Serial killer, who murdered nine-year-old in Northern Ireland in 1981, will be 89 before he is considered for release from jail

Serial child killer Robert Black has been sentenced to 25 years for the murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy in 1981.

A Northern Ireland judge said it would mean Black would be 89 before being considered for release.

Black, 64, was sentenced at Belfast crown court after he was found guilty last month of snatching Jennifer as she cycled to a friend's house in Ballinderry, County Antrim.

The former delivery driver abducted her while on a work trip to Northern Ireland and dumped her body in water close to the main Belfast-Dublin road near Hillsborough, Co Antrim, before catching a ferry home to London.

Black, who is already serving multiple life terms in Wakefield prison, was sentenced by Mr Justice Ronald Weatherup, who had earlier heard the killer's lawyer offer no plea for mercy.

David Spens QC told the judge: "This is one of those rare cases in which there is no mitigation and so I propose to say nothing in that regard."

Prosecution barrister Toby Hedworth QC argued that Black should face a whole life term, given his other killings. But the judge gave him another life sentence with a minimum of 25 years instead.

Around 40 killers, including Rose West and Moors murderer Ian Brady, have formally been told they will never be released.

Jennifer's murder was the fourth for which Black has been convicted. In 1994, he was found guilty of three unsolved child murders in the 1980s ? those of 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, from the Scottish Borders, five-year-old Caroline Hogg, from Edinburgh, and Sarah Harper, 10, from Morley near Leeds.

Detectives in England are reviewing the evidence against Black in connection with another schoolgirl's disappearance.

Jennifer's family were in court on Thursday to see the killer sentenced.

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