Genette Tate’s father told ‘case is closed’.
PUBLISHED: 13:07 24 October 2016 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 October 2016
Police have told Genette Tate’s father his daughter’s unsolved case is closed after 38 years of investigation
One of Britain’s longest running crime mysteries is over – even though it remains unsolved after nearly four decades.
For 38 years the family of Genette Tate have prayed that their daughter’s killer would face justice.
But their hopes suffered the biggest setback earlier this year when serial child killer Robert Black collapsed and died in an Irish jail.
He was the ‘only suspect’ in what has been dubbed Britain’s longest missing person inquiry.
For the body of 13 year old Genette has never been found.
And with Scotsman Black dead, Devon and Cornwall Police have effectively ended the inquiry.
Detectives have visited Genette’s parents armed with a 500 page report which points to their belief that Black was the man responsible for Genette’s kidnap and murder in Devon in August 1978.
Genette’s father John said the briefing contained new information gathered by experienced former officers – some of whom came out of retirement - to try and nail the man who snuffed out the life of the elfin faced teenager.
Now Genette’s cancer hit dad John Tate, 74, said: “I am now convinced that Robert Black was the culprit.”
The new information included a ‘jail confession’ by Black to a member of staff.
In a conversation, Black said he had visited Aylesbeare – the member of staff had not heard of it and replied ‘Aylesbeare?’. But Black stressed it was “Aylesbeare.”
Aylesbeare is a village near Exeter airport in east Devon where Genette lived with her family – and from where she was kidnapped one sunny Saturday afternoon in August 1978.
Police have now revealed to the Tates the other facts which helped convince them that Black was the sexually motivated killer whose targets were young girls.
Detectives were just days from charging him with Genette’s murder when he dropped down dead in prison in Northern Ireland where he was serving another life sentence for the murder of Jennifer Cardy – another young girl killed as she was out riding her bike.
The similarities between the Cardy and Tate crimes were striking – and Black was already serving life terms for murdering three other young girls around Britain.
John Tate said: “The police told me that the reason they could not charge Black earlier was that they had to rule out more than 300 other suspects from the inquiry. That took a great deal of time.
“They used a scoring system criteria to show how Black was the culprit. Other important suspects were ruled out using this criteria.
“Black had committed the same sort of offences against young girls.
They also knew he was in the immediate area driving a red van.
“The police believe they know the way he came in and out of Aylesbeare that day.
“They said there were 15 different elements associated with his past crimes.
“Eight of those surrounded the offence – young girls, riding bikes, the location, even down to victims wearing white ankle socks.
“Seven of the criteria cannot be analysed because they were to do with the victims’ bodies and obviously Genette’s body has never been found.
“There was also this admission about knowing Aylesbeare. The jail staff worker thought he said Alyesbury but Black repeated Aylesbeare and he knew that area.
“Black always did weekend runs as a delivery driver because he had no family like other workers.”
Mr Tate was told that serial child killers were rare back in the days of the 50s, 60s and 70s.
He said: “They were so rare. There were only a couple that remain unsolved – one was Genette and the other was April Fabb from the other side of the country. And police think Black was probably responsible for her murder too – another young girl out of her bike.
“The police have told me that they cannot take the inquiry any further after nearly 40 years of not knowing.
“If Genette’s body was found then that may help. But after all this time what would be left, and what clues would still be there?
“The police would obviously look at it again if someone came forward with specific information, like where she was buried.”
Police believe her body may have been dumped or buried in an area many miles away from the country lane where she was snatched.
Black’s habit was to drive his victims to an area dubbed the ‘Midlands triangle’, some distance from where he also snatched and killed girls in the north of England and the Scottish Borders.
John Tate, who lives in Manchester, said: “Black was seen at Exeter airport on the day Genette was taken.
“He was watching some children there at the time. Their mother was there and thought it was odd and creepy.
“She knows exactly when she was there because she was waiting for a holiday flight to land. She only came forward some years later in the 80s.
“The police did a trail of his petrol receipts when he was working as a delivery driver. Those receipts showed he was buying petrol to come and in and out of Devon.”
A police source said: “This was a big jigsaw puzzle with many pieces and we were so close to playing our part in getting Britain’s worst serial killer into court over one of the country’s biggest mysteries.
“There is nothing more we can do now the only suspect is dead. A lot of our people have been left devastated that we weren’t able to get justice for the Tate family.
“Hopefully they can see how much work has been put into this and can also share our belief that Black was responsible for her murder.
“We still don’t know where Genette is. It would be nice to find her one day so her family can get some sort of closure after nearly 40 years.”
A Devon and Cornwall police spokesman said: “Officers have kept the family of Genette Tate informed throughout this long and complex case.
“We have no further comment to make on this matter at this time.”
John Tate said: “I feel very emotional about it.
“I would like to find her body after 38 years of searching for answers and put it to rest.
“But I am now confident Robert Black was the culprit.
”But what do I do now? I have spent all these years looking all over the place for her. I am broke and still don’t have any definitive answers.
“I am lost now. This has dominated my life and I end up crying about it.”