Could killer be linked to historic Donegal case?

The notorious serial child killer Robert Black (64) who last week was sentenced to 25 years for the murder of a nine-year-old Northern Ireland schoolgirl 30 years ago, has also been investigated for links with the disapperance of young Donegal school girl, Mary Boyle in 1977.

Little Mary Boyle, still remains the longest missing person on the Garda missing persons list. She disappeared from her grandmother’s home at Cashelard near Ballyshannon on the 18th March 1977. When last seen she was wearing a lilac coloured hand-knitted cardigan, brown jeans and black wellington boots. The subsequent search for Mary was the biggest ever undertaken in the state at the time and involved locals, gardai and members of the Defence Forces, based at Finner Camp. Her story has inked thousands of colum inches down the years, with multiple theories.

While gardai would not be drawn on the Black case Inspector Denis Joyce told the paper: “The investigation into the disappearance 0f Mary Boyle is continuing and all avenues of inquiry will continue to be investigated.” Paedophile Black, was already serving terms of imprisonment for the murders of Susan Maxwell, Caroline Hogg and Sarah Harper, when convicted at Belfast Crown Court last week with the murder of Jennifer Cardy. She was cycling to a friend’s house in Ballinderry, County Antrim, in 1981 when Black abducted her, while on a work trip to Ireland. He later dumped her body at a nearby beauty spot, in water close to the main Belfast to Dublin road near Hillsborough, County Antrim. He then escaped to the British mainkand. Last week Justice Ronald Weatherup told an emotionless Black: “Your crime was particularly serious. You subjected a vulnerable child to unpardonable terror and took away her life.” Even his defence counsel offer no mitigation. Police investigated up to 40 further cases in the 1990s to uncover whether there were links to Black. Twelve possible killings are understood to have been linked to him including the Boyle disappearance. Detectives in France are examining links between Black and the killings of four schoolgirls abducted near Paris in 1987, and a seven-year-old in Amsterdam in 1986.