The Genette Tate Story

Story from The Mirror

Detectives are looking again at the possibility of charging serial child killer Robert Black with the 1978 murder of Genette Tate.
Police have long suspected Black of killing 13-year-old Genette, whose body has never been found.

But there is now new hope of a prosecution after Black, 67, lost an appeal against his latest conviction for the murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy.
Black, who has four child murder convictions, is believed to have been in the area at the time Genette vanished from a country lane in Devon.
He was even arrested over the disappearance, but has never been charged.
Her father John, 72, today said his daughter has never been far from his mind for the last 36 years.
He added: “You look at everything that could possibly be to do with her. You just cope very poorly sometimes.”

Mr Tate said of Devon and Cornwall Police’s handling of the case: “I haven’t been disenchanted with them apart from their lack of contact sometimes, but what do you do?”

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

Cold case detectives are now liaising with the complex case unit of the Crown Prosecution Service to see if the appeal court ruling has “any bearing on the Genette Tate case”.

It could pave the way for police to launch a new investigation into Black based on his previous convictions.

His reign of terror finally ended in 1990 when he was caught red-handed 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.

But in 2012 he was prosecuted for a fourth murder – that of Jennifer, who was snatched in 1981 as she cycled to a friend’s house in Ballinderry, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The paedophile is now serving a total of 12 life sentences for murder and kidnap.

Nikki Haywood, head of the CPS south-west complex casework unit, confirmed: “The CPS is considering information provided by Devon and Cornwall Police and any potential impact it may have in respect of the Genette Tate case.


The parents of one of the victims of serial child killer Robert Black have said they prayed for the murderer and took no pleasure in his prison death.

Jennifer Cardy, from Northern Ireland, was one of four young girls murdered by Black, who died in jail on Tuesday.

The nine-year-old was abducted, assaulted and killed near her home in Ballinderry, County Antrim.

Police in England are "devastated" that Black died before he could be charged with another girl's murder.

The Devon and Cornwall force said it was five weeks from submitting a file to prosecutors on Black linking him to the 1978 killing of Genette Tate.

She vanished while delivering newspapers in Aylesbeare, east Devon, in 1978. Her body has never been found.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Cardy's parents, Pat and Andy, spoke of how their Christian faith had influenced their attitude to Black.

Mrs Cardy said she wished she could have met Black before his death as she believed he may have been responsible for other unsolved child murders.

"Had I been able to talk, just as a woman to a man, and ask him where did he throw or fling or put the bodies of many more little girls that he killed," she said.

"That hasn't been proved, I know that, but there are many children's murders, little girls' murders with his hallmark."

The Cardy family were informed by police on Tuesday evening that 68-year-old Black had died at Maghaberry high-security prison in County Antrim.

It is believed he died of natural causes.

From The Mirror

'I fear child killer Robert Black drove past me with my daughter in his van'

John Tate is haunted by the possibility that he drove within feet of his daughter Genette while she was trussed up in the back of his vehicle

John Tate

Genette, 13, was abducted cycling round Aylesbeare, Devon. While she was being snatched, her dad John had been collecting his wife Violet from work and had interrupted the journey home to watch a holiday jet land at Exeter airport - because the couple were saving up to take Genette on holiday to Spain.

After Genette vanished, police said a man who looked like delivery driver Black was seen near the airport and a red van spotted in the area was never traced.

One of the two roads out of Aylesbeare passes the airport and John, 73, is haunted by the belief he may have been within yards of his daughter and her killer.

He said: “Driving back we saw two of Genette’s friends pushing her bike.

"They couldn’t find her. Her newspapers were strewn over the road.

“There are only a couple of lanes out of Aylesbeare and she had been put in a vehicle in seconds.

“A man strikingly like Black was spotted parked at the airport.”

John, now living in Manchester, added: “In that short trip it is very possible Black drove past us with Genette. It haunts me.”

Genette's body has never been found.

With no body to bury, her family have had to make do with a plaque in the village churchyard in memory of the schoolgirl who would now have been aged 50.

Despite being arrested on two previous occasions, Black never admitted killing her - but Devon and Cornwall police were finally set to charge him with Genette's murder when he died in jail.

Det Supt Paul Burgan said last week Black was the "only suspect" in the case.

The force still intends to submit a file to the Crown Prosecution Service.

From Mail Online:


Tell us the truth, begs Genette's father


The dying father of a girl who was snatched off the street 33 years ago has pleaded with Black to ‘come clean’ and end his suffering.

The disappearance of 13-year-old Genette Tate has remained unsolved for even longer than Jennifer Cardy’s murder.

Genette was on her paper round near her home in Aylesbeare, Devon, in August 1978. Her bicycle was found in the country lane, surrounded by scattered newspapers but no trace of her has ever been found.

After the trial her father called on ‘cowardly’ Black to confess whether he was responsible.

John Tate, who is 69 and has terminal prostate cancer, said: ‘I am relieved for Jennifer’s family. After 30 very long years they finally have some closure.

‘I just wish Black would now give the rest of us the same sort of closure without going through the hell of a trial.

‘Why doesn’t he come clean for the sake of the families? He is never going to be released from prison.

‘To me Robert Black is not a man in any sense – this big, burly Scotsman is a feeble coward who can only use his strength over defenceless little girls.

‘He left his victims to rot in unidentified places, never giving their families the chance to bury their loved ones.’

Black has long been suspected of killing Genette. He was arrested in his cell in 2005 by detectives investigating her murder, but prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence.

Mr Tate had divorced from Genette’s mother Sheila by the time of her disappearance.

She remarried and moved to Bristol, while Mr Tate has been married five times and now lives in Wythenshawe, Manchester.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed the inquiry into Genette’s disappearance remained open and that detectives would study the latest trial.

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