Child killer Robert Black’s warped reign of terror changed Britain for ever, police say.
Black sparked widespread fear when he assaulted and murdered at least four girls aged under 12.
One of his victims was 11-year-old Susan Maxwell whose body was dumped near Uttoxeter in Staffordshire.
Psychologists are convinced he is to blame for parents no longer feeling safe to let their children play outside.
Now Black – dubbed the country’s worst paedophile – will feature on TV tonight.
Former Met police commander Gary Copson said: “When I grew up, we played in the street.
“Kids don’t play in the street anymore and one of the reasons I think was because Robert Black created a kind of terror that made parents afraid to have their children out of their sight.”
Black, who is one of Britain’s worst serial child killers, repeatedly sought out young girls to abduct, assault and murder between 1981 and 1986.
His job as a lorry driver allowed him to dump their bodies without sparking suspicion. His spree triggered the most extensive murder investigation of the 20th Century.
After he was arrested, even hardened police officers were stunned by what they discovered.
Mr Copson said: “I was on duty at Scotland Yard on the day he was arrested and had to brief the commissioner.
“I think the really frightening thing was the way in which he pootled along in his van back past the area to go and fill up the van with petrol.
“One of the first things he did after he had taken a child was go fill the van with petrol.
“And the reason he did that was because the receipt for the petrol was his souvenir.
“When his house was searched, they found a cache of souvenirs, many of which were petrol receipts which placed him in the crucial areas on the crucial days.”
Paedophile Black was convicted of three murders in 1994, along with a fourth in 2011, but he was a suspect in nine further cases.
His confirmed victims were Susan who was 11 when she was abducted in 1982 near the border between Scotland and England. Her body was gagged and bound and she was found 250 miles away in Loxley in Staffordshire.
The others were Caroline Hogg, aged five, Sarah Harper, aged 10, and Jennifer Cardy, aged nine.
Forensic psychiatrist Richard Badcock was drafted in by police to quiz him in prison. It was hoped the interviews would lead to a confession. Mr Badcock said: “What he mostly wanted to get across was how badly he had been treated at various stages of life.
“That was his central mantra, as it were.
“Would he proudly describe himself as a serial killer? No, he would not.
“He would describe himself as the unfortunate victim of life.”
It is thought Black, who died aged 68 in 2016 while serving a life sentence, was beaten by his foster parents during his childhood and sexually abused while living at a care home.
But forensic psychologist Paul Britton said: “Despite all of the predisposing factors, Robert Black always had a choice.
“Everything that he did in terms of the abduction and offending against children was planned, thought about, carried out over time.
“In each case there were many, many points at which he could have said, ‘Stop’… at which he could have asked for help, at which he could have looked for intervention.
“He didn’t do any of those things.”
● The case features in the next episode of Making A Monster, tomorrow at 9pm on the channel Crime+Investigation.