Black may escape further trials

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The Independent Online
ROBERT BLACK, who was jailed for life last week for the murders of Caroline Hogg, Susan Maxwell and Sarah Harper, is unlikely to face trial for other killings of children because police fear it would prove too costly and time-consuming.

Speculation has been rife that Black may have committed between five and 40 child murders in the past 25 years, including some in France, the Netherlands and Germany.

A meeting is to be held next month by the Lothian and Borders force, which had overall charge of the 12-year Hogg, Maxwell and Harper murder inquiry. All six police forces involved in the inquiry will discuss whether specific cases stand up to linking with 47-year-old Black. But any further trial is thought unlikely.

Police believe there are at most 12 cases deserving close examination. But these will flounder without any confession from Black.

One case, in particular, that of Genette Tate, 13, the Devon schoolgirl who vanished in 1978, is being seriously considered. Police will not say whether they have examined all the petrol receipts they hold from the company Black used to work for as a van driver and checked them against any or all of the outstanding cases. It is thought, however, that they have placed Black in Devon, on a run that passed Genette's home village of Aylesbeare.