Talk:Disappearance of Genette Tate

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Not UK longest missing person inquiry[edit]

Renee MacRae went missing in November 1976, almost two years before Genette Tate went missing in August 1978. The 2008 guardian.co.uk article "The bone detective" states: The disappearance of Renee MacRae and her three-year-old son, who went missing in 1976 ... is Britain's longest-running missing-person case. The 1998 news.bbc.co.uk article "UK Longest missing person inquiry - 20 years on" (about Genette Tate, and cited in this article) appears to be in error. The 2006 news.bbc.co.uk article "No prosecution over missing Renee" confirms the November 1976 Renee MacRae disappearance date and states: Police insisted the case would remain open. 92.3.44.211 (talk) 03:07, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

The April Fabb disappearance is even earlier, from 1969. Akld guy (talk) 05:37, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Unsolved murder?[edit]

Is it correct to categorise this under Category:Unsolved murders in the United Kingdom? In other words, is there a reliable source that says she was, or probably was, murdered? Groomtech (talk) 07:15, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

She was probably murdered, but we don't know that for certain, hence we shouldn't categorise her as murdered, or even as dead. On rare occasions, kidnapped children are discovered alive years later. Jim Michael (talk) 16:53, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Links to other cases[edit]

It is no great secret that Robert Black (serial killer) has been linked with this case on a number of occasions. The sourcing at [1] [2] [3] [4] and [5] is enough to establish that this is WP:WELLKNOWN. The link between Black and April Fabb is more speculative, as is the link to Peter Tobin.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 16:02, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree that Robert Black (serial killer) should be mentioned in this article (I have little interest in the related articles). WP:BLPCRIME and WP:NPF do not apply as Black is a convicted serial killer so this material is directly relevant to his reason for notability. The sources linking him to Tate are not some scurrilous rumour-sheets but include the BBC and the Daily Telegraph. Of course we must be careful not to imply he is guilty of murdering Tate, but I do not believe previous versions of this article ever did so. Qwfp (talk) 16:51, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I also agree, it has been written about so extensively in reliable sources that it seems rather peculiar to leave it out?Theroadislong (talk) 17:01, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Suggested paragraph:

"In 2002, DNA belonging to Genette Tate was found on one of her jumpers by her mother Sheila, which would allow her body to be identified quickly if discovered. 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.[6]

Following the conviction of Robert Black in October 2011 for the murder of Jennifer Cardy in August 1981, a spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland commented that "There are striking similarities" between the two cases.[7] 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."[8][9]

This is enough to get the Black link across while staying within BLP.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:08, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

New version of article[edit]

  • Following the feedback above, here is a new sandbox version of the article. All reference to Fabb and Tobin has gone, as has the "see also" for List of unsolved murders in the United Kingdom as this is not known for sure, even though Genette Tate is generally believed to be dead. This version of the article is still a stub, but it does not have any major BLP issues.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 18:33, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for going all the way on this one! I think what's above (and in the sandbox) is an acceptable version of the most relevant content, presented neutrally and otherwise within BLP guidelines. Thank you again. JFHJr () 20:29, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Looks good to me too (hope you don't mind my minor correction). I wouldn't call it a stub either - still scope for expansion, but not a stub. Thanks, Qwfp (talk) 20:41, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
It is accepted that without the discovery of Tate's body or a confession, this is a mystery that may never be solved. Nevertheless, there is no real BLP issue with stating that Robert Black has been considered a suspect in the case. Black's movements were traced by receipts for petrol paid with by credit card, and he is known to have been in Devon at the time.[10] The petrol receipts were admitted as evidence in the case of Jennifer Cardy, but there is insufficient evidence to link him directly to Tate's disappearance.[11] More about the credit card receipt evidence used in the Cardy case here.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 20:51, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Ian will probably fall out of his chair, but I like his sandbox version, too.--Bbb23 (talk) 01:23, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Images of Tate[edit]

One of the things that critics have pointed out is that none of the images of Tate released by police at the time showed her at the age of 13, and appear to be school photographs showing her several years younger. This reward photo was particularly controversial, as numerous people pointed out that it was not an accurate likeness of Tate at 13. This rare image gives a better idea of what she may have looked like at the time.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 04:01, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Can we unprotect this page now?[edit]

I'm responding to a request by Ian on my talk page. He mentions that discussions have started and there's merit in unprotecting this pages. I seem to be agreeing with him. Yet, I'll await responses here over the next few hours before unprotecting. Thanks. Wifione Message 13:59, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Based on the Ian's proposed revision, which obtained an approving consensus, I have no problem with unprotecting this article.--Bbb23 (talk) 15:41, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Body on beach[edit]

The case is back in the news [12] with a claim by a retired police officer that a body washed up on a remote beach in Devon in 1979 could be Tate. This seems a bit speculative after all these years, so I held off on adding it to the article.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:26, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Ian, I agree with not adding to the article. As you say it is speculative, plus it is late in the day for this infomation to come to light. This story reminds me of a similar situation in the April Fabb case, where a skull was found some years after her disappearance - again nothing came of the information. David J Johnson (talk) 10:59, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Death of Robert Black[edit]

According to reports following his death, Black was within weeks of being charged with Genette Tate's murder.[13] A witness claimed to have seen Black near Exeter Airport at the time, and credit card payments for petrol also linked him to the Exeter area at the time of Tate's disappearance (see above sections). If this is all the police had on him, it is very interesting but not a knockout punch. We will never know what a jury might have said about this, so I don't think it should be added to the article as it is too speculative.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 13:13, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Totally agree with Ian's comments above. David J Johnson (talk) 13:17, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
It's mentioned in the Arthur Stanley Brown article that the Queensland Police file on the Mackay sisters' child sex murder has been closed as they view ASB as guilty, even though he was never convicted. Why can't we mention here that Devon and Cornwell Police feel that Black killed Genette? Paul Benjamin Austin (talk) 13:49, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
The article says that the police are meeting today to consider the position after Black's death. If and when they make an announcement, we should report it here. Ghmyrtle (talk) 14:04, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
By the time of his death, Devon and Cornwall Police considered Black to be the prime suspect in the Tate case. The article mentions that he was questioned about Tate's disappearance , which set off a fuss about this article per WP:BLPCRIME in February 2012, see the above section. The police knew for years that eyewitness and credit card evidence placed Black in the Exeter area at the time. Exeter International Airport is only a few miles from Aylesbeare, so it is a remarkable coincidence. In the absence of anything more substantial, there was not enough evidence to charge him. Unless the police reveal anything else that they knew about Black now that he is dead, it will remain one of life's mysteries. As for Arthur Stanley Brown, the police cannot determine guilt in a case, only a jury can do this.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 18:03, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Re this edit: the BBC News source says "Early indications from the Crown Prosecution Service is that it was probable that we would have charged Robert Black with Genette's murder. We were very close to a decision by the CPS." In the UK, the decision whether to prosecute is taken by the CPS (it used to be taken by the police, but isn't since the 1980s). The wording stops short of saying that Black would have been charged, and is rather vague if you look at the small print. Nevertheless, it could be added to the article with an accurate summary of what the source says.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 18:39, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Re this edit: Some of the media coverage has been misleading. The police cannot make a decision on whether to prosecute, only the CPS can do this. At the time of Black's death, Devon and Cornwall Police were close to submitting a new file on the case to the CPS. There is no indication of what the CPS decision would have been, and the police have jumped the gun by implying to the media that Black would probably have been prosecuted. WP:CRYSTAL applies here, and we will never know now what would have happened next.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 03:24, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

File sent to CPS[edit]

The case is back in the news, with a report that a file has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.[14] It is unclear what this will achieve now that Black is dead. The comment by "a senior police source" is somewhat weird: "We would like a clear statement that it [Crown Prosecution Service] would have charged Black with Genette's murder. It's the closest we can now get to justice and might offer some comfort to her family and the community." Had Black been alive, the presumption of innocence and WP:BLPCRIME would have applied. As BLPCRIME says, "Allegations, accusations, investigations, and arrests on suspicion of involvement are not a conviction." This is just as true for dead people as it is for living people. Even if the CPS had decided to prosecute, we will never know now what a jury verdict would have been.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 05:56, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

Although, if we are honest with ourselves, the presumption of innocence is a joke. Most people go "Well, if he's innocent, why is he in the dock? The police wouldn't have arrested him if he hadn't done anything wrong". This is especially true in the USA where the person in the dock is usually a cranky guy in a bright orange uniform. Paul Benjamin Austin (talk) 07:01, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
The "senior police source" is in a complete muddle here. In English law a person cannot be tried after their death, and it is not up to the police to imply guilt or innocence in any matter. All Genette's parents wanted was for Black to reveal the location of her body if he had killed her, so that she could be given a proper burial.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 07:25, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
  • The CPS says that it will not be charging Black.[15] Given that he is dead, it is hard to see what else they could have done. Devon and Cornwall Police were frustrated when Black died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 68, but his death ended any possibility of pursuing the matter in court.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 20:26, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

September 2016[edit]

I couldn't find any online references to the 1998 Carlton Westcountry documentary that was removed in this edit. However, there is an interesting BBC News video from October 1978 here. It shows that back in 1978, the police had no real clues as to what had happened. It was only after Robert Black's arrest in 1990 that he was recognised as a key suspect in the case.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 08:33, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

"Robert Black DID kill schoolgirl Genette Tate 38 years ago, say cops"[edit]

This is in the Daily Mirror today. It doesn't add much to what is already known, and is another attempt by Devon and Cornwall Police to imply that they somehow solved the case even though there was never a prosecution. The article says "The team revealed previously unpublished evidence – including that Black had admitted visiting the village where Genette disappeared 38 years ago." It isn't disputed that Black had visited the area around Exeter Airport, but this in itself would not have been enough to charge or convict him. The police knew years ago from credit card receipts for petrol that Black had been in the area, but were unable to show that he was in the area on the day of Tate's disappearance.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 05:48, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

@Ianmacm: This whole thing smacks of desperation on the part of the Peelers. Ian, I'm glad we have you here. (can you add Murder of Kylie Maybury to your watchlist and maybe give it your attention?) Paul Benjamin Austin (talk) 08:38, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
The main difference with the Murder of Kylie Maybury is that her body was found soon afterwards. Without finding Genette's body, the police had nothing more than a strong suspicion that Black might have been the person responsible. It fits his pattern of crimes very neatly, but the police never had any knockout evidence.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 09:52, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Re this edit: the material removed is wrong because all the police did was to submit a new file to the CPS in 2016, and the CPS responded that no action would be taken because Black was dead. Once again, the police cannot make a decision on whether to charge a person, only the CPS can do this. At the time of Black's death, the police were no further forward than they were twenty years earlier. They were hoping that "bad character" evidence from the Jennifer Cardy case would swing it in their favour, but had neither found Genette's body nor any firm evidence linking him to the scene of the crime. The article should not play along with the spin that the police gave to the media after Black's death.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 14:11, 11 February 2017 (UTC)