The Susan maxwell Story

Cornhill-on-Tweed, Northumberland

July 30th, 1982
                                   From Wikipedia - Cornhill-on-Tweed, Northumberland

Robert Black's second confirmed victim was 11-year-old Susan Claire Maxwell, who lived in the village of Cornhill-on-Tweed on the English side of the Anglo-Scottish border. Susan was abducted on 30 July 1982 as she walked home from playing tennis in Coldstream. She was last seen alive at 4:30 p.m., crossing the bridge over the River Tweed, and was likely abducted by Black shortly after.

The following day a search was mounted. Search dogs were used, and at peak 300 officers were assigned full-time; a thorough search was made of every property in both Cornhill and Coldstream and over 80 square miles of terrain. Several people reported seeing a white van in the locality; one said a van had been parked in a field gateway off the A697.

On 12 August, Susan's body was found by a lorry driver; her body was covered with undergrowth, and was clothed save for her shoes and underwear. The precise date and cause of her death could not be determined due to decomposition. Susan had been bound, and gagged with sticking plaster, and her underwear had been removed and folded beneath her head, suggesting that she had been sexually assaulted.

coroner's inquest concluded she had died shortly after being abducted. Evidently, she remained in Black's van—alive or dead—for over 24 hours, as his delivery schedule encompassed Edinburgh, Dundee, and finally Glasgow, where he made his final delivery close to midnight on 30 July. The following day, Black returned from Glasgow to London, discarding the body in a copse beside the A518 road near Uttoxeter, 264 miles (425 km) from where Susan had been abducted.

Susan Maxwell 'seen alone before disappearance': Triple murder trial told of surprise at sighting


15th April 1994
ONE OF the last people to see Susan Maxwell before she was snatched and murdered told a jury yesterday of her surprise that she was walking alone.

Karen Young, then 15, said she was with her grandparents driving into the Scottish border town of Coldstream when she saw the 11-year-old walking over the bridge across the river Tweed on 30 July 1982. 'I remarked to my grandparents that it was Susie Maxwell. I knew her and her family and thought it was very unusual for her to be walking alone,' she told Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court.

The jury has been told that Susan was walking to her farmhouse home at Cornhill-on-Tweed half a mile away - the first time she had been allowed to do this unaccompanied - after a game of tennis. She subsequently vanished 'into thin air' and her body was found 13 days later 264 miles away beside the A518 at Loxley in Staffordshire.

Robert Black, a 47-year-old van driver, is accused of the murders of Susan and also Caroline Hogg, five, who was abducted from Portobello, Edinburgh, in July 1983, and Sarah Harper, 10, taken from Leeds in March 1986. He is also accused of kidnapping Teresa Thornhill, who was then 15, at Radford, near Nottingham, in April 1988. Mr Black, of Stamford Hill, north London, denies a total of 10 charges.

Norma Richardson, another local resident, told the court in a written statement that she left home on the day Susan disappeared at about 4.15pm. As she drove across the Tweed bridge, her attention was drawn to a little girl.

'I didn't see anyone on the Tweed bridge but as I passed over it my attention was taken by a young girl walking on the grass verge. She was about nine or 10 years old with short brown hair and wearing a lemon top and white shorts.' Mrs Richardson said the girl was 'swinging a tennis racquet in her hand'. She was quite sure the girl was Susan. 

The jury was told that Mr Black had a body odour problem but shrugged off the comments of workmates about the smell in his van. Eric Mould, an associate director of PDS, the poster delivery firm, in the early 1980s, was asked about Mr Black's level of cleanliness.

He said he was a heavy smoker, his hands were stained with nicotine, his teeth were in a bad condition and on the question of body odour, 'I think it is fair to say he had a problem'. He used to sleep in the back of his van which was 'unclean' - worse than the vehicles of the other drivers.

A prosecution witness called to give scientific evidence told the jury he could find no links between Mr Black and any of the murdered girls. However, because of the time lapse between the killings and forensic examination it was 'unlikely' anything would be found.

James Fraser, of Lothian and Borders police forensic laboratory, said he and other scientists had spent six months on the case.

The hearing continues next week.

'He was evil through and through': Parents of Robert Black victim react to news child killer has died in prison


12 January 2016
                                  Liz and Fordyce Maxwell

LIZ and Fordyce Maxwell, the parents of one of Robert Black's victim’s Susan, said it was typical of the impact that he had had on their lives that he would be back in the news at a time when the family had something to celebrate.
The serial child killer was found dead in his Northern Irish prison cell earlier today .

On 29 December, Liz and Fordyce's son Tom and wife Jenna, presented them with a beautiful grand-daughter.
Liz said: “Black was evil through and through and we’d rather not have to think about him at such times.”
In a statement the couple prepared together, they added: “It’s a great relief to know that he will never be released from prison.
“He has been fortunate enough to die of natural causes, which is more than he deserved.
“All his innocent victims, including our beloved daughter Susan died in horrific and terrifying circumstances.
“He brought us and the parents of the other children a lifetime of misery and will be mourned by no one.”
Retired Detective Chief Supt Roger Orr, formerly of Lothian and Borders Police, co-ordinated the painstaking search of Black’s work records that placed him at the scenes of all the abductions and points of disposal for the 1994 trial.
He also worked with the PSNI to guide detectives preparing the case for Jennifer Cardy’s murder and gave evidence at the trial.
He said: “Robert Black probably occupied 18-19 years of my 30-year police career, and has occupied quite a bit of my time after retirement.
“He was a monster, and an enigma, a highly unusual, highly dangerous man.
“I don’t think for a moment that he only killed four times, so there is a great sense of frustration that he has gone to his death without giving up the secrets he still carried.”
Child killer Black’s sudden death yesterday has denied justice to the family of Genette Tate, 13, who vanished on 19 August 1978.
It has emerged that detectives in Devon, with assistance from colleagues around the country who had tracked Black’s past, were close to charging him with the murder of the papergirl, who vanished from her village, Aylesbeare, while making deliveries. Her body has never been found.
In 2011, he was also convicted of the murder of Jennifer Cardy , nine, in Northern Ireland in August 1981.
A joint investigation between Devon and Cornwall Police and the PSNI had taken some six years, with Black interviewed about Jennifer and Genette.
But the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed in Genette’s case.
However, during taped interviews Black gave to the late sexual crimes expert, the late Ray Wyre, who was helping the police with their investigation in the run up to the trial in 1994, Black gave away detailed knowledge of the scene from which Genette was snatched.
It emerged yesterday, following news of Black’s death, that detectives had carried on working on the case and believed they were close to persuading the CPS to change its mind.
Sheila Cook, Genette’s mother, was distraught to receive the news. Husband Bob said tonight: “She’s devastated.”

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