Tributes paid to man who snared Black
TRIBUTES have been paid to the man who helped snare evil child killer Robert Black.
David Herkes, 75, died on Saturday at Craw Wood in Tweedbank.
The retired sub postmaster's quick thinking in July 1990, while gardening outside his Stow home, led to the capture of serial killer Black.
And he also saved the life of his neighbour's six-year-old daughter.
Police had spent over a decade hunting for the child murderer - and if it hadn't been David's observations and swift actions on the afternoon of July 14, Black could have continued preying on young girls for many more years.
David noticed a young girl walk behind a parked van.
When he saw her feet vanish and the van speed off he immediately contacted the police and jotted down the number plate.
And a short time later as Black drove back through the village police were waiting.
A local officer pulled open the back doors of the vehicle to discover his own six-year-old daughter tied up in a sleeping bag, with tape over her mouth, and barely alive.
David Herkes was later presented with meritorious awards by the police.
His son-in-law, Allan Doyle, told the Border Telegraph: "Above all David was a family man who was devoted to the care and support of his late wife, Christine, his daughters and their families.
"He was perhaps best known, however, for the role he played in the arrest and conviction of child serial killer Robert Black.
"His quick thinking that day saved the life of his neighbour's six-year old daughter and led directly to the incarceration of Black."
David's actions were recognised by the presentation of a meritorious award by Lothian and Borders Police and a separate award from the Police Federation."
Having trained as a potter with Buchan's of Portobello, David went on to serve his community in Gorebridge as a funeral director, founding his own business.
He later retired to Stow, where he owned and ran the village post office and general store.
Throughout his life he was fascinated by the natural world and was an accomplished gardener and pond-keeper, specialising in koi carp.
And in the year's following Black's capture, and later convictions for the murder of four young girls, he played down his hero's tag.
Black has since been found guilty of killing 10-year-old Sarah Harper, five-year-old Caroline Hogg, Susan Maxwell, 11, and nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy.
He is also linked with up to a dozen other similar murders all over Europe during the 1980s.
David Herkes suffered in his latter years from the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's disease, and had been living in the care of Craw Wood since 2008.
He passed away peacefully there on Saturday 29 with his daughters, Awdri and Shirley, by his side.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, at 1.30pm, at Borthwick Parish Church, thereafter to Borders Crematorium, Melrose for 3pm.
This article appeared in Border Telegraph 03 Oct 12
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