Father of Genette Tate dies without discovering what happened to his daughter
PUBLISHED: 10:24 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:02 19 May 2020
The father of a 13-year-old schoolgirl who disappeared without trace more than 40 years ago, has died - without ever discovering her fate.
Genette Tate vanished on her newspaper round in her home village of Aylesbeare on Saturday, August 19, 1978.
Her mystery disappearance sparked the biggest missing persons inquiry ever launched by British police.
Devon and Cornwall Police later said the incident was being treated as a murder inquiry - but Genette’s remains have never been found.
And for four decades her father John, 77, desperately tried to discover what had happened to his teenage daughter.
But now John - who had been unwell for many years - has died and gone to his grave without the answers he sought.
John, who was living in Manchester, suffered a major stroke that left him very weak and needing care.
He was also diabetic, had McArdle’s disease, prostate cancer and was confined to a wheelchair.
A final picture taken off him showed him lying in bed at home, weak and barely able to speak.
Devon and Cornwall Police held a cold case investigation into Genette’s murder several years ago and their ‘only suspect’ was Scottish serial killer Robert Black.
And detectives had been days away from charging Black with her murder when he collapsed and died in an Irish jail - where he was serving a life sentence for another child murder he had committed.
Police met John Tate in 2016 and gave him details from their 500-page dossier on why they believed Black was the killer.
In his last main interview in 2018, he said: “My life is coming to an end. I dearly want to know where Ginny is.
“Just to know that she has been found and given a Christian burial would be enough.”
But John Tate was never 100 per cent convinced that Black was the man who had killed his daughter.
Mr Tate wrote to Black when he was serving time in Wakefield Jail for murdering three young girls, asking him to meet him and tell him if he was responsible for Genette’s abduction and murder.
Mr Tate died in a Manchester hospital in late April.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.