Northern Ireland

Coroner expresses surprise medical notes of serial killer cannot be found

Robert Black
Robert Black

A CORONER has said it is "truly unbelievable" that the GP notes of serial killer Robert Black cannot be traced ahead of an inquest into his death.

At a preliminary hearing in Belfast today, it also emerged that efforts to locate relatives of Scottish-born Black had been unsuccessful.

The 68-year-old, who was convicted of four child murders but suspected of many more, died of heart disease in Maghaberry prison two years ago.

Among his victims was nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy, from Ballinderry in Co Antrim who was murdered in 1981.

Coroner Patrick McGurgan inquired about the medical evidence linked to the case.

"It is truly unbelievable there are no GP notes are in existence," he told lawyers.

"We are drawing somewhat of a blank."

At a previous hearing, Mr McGurgan suggested the legal team who represented Black in trials prior to his death might be able to help trace relatives.

"I think it's important that the family are given every opportunity to participate fully in this inquest," he had said.

However, it emerged no next-of-kin could be found.

Black was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea after prison authorities in Northern Ireland revealed no-one wanted his remains.

The coroner confirmed the inquest will begin on December 3 and will take place in Armagh as no courts are available in Belfast that week due to the Ballymurphy inquests.