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Robert Black Have you every wondered what makes one person attracted to another person? For example; if your father loves brunettes, would you also love brunettes? Or maybe it is something to do with how this particular person was abused as a child? Well, this later trait was something insinuated in this 60 minute documentary made in 2012, starring my good buddy, David Wilson.

Fear the Stranger

In this episode of 'Killers Behind Bars', criminal psychologist, Professor David Wilson, yet again tries to do what he does best - figure out if a murderer has murdered before. This time though, it's none other than Scottish paedophile / serial killer, Robert Black.

Now for David to be able accomplish this task, he travels to Stow, Glasgow, Peterborough, Devon, and Norfolk, and interviews a number of people who have prior knowledge of Roberts's crimes. People such as: Former Detectives, Andrew Watt and Morris Morson; Author, Tim Tate; reluctant victim, Teresa Thornhill; victims father, John Tate; plus Professor Craig Johnston.

What now follows is a basic run down of how this show plays out:

Who is Robert Black?   He was born on the 21st of April, 1947, in Grangemouth, Scotland. His mother, Jessie, would not name his father, and she put Robert in foster-care for the majority of his troubled childhood.

When did Robert start to show signs of his perversion?   Robert became strangely sexually active when he was a child, and was even incarcerated for numerous sexual offences that he committed on females who were younger than himself.

Who has Robert killed?   He was convinced for sexually molesting and killing the following four girls.
  • 1981: Nine year old Irish girl, Jennifer Cardy, whose body was found six days after her disappearance at McKee's Dam.
  • 1982: Eleven year old Cornish girl, Susan Maxwell, whose body was found 250 away from where she lived.
  • 1983: Five year old Scottish girl, Caroline Hogg, whose body was found ten days after he was abducted in a ditch in Leicestershire, 300 miles away.
  • 1986: A ten year old girl from Leeds, Sarah Harper, whose body was discovered one month later in the River Trent, Nottingham.
  • Black was also convicted of the kidnap of a fifth girl and the attempted kidnap of a sixth.

What is Blacks Modus Operandi?   (1) All of his victims were abducted in remote locations, were young, and wore white ankle socks. (2) He quickly threw his victims into his van, bound them, abused them, killed them, and then dumped their dead bodies' miles away from where they lived.

Can David associate any prior cases that haven't been resolved to Robert?   Well, in the case of thirteen year old April Fabb, who was abducted in Norfolk in 1969 - no - the evidence David discovers is merely circumstantial at best. Whereas in the case of thirteen year old Genette Tate, who was abducted in Devon in 1978 - yes - it can be proven that Robert was nearby at the time.

Now unlike the previous two episodes of 'Killers Behind Bars' (click here and here for the appropriate reviews), with this one, I personally am venturing into very familiar territory myself - a case which is impeded by the passage of time.

Well, as you may know, being a bit of a Jack the Ripper buff (click here for my Jack section), I can understand how the ticking of the old clock can put a big dent into solving past crimes. For example, take the case of poor April Fabb - it's not really that easy for any new evidence to come to light now, due to the fact that the witnesses, the murder-sites, and the information at hand, have all dwindled through the ages. Also, to add insult to injury, there is an additional gut instinct which implies that Robert Black killed this poor girl all those years ago too.

Still, what can you do about it, huh? Nothing much I suppose. Except learn from it. Und use it to try to capture this fiend by other means. Like David did.  

Professor David Wilson

Oh! And do you know what else I have learnt from watching this show? Here, check this out: (1) The tag-line for this program categorically states that serial-killers have committed many more crimes than they have been convicted for. Personally speaking, I feel that this statement is very true. This show illustrates that the one thing a human being can never escape from, is their own 'nature'. (2) At the tail-end of each episode, David presents his findings to his class, and tries to prove to them the supposed guilt of each of the murderers. Now from my own jaded perception, within the format of this show, this segment proves nothing more than a re-clarification of events, as well as a substantiation of David's own methodology. OK, I understand that in the 'real world' people sit down and brainstorm 'theories', just to get another take on things. However, this is a well-edited and well-presented program, and does not really need this section for the sake of definition. (3) David is a great host, and in many ways he reminds me of the 'Dale Winton' of criminal investigations. He's energetic. He's compassionate. He's cleaver. And he is very methodical and animated in conveying his point of view to the camera and other specialists alike. (4) There's an underlining message that flows throughout each of the episodes of 'Killers Behind Bars' - some people are bloody nuts, and investigations are as procedural as the culprits themselves. Come one, let's face it, sometimes the rules apply, and sometimes the rules don't. Though the fact of the matter remains that people will always be at hand to defend what is right and what is wrong. (5) I have heard some cynic's state on the internet that this show is nothing more than a platform for David Wilson to showcase his  wares. Now to those people I would just like to say - f*ck you. This program is for the dead who cry out for some justice. This program illustrates that crime must never pay. And this program is a showcase for procedural methods and human nature being behavioural by design. Got it!!!   

Robert Black Vicims

Ooops! Got a bit passionate at the end there, didn't I? Nonetheless, I hope to see this program come back on the air soon, because it entertained me, it informed me, and it touched upon a subject matter that I find very-very intriguing indeed.

Bless you David Wilson. You're a gem.


KILLERS BEHIND BARS - ROBERT BLACK KILLERS BEHIND BARS - ROBERT BLACK Reviewed by David Andrews on July 04, 2012 Rating: 5
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