Mother is haunted by fear of child killer

18 May 2005
The Irish News
Valerie Robinson

The mother of a six-year-old girl who vanished in Co Donegal has told how she is haunted by the fear that child killer Robert Black was responsible. Ann Boyle said she feared "the most horrific man on earth" took her child Mary from near her grandmother's home close to Ballyshannon in 1977.

Black (58), jailed for the murder of three children in Britain and suspected of many more, was still being questioned by the police last night about the 1981 murder of nine-year-old Co Antrim schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy.

Both Garda and PSNI detectives have previously travelled to Wakefield Prison in England to interview the notorious Scots serial killer, who has insisted that he did not abduct the Donegal girl.

Mrs Boyle said she had been told by gardai that Black had spent "a lot of time" in the Dungloe and Annagry areas of the county around the time of Mary's disappearance. The former van driver visited Ireland while working for a poster delivery company during the 1970s and 1980s. Black is currently serving 10 life sentences for the murder of two Scottish girls, aged 11 and five, and a 10-year-old in Leeds.

He was eventually arrested in 1990 in Scotland by the police officer father of a six-year-old girl who had been gagged and stuffed into a sleeping bag in a van. Police continue to hope that advances in DNA technology will help link Black to other child disappearances.

However, Mrs Boyle said she was haunted by the knowledge that the killer could be linked to her young daughter's fate. "One half of me suspects that this man was involved in Mary going missing, but the other half hopes that he had nothing to do with it," she said.

"This is the most horrific man on earth. I have read about him and the things he did to those little girls would make your skin crawl. "What had those little girls ever done to deserve what happened to them? "For a man to do horrific things to little souls is horrible. There is no way that he can ever justify that. He is a monster."

A Garda spokesman said officers would monitor progress made by the PSNI in the Jennifer Cardy case but had no immediate plans to interview Black.

Nine-year-old Jennifer from Ballinderry was abducted as she cycled to a friend's house in August 1981. Her bike was found beside a hedge near her home, but her body was not discovered until six days later by two fishermen near Hillsborough, Co Down.

Black was flown to Northern Ireland earlier this week for questioning about Jennifer's murder. He was still being held in Antrim last night.

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