Series 1 - Episode 3: Robert Black

Killers Behind Bars

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Professor David Wilson investigates convicted child killer Robert Black. In 2011, Black was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a nine-year-old girl. Through profiling and interviews with detectives involved in the cases, Professor Wilson builds up a theory that Robert Black may have killed more children, and specifically links him to two of the UK's longest-running unsolved cases.

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  • Lord Denning

    1 year ago

    Lord Denning

    Joanna Kings: I understand the frustration of the police and in particular the C.I.D and M.I.U. I am sure your father did everything possible (let us not forget the monetary restraints placed upon Police Forces Nationwide) to resolve the Jenette Tate case. It is wonderful to see how proud you are of him: I don't think we realise how much the police have to undertake. I have members of my family working in C.I.D and M.I.U and I too have postgraduate certificates in Law and Practice. I do not feel David Wilson is performing in an inappropriate manner. Many of you are forgetting that many of his postgraduate students are serving police officers and in Law, it is no mean feat to get to any postgraduate level. I feel Professor Wilson makes sense but is ready to admit it is his theory. Who actually knows if any of his research has led to Cold Cases being re-assessed? For 'Criminologist', this program is not intended to be academic but to appeal to a generic social demographic. Thus, the man on the Clapham Omnibus. I find his theories interesting for a normal television production. This program is not billed as a 'must see show' but explains many theories; educates those who are not experts like you and for the sake of Channel 5: entertains. That is what television programs like this are about (I mean no disrespect to the families involved by saying this and I am certain that their informed consent has been given). I feel it is dealt with in a sensitive manner and does provide food for thought. Especially for many who are not Criminologists. I understand what an M.O. is through my work but if nothing else, highlights the need for the Government to increase money invested into the Police. A common theme that I have picked up on is the lack of communication through different agencies and authorities. This was demonstrated in the Crossbow Killer. My thoughts and prayers are with the families involved and give me more awareness as a parent on what I inherently know: just how vulnerable we all are.

  • Lee Staunton

    1 year ago

    Lee Staunton

    Why they made this into a programme I will never know. No evidence found and his conclusions have already been made by police who investigated the case. Guesswork and theories will not get you a conviction so instead of wasting tax payers money I think they should close the case.

  • Obvious professor is Obvious

    over 1 year ago

    Obvious professor is Obvious

    This guy is on all UK crime shows, I wish they would stop using him, he never says anything insightful on them, he just says obvious things. The problem with shows like this, where the presenter investigates like "dark minds" is they never find anything useful out, they tend to just further sensationalize the crimes and say obvious things like: " X wants power over women" " X wants to shock" Blah blah blah. In theory this show could work if it started with evidence and built a show around it. Anyway, I'm just echoing what everyone else says.

  • redrum

    over 1 year ago

    redrum

    Strange program. Professors talking about evidence, theories, conclusions, but there was no new evidence presented. It's just pseudoscience. David Wilson presenting his opinions to his students in a biased way with a hands up vote at the end. Not very impressive.

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  • S Hart

    over 1 year ago

    S Hart

    I don't percieve these people as sick...thier minds have been warped, and they have made choices of thier own free will to walk down the paths that they have gone, they have been cold calculating and unremorseful in thier actions...they have shown no mercy to thier victims...they are perfectly sane they know what they are doing. they plotted and planned in the way they lured the vulnerable..I cannot defend thier actions or undermine what they have done by saying they had a mental sickness...they had an addiction to kill like some have for drugs or alcohol..I also believe what starts with the mind, what you entertain within it often for some comes out in actions.

  • nat

    over 1 year ago

    nat

    some people are unreal. we are so quick to ump to conclusions. these people have an illness that if left untreated is the inevitable.

  • devon

    over 1 year ago

    devon

    i have just watched this and looked at some of the comments and some are quite shocking. people are so quick and easy to be bias but do people not remember that these people are ill and genuinely have mental problems. i am not saying it is right or i agree but not everyone thinks the way we do. sorry but sometimes it has got to be said

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  • somerset

    over 1 year ago

    somerset

    This brings memories back of being maybe 9 or 10 in Somerset near the a303...late 80s. There was myself and my friend and sister all the same age. We were on our bikes about a mile from the village. We noticed a white van in a farm lane and were being silly thinking that he was following us. On our way home this van stopped next to us and tried to pull my friend into the van. She was blonde and very pretty. What was strange was that my mum appeared in her car, shouted at the man and drove off. My mum said she just had a horrible feeling that we were in trouble. I only remember that the man had a beard. Weird....

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  • S Hart

    over 1 year ago

    S Hart

    Hi Joanne that must have been very frightening for you, From reading your description of the location and that he drove a white postal van it does make you wonder if it was him. If it was, you very very lucky. I just hope that some of the cases will be re-opened and looked into again and that the police will review the witness accounts given and any other circumstantial evidence that has been collated from this series.

  • Joanne Spence

    over 1 year ago

    Joanne Spence

    I escaped a horrible man when i was younger,i can't remember how old i was buti was cycling home from my local town and thi white van was driving slowly towards me, i began cycling faster as i felt scared, i had a huge hill ahead so got halfway up and turned round to see the van turning in a field then it came past me really slow again.i had to get to my farm rd which was the bottom of the hill and the van was waiting there so i was scared and went down another road off the hill, i got to a bridge ad the van was coming again, i was terrified and don't know how i managed but threw my bike off the bridge and i jumped (almost broke my ankle) i grabbed a big rock and hid under the bridge with my bike. The van thenstopped and the guy was shining a torch or big flashlight into the field adjacent , my heart felt like it was going o jump out my throat. I would have been 8yrs old when this guy locked up and think i was a bit older but unsure.the van was like a postmans van but white and this happened in Aberdeenshire area.I stupidly didn't tell my parents as i was worried i wouldn't be able to go on my bike anymore

  • maxine johnson

    almost 2 years ago

    maxine johnson

    Hope they do a DNA .

  • Jo

    almost 2 years ago

    Jo

    jay patel MPHARM, the fact you cannot spell encourages me to believe that you are probably a brain washed daily mail reader with your archaic 'throw away the key' theory. Go and educate yourself, do some research and come up with an argument backed with evidence and I would be more than happy to partake in a decent discussion/debate. You are just a brain washed person with a sheep like mentality of going along with what the main stream has told you.

  • Alexander

    almost 2 years ago

    Alexander

    Sure Wilson tries to be sensational for the sake of good TV. He just tries to do the best he can with the evidence or lack of, all anyone can do. Black is the prime suspect for many unsolved abductions and rightly so. Time to change laws and make the likes of Black do real hard prison time (that he deserves anyway). His only way back to ordinary stir would be to talk about the unsolved cases.

  • Cereal Killer

    almost 2 years ago

    Cereal Killer

    @jay patel "cereal" killers LOL

  • john

    almost 2 years ago

    john

    i would like to know if Prof wilson reads these comments and is he going to reply ???

  • Seriously Concerened

    almost 2 years ago

    Seriously Concerened

    I too would like to thank Channel 5, (and its professional moderators) for providing this anonymous moderated forum to allow us to discuss these serious concerns. In reply to Tom Tom: In my opinion this controversial national TV program has raised serious questions about whether or not the deception reported by Cerial Miller (see below) should be investigated as an academic fraud. This is a serious question because Ii a student did such a thing in their coursework they would likely be hauled in front of an academic misconduct committee. The other issues raised by Ethics (see also below) do raise questions about whether or not Professor Wilson's empirical research has been approved by his academic ethics committee (and if so why?), whether this show was approved by his university and most importantly whether the involvement of vulnerable students being used to affirm the questionable condemnation of living named human beings on national TV (students depend upon their professors) was approved?

  • jay patel MPHARM

    almost 2 years ago

    jay patel MPHARM

    there is no excuse for killing a person brutally, its sick behaviour which has no justification, no morals and doesnt warrent harming others just because they have hard a hard time. cereal killers are just evil people and u should not justify their actions as its multiple cases of disgusting actions. one off cases may be justifyable such as insanity provication etc.... but most cereal killers are weak individuals who prey on the week. lock them up and infact they should inflict death penalties as they are generally not remorseful and often brg about their actions so why shud i pay for a killer to live behind bars with three meals a day and a roof on his head.

  • Tom Green

    almost 2 years ago

    Tom Green

    It is, to be honest, hard to see what this programme has added to the list of the Scottish officer, and the post sentence interviews previously published. As entertainment, I guess fin, but academia has not really raised its head to shout anything new at all.

  • Ethics

    almost 2 years ago

    Ethics

    Jo Firstly, I would like to commend Channel 5 for providing this moderated forum for anonymous commentary on this controversial and questionable television program. I actually disagree with your point about Professor Wilson using his own students in order to bolster highly speculative assumptions about the guilt of imprisoned human beings for murders that they have not been convicted for. Firstly, the most basic psychology lessons teach us about bias in power relations and the group effect. These students may not be happy to see that they have been involved in voting for the condemnation of men without fair trial or anything resembling the necessary evidence required to secure a criminal conviction. We know this to be true because (at least from what my own current research shows) the police have never prosecuted anyone based on Professor Wilson's so called "My Theory". Using students in this way seems to me to be quite unethical and smacks of desperation underpinned by gross lack of judgement. I'd very much like to engage on further debate on this issue here on this site with Professor Wilson, his students and anyone else who thinks this is an important issue. A Channel 5 discussion TV panel on this controversial issue would be one way to widen the debate and perhaps further improve research and broadcasting ethics.

  • Jo

    almost 2 years ago

    Jo

    Ethics.. I completely agree. I have met Professor Wilson and he seemed an intelligent man with a vast amount of knowledge and insight. I eargerly anticipated his series, however I sadly have to agree that it seems to be commercialised and lacking in evidence. It is wild guess work, I think if it was made clearer that it was merely criminological speculation it was be okay. But it seems to suggest that the conclusions are almost certain, I suppose it is redeemed slightly when he goes back to Birmingham university to ask his students, but not really enough to counter his certaintly during the show. It is a great shame as it is a subject that is fascinating, and deserves to be on channel 4 with some proper investigation! (I must add though that I am a supporter of the Howard League!)

  • Ethics

    almost 2 years ago

    Ethics

    Jo I believe, as so many others are saying here on the Channel 5 moderated feedback site that serial killers are used in this show for public consumption and entertainment. I think that is fair comment. These prisoners can be accused of having killed people that they may not have killed on television on the basis of one man's so called "theory" - although he never tells us what it is, other than that serial killers have probably killed more people than convicted of killing. Maybe he has the theory in one of his 15 books on serial killers? Who knows? Maybe that's deemed ethical by the British Society of Criminology, National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders and the Howard league for Penal Reform and the British Psychological Society, Prison Reform Trust, Home Office and any university involved in funding this research because serial killers are not considered to be living human beings with ethical rights? I don't know but something seems to me at least to be amiss here. It is a fact that money is being made by accusing named individuals of having murdered people that hey may not have murdered when those accused individuals cannot respond to those accusations. Presumably this research and the show were passed by an academic ethics committee?

  • jo

    almost 2 years ago

    jo

    I feel so terribly sorry for all these people who resort to such disgusting behaviour. They are such lost souls. They have very rarely had normal upbrinings and when you analyse their past you can clearly see why they are like they are. Always the same story; neglect, in care, and also early warning signs. He should have been put into intense rehabilitation at under 10 when he was first suspected of abusing the baby, and we would perhaps not have the situation now that he has killed so many. There is an element of choice in it, some choose to make the most of their terrible situations but I think it is an incredibly difficult feat. My heart goes out to them, even though they have committed such hugely vile crimes.

  • Lil'fan

    almost 2 years ago

    Lil'fan

    Criminologist: You make perfectly valid points. The thing is though that serial killers have not paid any respect to the ethical rights of their victims and so don't you think they don't then deserve to be given respec from criminologists? Serial killers entertain us in the movies and in the tabloides and in tv shows. I bet Professor Wilson is assisitng many police forces in the world with his brillient theories and that as the worldsgreatest criminologist in britain and a former prison guvnor that his has solved many unsloved murders. I'm not sure why he dod not tell us how many crimes he has solved or how many police forces he is and has worked with to crack these crimes. But i bet its lots. So this outweighs any need to wring our hands and weep about the rights of prisoners being accused. because this is criminology and its evidence based. More programs from Britain's real Cracker please Channel 5.

  • j.hutchings

    almost 2 years ago

    j.hutchings

    Prof Wilson states there is no such thing as coincidence with serial killers , what were the chances of Black and Bealey ( both child killers ) operating in the same area at the same time ,although Bealy was only convicted of one killing the Prof insists that serial killers get away with more ? WELL Prof , and the tate case was impeded by certain Detectives who ended up being prosecuted for other nefarious deeds,I find Prof that watching your shows u seem to try and make certain facts fit to your interpretations of what you want bit dramatic .

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  • Criminologist

    almost 2 years ago

    Criminologist

    This program contains zero actual academic criminology. It's mere conspiracy theory-style 'join-the-dots thinking'. According to Wilson (Episode 1) '"There's no such thing as coincidence where serial killers are concerned" (really - do they suspend the rules of the universe then?). And what exactly is his ‘theory' that he keeps mentioning -exactly? "That serial killers have killed more people than they have been convicted for". Well that’s what he says in each episode so is that it? Is that his theory? That's not a theory - that's common knowledge. I believe it is fair to say that the style of research employed in this show is like that of a cold-reading psychic – Wilson just keeps on making predictions and hopes to get lucky. Then people will forget just how many other times he was 100 wrong. Now then - there is a nice little REAL study for some real criminology students. How many of Professor David Wilson's numerous predictions about killers and other criminals have been wrong and how many have been right. And why? I’d like to see a real and objective documentary on that.

  • G. Brown

    almost 2 years ago

    G. Brown

    Why does the British Tax payer have to pay to keep mass murderers in their luxury prisons for the rest of their livers when they could all be executed for a fraction of the cost? Thats what I want to know.

  • j.hutchings

    almost 2 years ago

    j.hutchings

    whilst I do not dicount Black as the killer did your research cover the theory of detective Furzeland that Ian Bealey who convicted of the murder of Virginia Maunder in Tiverton was responsible for Gennettes muder / or that one of the last people to see her alive was her father John Tate who is a Child Molester himself ,according to news reports

  • j.hutchings

    almost 2 years ago

    j.hutchings

    whilst I do not dicount Black as the killer did your research cover the theory of detective Furzeland that Ian Bealey who convicted of the murder of Virginia Maunder in Tiverton was responsible for Gennettes muder / or that one of the last people to see her alive was her father John Tate who is a Child Molester himself ,according to news reports

  • Arner Prince

    almost 2 years ago

    Arner Prince

    It's old news that serial killers are only tried for a fraction ot their crimes. Obiously, once they are prison the police go on to investigate new crimes. Bad for the relatives of the other victims, but a natural reaction.

  • Patti

    almost 2 years ago

    Patti

    PLN I have to disagree with you there if you don't mind. It is very unlikely one can make one crime fit another, especially with serial killers. They form a patten, which becomes unique to them. Each patten starts with a beginning, until it reaches the end. This is what David Wilson brings across to me. If I am wrong then I apologise. I am a genealogist and I would love to delve that bit further back in time, to see if any ancestors have done similar crimes. We are who we are, why?

  • The PLN

    almost 2 years ago

    The PLN

    I have watched all of these it seems to me he makes the evidence fit is ideas. No real evidence just another want to be star trying to get the facts to fit his theory. And get air time on television.

  • The PLN

    almost 2 years ago

    The PLN

    I have watched all of these it seems to me he makes the evidence fit is ideas. No real evidence just another want to be star trying to get the facts to fit his theory. And get air time on television.

  • Alex

    almost 2 years ago

    Alex

    I am really enjoying the programme, although it is important to take everything as a POSSIBILITY not the certain truth. However, the adverts keep coming in half way through words and its driving me MAD! Did it on the last episode as well!

  • Anne Marie

    almost 2 years ago

    Anne Marie

    Good programme, however the camera action is irritating. There's no need to over dramatise an already fraught subject. Nearly as annoying as current documentaries that constantly recap throughout the programme

  • Irene

    almost 2 years ago

    Irene

    i really enjoyed the program but would like to know if David Wilson checked all the names on the list given to him by the ex scottish policeman against Robert Blacks route map.

  • Neil

    almost 2 years ago

    Neil

    Horrific crimes but I just feel that David Wilson is just clutching at straws a little yet again to make a watchable episode. No evidence, just suppositions.

  • Patti

    almost 2 years ago

    Patti

    I really enjoyed tonight's program. The similarities are a close call for both girls in Norfolk and Devon. Both had bikes too. If only we knew Robert Blacks work history....

  • Joanna Kings

    almost 2 years ago

    Joanna Kings

    Please pass on my thanks to David Wilson for looking into the Jenette Tate case. My Dad was Chef Superindendent Devon & Cornwall CID at the time and he always talked of how annoyed he was not not be able to bring justice and know what had happended to her. It was I think a very profound feeling of failure for the force at the time, not to be able to solve the disappearance. Dad talked about it often over the years of his retirement. He was sad not to have resolved it and to have closure for the family. He would be pleased that someone is still trying to solve the crime. My Dad was also a very good CID Detective by all accounts So Thankyou from him.

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