I hope you guys are as excited for this post as I was when the idea popped in my head.
I love murder mysteries, cold disappearance cases, conspiracy theories – the lot. I’ve read several cases and thought, why not condense and share the cases. Both because it’s super intriguing and I suppose at the same time, I’m bringing light/attention to a case you may never have heard of.
Without further ado.
The disappearance of Genette Tate.
A little background to kick start this case. Genette Louise Tate was born in 1965 in Aylesbeare, Devon, England; three miles south-east of Exeter and close to the M5 motorway. Like many children at the time, Tate got involved in the local paper round.
On Saturday 19th August in 1978, Tate went on her usual paper round at around 3:45 pm, delivering the evening paper The Exeter Express and Echo to the houses that followed Withen Lane. It’s apparent by her two friends that she’d stopped to talk to them for a few minutes before continuing her round on her bike.
Several moments later, the same friends walked around the corner, only to discover her bike on the ground, the wheels still spinning and with no sign of Genette anywhere in sight. I found this is a chilling, albeit simple discovery. The apprehension surrounding the wheels still spinning raises much concern. Shows just how close and present her friends were, moments before she disappeared.
The search for Genette became a huge operation – much like the present case of Madeline McCann. Becoming the biggest missing person search in Britain during the seventies and the longest running inquiry in Britain. Police officers, Royal Marines and over 7000 volunteers gathered and collectively searched for the 13-year-old. Searching the woodland near her home, ponds, wells and every corner they could endeavour in. There was nothing of significance.
Weeks went by. Months followed. No trace of Tate, no item of clothing nor a trace of hair. The case was cold. Nothing was discovered and hence, no arrests were made.
The police had taken 3,500 statements. 12,000 exhibits; stored at the headquarters of the Devon and Cornwall constabulary, in Exeter.
There was one name that repeatedly came up. Stalking the files. Mentioned again and again. The name, Robert Black.
In 1981, a few short years after the disappearance of Tate, Black was convicted for the killing of Jennifer Cardy. 9-year-old Cardy was cycling on her bike from her home in Northern Ireland to meet her friend. Her bike was discovered abandoned close to her home. Now, I’m sure it’s not just me who sees the vague yet significant similarities here. It’s known with serial killers that they’ll often repeat their methods, also known as hunting patterns.
Those leading the case had asked prosecutors to look into raising charges against serial child killer Robert Black. There was never sufficient evidence to charge Black, not for the abduction/murder to Genette Tate anyway. However, police did continue to believe that Black had committed more murders than the four he was originally convicted for. So suspicions were raised, and rightfully so I think. With his reputation and previous track record, in addition to the fact that his name kept popping up, it seems to be the right move to take on this lead. There was also no other lead, so I guess it was almost inevitable that they would have followed this.
There was never really any evidence, almost at all.
In interviews, he’d gone into chilling detail of how he’d abduct and torture his other victims.
“I might park up for a couple of minutes, you know, watching her.
“I might see a girl on her own some place and say, ‘Could I, should I, will I?’
“I’d be driving along. I’d see a young girl, I’d get out and talk to her and try to persuade her to get into the van and take her somewhere quiet.”
In 1994, Robert Black was given ten life sentences for the abduction and murder of three young girls; Jennifer Cardy, Susan Maxwell and Caroline Hogg. There are chilling details of what happened to these other victims. It brings goosebumps to my skin and genuinely makes me feel sick to think about.
It was not until 1998 that Black was first interviewed in connection with the Genette Case, but he continued to deny involvement. After re-interviewing Black, again in 2005, and in 2008 the CPS decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him with Tates murder.
Police were apparently close to charging him, until he died in Prison in January 2016.
The family of young Genette Tate never got the justice they truly deserved, nor the answers they deserved. With Black dead, the case is closed.
Genette’s body has not been found since.
I truly wonder what really happened to her and where she is.
I found it incredibly fascinating to read and research about this case, and I think I’m going to make this a regular thing on my blog. I’m keen to start on other cases with more of a mystery. I hope you liked this introduction to mystery cases, and if you did and would like more PLS let me know so I know to continue with them.