Robert Black was one of those people that – even as a kid – you knew he would end up in jail at the very least.
Given up by his factory worker mom when he was just six months old, Robert Black ended up being raised by a foster family, Jack and Margaret Tulip, who were both in their fifties and had fostered several children already.
Robert Black was abused by both foster parents. His foster father Jack abused him before he died when Robert was five and his foster mother Margaret abused him for the next several years, until she died when Robert was 11. She would lock him in the house for hours on end or pull down his pants and smack him with a belt. Whenever he wet his bed, which he did on a regular basis, he would wake up to a beating.
Known to the neighborhood kids as ‘Smelly Robbie Tulip’, he was known as an odd kid, who liked to play with children younger than himself that he could control. Robert Black frequently demonstrated random acts of violence towards those weaker than himself, attacking handicapped children often. Several of his acquaintances remember a specific instance where Robert beat the crap out of a smaller kid with an artificial leg, jumping on, hitting and kicking the other kid for absolutely no reason.
According to interviews done with Robert Black in later years, Robert started to develop a fascination with sticking things in his own anus at around the age of 8. In 1990, once Robert Black had been arrested, police serving a search warrant on his residence found incredible photographs of himself with a wide variety of things in his rectum. A wine bottle, a table leg, a telephone…all in his butt. When asked by authorities about the photos, Robert Black explained that he just wanted to see how much could fit up in there.
He was sexually odd throughout his entire young life, really. Fascinated with looking up girls’ skirts, playing with feces, and sticking things up his own butt, it was just a matter of time before Robert Black took the next step and engaged in criminal behavior.
Robert Black was 12 when he engaged several other boys at an orphanage to try to rape an 11-year-old girl. She was pushed down, her underwear stripped, and her skirt torn, but the boys were unable to perform the actual act, although not for a lack of trying.
This act got Robert sent to an all-boy group home, where he was molested by an older man.
You’re probably getting the picture of what Robert Black turned out to be. All this abuse and twisted behavior wasn’t going to result in anything that could be considered normal. It didn’t. Robert Black turned out to be one of the worst people that humanity had to offer.
When Robert Black was 15, he got out of group homes and was able to get a job. He found a job doing deliveries and rented a room in a boys’ home. While he was doing his deliveries, he would look for little girls, sit down and talk to them. He’d try to touch her, and in his own words, “Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I didn’t.” He estimated that he had molested between 35 and 40 girls before he was caught when he was 17.
17-year-old Robert Black approached a 7-year-old girl in a local park in the year 1964 and asked her if she would like to pet some kittens. The little girl, not knowing any better, went along with him to a deserted building. Once they were there, Robert turned on the little girl, strangling and choking her until she was unconscious, after which he sexually assaulted her.
Once he was done, he left her, unconscious, in the building. She was found later wandering the streets, dazed, bleeding and crying.
Robert Black was arrested, tried, and admonished – basically told not to do that again.
He did it again in 1966, to the 9-year-old daughter of his landlord. The police weren’t notified, Robert was just kicked out of the building.
Moving to the next town, in 1967, Robert Black molested yet another little girl, the 7-year-old daughter of another couple who rented him a room. This time the police were called, Robert Black was arrested and charged, and in March of 1967 Robert Black was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault and sentenced to a year in prison.
Once he was released, Robert Black moved to a bigger town – London – where he could get away from his reputation. He worked as a photographer, as a lifeguard and as a delivery driver – using each position to get as close to little girls as he could.
On a hot summer day in July of 1982, an 11-year-old named Susan Maxwell rode her bike to go play tennis with her friend. She was found two weeks later in a ditch. She was only able to be identified by her dental records, because the hot sun had accelerated the decomposition. The only clue as to what happened to her was that her pants had been removed. Authorities pressed hard to find the killer, but there was nothing they could do…
…until a year later, when on the eighth of July of 1983, five-year-old Caroline Hogg disappeared after her mother gave into her daughter’s begging to go outside and play at a playground for a few minutes before bedtime. This time someone had seen the little girl holding hands with “a scruffy man” as he led her to a local amusement park.
Caroline Hogg’s body was found on the 18th of July, 300 miles from where she had been taken, and within 24 miles of where Susan Maxwell’s body had been found. As with Susan, Caroline’s body had decomposed in the hot summer sun, but this time the girl was completely naked. Again, the authorities searched diligently for whoever had done this, utilizing newer techniques with computers to sift through the data…but no arrests were made.
In March of 1986, ten-year-old Sarah Harper disappeared while he was on an errand, going to the store for her mother. One the 19th of April, 1986, her body was found by a man walking his dog who saw her body floating in the river. Sarah had been violently raped – the injuries to her genitals were horrific – and had been thrown into the river while she was still alive.
Four years later, Robert Black would finally be caught.
On the 14th of July in 1990, six-year-old Mandy Wilson was walking down her street to go play with another neighbor girl, when a neighbor out mowing his lawn saw her approach a van. The van had its passenger door open, and Robert Black was standing there.
In a split second, according to the neighbor who witnessed the event, Robert grabbed the little girl and stuffed her into his van, before jumping into the van himself and taking off.
This time, Robert Black had made a mistake. This time there was a witness with the presence of mind to call the police with the license plate number and description of the van.
Police didn’t have to chase Robert. He drove by the neighbor’s house again, and the neighbor pointed at the van and shouted, “That’s him!” An officer ran into the street and stopped the van, with Robert Black and little Mandy Wilson inside.
Mandy had her hands tied behind her back, had her mouth covered with Elastoplast and had been shoved into a sleeping-bag. She had already been sexually assaulted, and according to later interviews with Robert Black, he had plans for her.
â€œWhen I’d done the delivery in Galashiels down the road, I would have assaulted Mandy sexually. I would have probably stripped her from the waist down, but I would have untied her and probably took the plaster off her mouth. And if she called out when I was assaulting her, then I might have put the gag back on.â€
Arrested and tried with overwhelming evidence against him, Robert Black pled guilty to kidnapping and molestation and was sentenced to life in prison. Through detective work and repeated interviews with Robert, authorities pieced together his whereabouts for the last several years and uncovered a trail of molestation, sexual assault and murder. These new clues and pieces of evidence led to more charges and another trial for Robert Black.
Evidence was given to the jury to mull over.
All the victims were young girls.
All were bare-legged, wearing white ankle socks.
All were taken from a public place.
Susan and Caroline were both abducted on hot July days.
All were abducted in a vehicle of some sort; Susan and Sarah were both abducted in Transit-type vans.
After abduction, all the victims were taken some miles south.
All the bodies showed signs of a sexual motive for the attack: Each victim was obviously taken for sexual gratification. Susan Maxwell’s pants were removed, Caroline Hogg was naked and Sarah Harper was found to have suffered injury.
None suffered any gross bruising or broken bones.
Both Susan and Sarah had been unclothed and then reclothed; all three victims had their shoes removed.
No real attempt was made to hide the bodies.
All the bodies had been dumped in a 26-mile area.
The jury took three days to return a guilty verdict for all charges. Robert Black was sentenced to life in prison for all the charges.
As of the 26th of September, recent developments and new clues mean that Robert Black will possibly face charges of the kidnapping and murder of 13-year-old Genette Tate. Genette was snatched off the road while she was doing her newspaper route on the 19th of August, 1978.
She was seen as she was pulled into a red Transit van by someone who then drove off.
Robert Black, of course, was a delivery driver who drove a red Transit van.
Other evidence brought to light recently means that Black could also be charged with the 1981 murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy.
While Robert Black will never have any worse punishment, at least the families of the children involved can possibly find some peace from a conviction of the man responsible.