Cardy parents prayed for daughter's killer Black

The parents of a murdered child have said they will not allow her killer to embitter them and steal their lives.

Serial child killer Robert Black was found guilty on Thursday of abducting and murdering nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy in August 1981.

At the end of the six-week trial, Jennifer's parents, Andrew and Patricia told of their relief that it was over.

They revealed that they prayed for their daughter's killer, who had murdered three other little girls.

Speaking to BBC Evening Extra's Seamus McKee, Pat Cardy said Jennifer was "just one of those little girls who loved life".

"She had a lovely imagination. My own friends would say to me, 'Jennifer just come in and lightens our house'.

"She was full of fun and just loved her family. But Jennifer had a deeper side to her too.

'Rap the floor'

"One of the lovely things about Jennifer was how much she wanted to know about Heaven. That would be one of the things I would always remember. I think that is one of the lovely, weepy things, I will remember."

Andrew Cardy said: "I used to come home late at night and when I would come through the door the children were normally in bed because I had to work late because I was poor.

"We had no carpet upstairs and I heard her rap the floor. She used to rap the floor for me to come up and say good night to her.

"She had a very good friend and her friend's mother told me her little girl loved to come to our house.

"Then she explained why, because they could write on the floor."

Mrs Cardy said that shortly before Jennifer disappeared, she had been preparing to go to a Child Evangelism Fellowship camp.

She said that a few days beforehand, Jennifer decided to visit her friend.

"The last thing she did before she left, she was holding Victoria, her baby sister, she came over with this funny little jibe.

'Laughing'

"She said, 'Mummy, I am going to give her to you now because she's becoming a big fat lump'.

"I still remember laughing at that. That was the last (time) I saw Jennifer. She left just a few minutes later."

The Cardys recalled that, unusually for them, they had both been depressed for a period before their daughter was abducted, "as though God was preparing them for something".

"We (felt) the Lord have gave us some fore-knowledge we would go through some sort of problem," Mr Cardy said.

He said Robert Black had "never once" acknowledged their presence in court during the trial.

"He never looked at us, never.

"He was just so cold and unemotional. All he did was sit and listen and drink water. On occasion he dropped his head, he wasn't even embarrassed.

"When we lost Jennifer, it was awful but over the last six weeks, it was like losing Jennifer each and every day."

Mrs Cardy said: "I have dreaded finding the culprit and going through a trial...

"But the fear of seeing the face of the man who murdered her, the fear of seeing the face that she last saw, the fear of hearing the exacts of what happened to her, that was painful.

"I think Andrew and myself came through it and we would easily have backed off.

"When we heard the interviews and his own voice saying what he had done or what he had fantasised, to do to little children, the things that were found in his van as he travelled around on the look-out... "

Mr Cardy said they had been warned by police what to expect.

"Some of the things we heard would not have been even in our imagination," he said.

He said he would not allow himself to be haunted by the actions of Robert Black.

"I've said many times that one of the lovely promises in the scriptures is that the Lord gives a peace in this world that passes understanding," he said.

"We have to take God at his word... We certainly could wallow in self pity, we could hibernate."

He said they had continued to go to church and tried to live as normally as possible.

"I will not allow Robert Black's crimes to haunt me. I can't erase them from my memory and what he wanted to do to little girls and how he did it to little girls," he said.

"Certainly those thoughts will never leave me, but I'm not going to allow them to haunt me."

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