Genette Tate disappearance: Father dies without case being solved
Bernard Heneriko kassano
May. 18, 2020
The father of a schoolgirl who disappeared while delivering newspapers nearly 42 years ago has died.
John Tate's 13-year-old daughter Genette went missing while riding her bike in a Devon village in August 1978.
Although it was one of the most high-profile police investigations of its time, no body was ever found and no-one was charged with her murder.
Mr Tate, 77, spent more than half his life trying to discover what had happened to Genette.
The Tate family lived in Aylesbeare, near Exeter, at the time of her disappearance.
In the last years of his life, Mr Tate believed that serial child-killer Robert Black was likely to be behind his daughter's disappearance.
Black, who was serving a whole-life sentence after being convicted of killing four young girls, died in January 2016 before he could be charged by police in the Genette Tate case.
Nonetheless, four months later police submitted a murder file against Black, who was originally from Grangemouth in east Stirlingshire, to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Image copyright PSNI Image caption Robert Black always denied any involvement in Genette's disappearance
At the time, a senior Devon and Cornwall Police source told the BBC that the force hoped for a "clear statement" from the CPS over whether it would have charged Black with Genette's murder had he been alive.
"It's the closest we can now get to justice and might offer some comfort to her family and the community," the source said.
The CPS never provided such a statement, saying only that it would not make a decision on the file because Black was dead.
Mr Tate and Genette's mother Sheila Cook were also shown the 500-page police dossier and, after reading it, Mr Tate said: "I am now convinced that Robert Black was the culprit.
"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."
Image caption Robert Black was convicted of murdering (clockwise from top left) Jennifer Cardy, Sarah Harper, Susan Maxwell and Caroline Hogg
However, in his last main interview, in 2018, Mr Tate said he was not entirely certain of Black's guilt.
"My life is coming to an end. I dearly want to know where Ginny is. Just to know that she has been found and given a Christian burial would be enough.
"There is no closure. We will probably never have closure, especially now the only suspect is dead.
"I am not 100% sure Black did it. But if he didn't do it, it means there is another killer still on the loose.
"I suppose I just don't want to accept she is dead. But I need proof that Black killed her. If we could just find her body that would give me the proof I need."
Mr Tate, who died in hospital in Manchester last month, had suffered a major stroke that left him very weak and needing care. He was also diabetic and had prostate cancer.
The Genette Tate case
19 August 1978: Genette disappears from Aylesbeare in Devon while delivering newspapers. Thousands of people turned out to search the countryside for her 1994: Robert Black given 10 life sentences for the abduction and murder of three young girls 1998: Black first interviewed in connection with the Genette Tate case, but denies involvement 2005: Devon and Cornwall Police interview Black again and send a file to the CPS 2008: The CPS decides there is insufficient evidence to charge Black 2011: Black convicted of a fourth child killing 2014: Police ask prosecutors to look at bringing charges against Black 2016: Murder file against Robert Black submitted to CPS
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