Se­rial killer Black died from a heart at­tack, in­quest jury finds

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY MICHAEL McHUGH

SE­RIAL child killer Robert Black died from a heart at­tack, an in­quest jury has con­cluded.

The for­mer de­liv­ery driver from Falkirk, Scot­land, who preyed on vic­tims as young as five, was at se­ri­ous risk af­ter a life­time of lit­tle ex­er­cise and heavy smok­ing.

Black was found dead in his cell in Maghaberry prison in Jan­uary 2016, aged 68.

He mur­dered four school­girls be­tween 1981 and 1986.

Ju­rors found he had died from a car­diac ar­rest.

De­gen­er­a­tion of the walls of the coro­nary artery was a sec­ondary cause.

They con­firmed un­der­ly­ing fac­tors in­cluded his age, his smok­ing and diet, high blood

pres­sure, a pre­vi­ous stroke and di­a­betes.

The ju­rors said there were no de­fects in his treat­ment by the health au­thor­i­ties or in the sys­tems used by the North­ern Ire- land Prison Ser­vice which con­trib­uted to his death.

Black used tobacco up un­til his death de­spite com­plain­ing of chest pains, doc­tors told the in­quest.

High blood choles­terol caused nar­rowed ar­ter­ies, a GP and a pathol­o­gist pre­vi­ously told the in­quest hear­ing in Ar­magh.

For 51 years, Black reg­u­larly smoked 25g of hand-rolled tobacco. He suf­fered a stroke 20 years be­fore his death.

The killer was con­victed in the same Ar­magh court­room in 2011 of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing and mur­der­ing nine-year-old Co Antrim school­girl Jen­nifer Cardy in 1981 and dump­ing her body in a dam.

Jen­nifer, from Ballinderry, was ab­ducted while she cy­cled to a friend’s house near her home.

None of Black’s fam­ily mem­bers could be traced by the Coro- ner’s Ser­vice and were not at the in­quest, coro­ner Paddy McGur­gan said.

His vic­tims’ rel­a­tives were also not in at­ten­dance.

Black was serv­ing a num­ber of life sen­tences when he passed away.

In May 1994, he was con­victed of kid­nap­ping, rap­ing and mur­der­ing three of his vic­tims.

Su­san Maxwell was 11 when ab­ducted in 1982 near the border be­tween Scot­land and Eng­land.

Her body was gagged and bound and she was found 250 miles away in Eng­land.

His next vic­tim was a girl aged five, Caroline Hogg, who was ab­ducted from Por­to­bello in Ed­in­burgh in 1983 and her body was found 300 miles away.

Sarah Harper (10) was ab­ducted in 1986 and found dead in the River Trent near Not­ting­ham.

Mon­ster: Robert Black

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