Disappearance of Genette Tate

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Genette Tate
Tate Genette.jpg
A photograph of Genette Tate released at the time of her disappearance in August 1978.
Born Genette Louise Tate
5 May 1965
Disappeared 19 August 1978 (age 13)
Aylesbeare, Devon, England
Status Missing for 38 years, 9 months and 11 days
Residence Aylesbeare, Devon, England
Nationality British

Genette Louise Tate (5 May 1965 – disappeared 19 August 1978) is an English girl whose disappearance became a missing person case when she went missing at age 13 while delivering newspapers in Aylesbeare, Devon, England.


Disappearance of Genette Tate is located in Devon
Disappearance of Genette Tate
Map showing where Genette Tate disappeared in August 1978

Tate's disappearance occurred within sight of her home village shortly after 15:30 (BST) on Saturday 19 August 1978. Her bicycle and scattered newspapers were found lying in the middle of a quiet country lane by two friends with whom she had spoken minutes earlier.[1][2] Eyewitnesses reported seeing a maroon car in the lane at around the time of the disappearance, and police issued a photofit picture of a man they wanted to question in relation to the abduction. The photofit described him as being "between eighteen and twenty-five, with thick blackish eyebrows and a pale complexion".[3]

Despite an extensive police investigation and a search of the surrounding countryside involving thousands of volunteers, Tate's disappearance remains unexplained. In 2002, DNA belonging to Genette Tate was found on one of her jumpers kept by her mother, which would allow her body to be identified if discovered. On the 25th anniversary of the case in 2003, Genette's parents John and Sheila both stated their belief that she is no longer alive. Police have amassed more than 20,000 cards in a filing system related to the case, which is stored at the Devon and Cornwall Police headquarters in Exeter.[4]

Following the conviction of serial killer Robert Black in October 2011 for the August 1981 murder of Jennifer Cardy, a spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland commented that "There are striking similarities" between the two cases.[5] Black had already been questioned by Devon and Cornwall Police about the Tate case, but in August 2008 the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge him.[6][7] Devon and Cornwall Police were looking into the case again in June 2014 with the hope of prosecuting Black.[8]

At the time of Black's death in January 2016, Devon and Cornwall Police were five weeks from submitting a file to the Crown Prosecution Service in which they sought a new decision on whether to prosecute him.[9] The file was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service three months after Black's January 2016 death, although the Crown Prosecution Service stated that due to his death, they would not be making a posthumous decision on charging Black.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Genette's parents' Devon pilgrimage", BBC News, 19 August 2003
  2. ^ "Britain's longest missing person inquiry - 20 years on", BBC News, 18 August 1998
  3. ^ Genette: Police hunt driver Daily Mirror, 29 August 1978.
  4. ^ Genette Tate Search 25 Years Old BBC News, 19 August 2003.
  5. ^ Missing girl team probes Cardy case Belfast Telegraph, 28 October 2011.
  6. ^ Prime suspect in 1978 murder of schoolgirl Genette Tate will not face charges Daily Telegraph, 18 August 2008.
  7. ^ Killer Robert Black's link to Genette Tate reviewed BBC News, 27 October 2011.
  8. ^ PA (2 June 2014). "Genette Tate: police in talks with hope of prosecuting Robert Black for murder". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "Robert Black case: Police were close to child murder charge". BBC News. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 

External links[edit]