry was repeated following the discovery of Caroline's body, but in both instances failed to yield results.

Despite frustration at the lack of a breakthrough in their search for the murderer, there was complete cooperation between the detectives from the four police forces involved in the manhunt. Initially, a satellite incident room in Coldstream coordinated the efforts of the forces involved in the hunt for Susan's killer, with incident rooms in Leith and Portobello coordinating the search for Caroline's; within hours of Caroline's body being discovered, the chief constables of all forces now involved in investigating these crimes agreed to appoint a senior investigating officer to coordinate the inquiries. Hector Clark, the assistant chief constable of Northumbria Police, took overall charge of the investigation. Clark established incident rooms in Northumberland and Leith police stations, to liaise between the four police forces involved.

From The Herald


The last hours of Caroline Hogg Parents tell of search for daughter

PLAYMATES of Caroline Hogg saw a scruffy man in need of a shave watching them as they played yards from where the five-year-old went missing on a July evening in 1983, a murder trial was told yesterday.
Statements were read out from the witnesses, children at the time, at the trial in Newcastle of Mr Robert Black, who denies kidnapping and murdering Caroline, Susan Maxwell the previous year, and Sarah Harper in 1986. The jury also heard the evidence given to the police by Caroline's parents, Annette and John Hogg.

Caroline's body was found in a layby near Twycross, Leicestershire, 12 days after she went missing near Portobello promenade. A statement made by one of the youngsters, Andrew Casey, was given to
the police the following day, July 8, 1983. He said he and other children had been playing at Towerbank School, close to where the Hoggs lived in Portobello, at about 6.30 in the evening.
Stewart Hogg, Caroline's brother, had joined them and they had seen Caroline leave her house and go down towards the promenade. The witness remembered Mrs Hogg telling Stewart to go down to find Caroline as she had gone towards the swing park.

The witness said he had seen a man come down from a nearby lane and stand at the lamp- post beside the pitch. He had lit a cigarette and then went off in the direction of the promenade.There had also been a drunk man close by and, the witness said, he could not remember which of the men it was but one had needed a shave.

Another witness, Nicola Docherty, who was 10 at the time, said she had seen Caroline walk alone towards the promenade. After Caroline had passed she saw a man leaning against a building.
She said had ''become suspicious because he looked weird''. Donald Wayland, who was nine when he gave his statement to the police, said the man he noticed had been there for about 40 minutes and had
walked off in the opposite direction to Caroline.

Black sat impassively as a Mrs Annette Hogg's statement, given immediately after Caroline disappeared, was read out. Mrs Hogg said she had only allowed Caroline to play in the playground
of Towerbank school, in the football pitch at the school, or in the housing estate. The statement described the routine of that day. She had dressed Caroline to go to a party at the house of a friend and then took her there about 2pm. She and her husband collected Caroline after 4pm.
Caroline had gone out to play still wearing her party clothes. Mrs Hogg's statement said she had made the family tea but Caroline could not be found and the family ate without her. When she returned about 5.20, Mrs Hogg had given her a row for being late and she had not eaten her tea.
The couple had then gone to Portobello High Street, taking Caroline with them. On the walk home the child had been full of fun and they had raced down the road.

At the garden gate Caroline had asked if she could go out and play and had been told she could do so for five minutes if she changed her shoes. Caroline had left the house just on seven. They had then decided to go to the home of friends for a drink and Mrs Hogg had shouted to Caroline's brother to ask if he had seen the child but he had not. She had looked for Caroline and then told her husband she could not find her. After a further search they telephoned the police. Mr John Hogg's statement said: ''I can only think she had been enticed away by someone who had been able to gain her trust because in normal circumstances she would not have gone away with someone she did not know.''

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