Child killer Robert Black dies in prison

Child serial killer Robert Black has died in prison in Northern Ireland aged 68.
Child serial killer Robert Black has died in prison in Northern Ireland aged 68.

Serial child killer Robert Black, whose reign of terror ended in 1990 when he was caught red-handed in the Borders village of Stow, has died in prison at the age of 68.

The Scottish-born sex attacker died in non-suspicious circumstances in Maghaberry high security jail in Northern Ireland.

Cornhill's Susan Maxwell, 11,  was one of the victims of serial child killer Robert Black.

Cornhill's Susan Maxwell, 11, was one of the victims of serial child killer Robert Black.

The 68-year-old from Falkirk was serving multiple life sentences for the murders of four schoolgirls in the 1980s and a number of other crimes.

Black was a delivery driver who stalked the roads of the UK searching for victims.

His reign of terror was ended in 1990 when he was caught 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 Borders village of Stow. He had sexually assaulted her moments earlier.

Once in custody detectives were able to link the predator to a series of unsolved crimes in the previous decade.

In 1994, Black was found guilty of three child murders in the 1980s – those of 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, from Cornhill-on-Tweed, five-year-old Caroline Hogg, from Edinburgh, and Sarah Harper, 10, from Morley, near Leeds – as well as a failed abduction bid in Nottingham in 1988.

In 2011, he was found guilty of the 1981 murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy, from Ballinderry, Co Antrim.

He was also suspected of involvement in other killings and unexplained disappearances.

A Northern Ireland Prison Service spokeswoman said: “The Prison Service has confirmed that a 68-year-old prisoner has died at Maghaberry Prison. While this is not being treated as suspicious, the Prison Service has informed the PSNI, Coroner, and Prisoner Ombudsman. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”