Robert Black: How many more?

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Claims that Grangemouth-born child killer Robert Black confessed to more murders are being investigated by police.

It comes days after the Northern Ireland Prison Service revealed his ashes had been scattered at sea after no-one came forward to claim his body.

Black, who was convicted of murdering four young girls across the UK, died in Maghaberry prison last month.

English detectives recently travelled to Northern Ireland to question another prisoner currently serving life for the murder of a toddler who claimed Black had told him he had committed several other murders.

The prisoner had told authorities at the jail of the alleged confession following the serial killer’s death.

Although Black was convicted of the four murders, he never admitted any of them.

The former van driver is suspected of at least 12 other unsolved child murders, including that of Genette Tate who disappeared in Devon in 1978 and her body has never been found.

Black ashes have been scattered at sea after no-one claimed his body.

There were concerns that his remains could have been returned for internment in a Falkirk area cemetery as he had been born and brought up in the district.

Black (68), was convicted of the murders of four young girls from across the UK in the 1980s, but he was suspected of being involved in further abduction, abuse and murder cases.

He died from natural causes in Maghaberry prison in Northern Ireland on January 12.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service said his ashes were scattered “without ceremony, beyond these shores”.

A spokesperson said this was done in the absence of anyone claiming his remains and “in accordance with the legal requirements for disposal”.

The former van driver was serving life for the murder of Jennifer Cardy (9) in County Antrim in 1981, although his conviction only came in 2011.

In 1984 he had been found guilty of the murder of Sarah Harper (10), of Leeds, Susan Maxwell (11), of Northumberland, and Caroline Hogg (5) of Edinburgh.

Black had been born to single mother Jesse Hunter Black, a Grangemouth factory worker who put him up for fostering within weeks.

He was sent to foster parents in Kinlochleven, near Glencoe, and on their death 11 years later he returned to the Falkirk area and was placed in Redding Children’s Home.

Aged 12, he was accused of trying to rape a young girl and moved to an all-boys’ home in Musselburgh.

In 1966, back working as a builder in Kinlochleven, he was reported for abusing the nine-year-old daughter of the family he lodged with and sent to Polmont Borstal.

On his release he moved to London and obtained his driving licence which allowed him to roam the country to target his innocent young victims.