What of the missing children?
Each year a huge number of children go missing in the UK.
Many are found safe and well within hours or days.
Some are never found.
What has happened to them?
Could it be that some missing children have been murdered by paedophiles?
Of course, the answer to that question is sometimes "Yes".
In 1961 Angus Sinclair, convicted yesterday for the so-called "World's End murders" (see Serial killer angus Sinclair guilty of World's End murders ) raped and strangled an 8 year old girl, Catherine Reehill. (Media reports differ as to Catherine's age. Some say 7, others 8).
Media terminology for Sinclair might refer to him as a "child killer" or, more recently, as a "serial killer".
But might it be a better view of Sinclair to think of him as a paedophile who kills?
If Sinclair is a paedophile who kills how many more of his kind might there be?
Sometimes a body is found with no explanation of what happened.
A few years ago, 21st September 2001, the body of an unidentified black boy thought to be aged between 4 and 7 was found floating in the Thames.
In fact it was only the torso that was found, rather than a body.
If an alert passer-by hadn't contacted the Police the torso would likely have been carried out to sea and disappeared without trace.
"Adam", as the boy was initially known, must have been murdered. Someone cut off his head. Someone cut off his limbs.
So far as I'm aware the murder of "Adam" remains unsolved.
"Adam's" body was found by chance.
But what of missing children where no body has been found?
It's a question so disturbing that the mind almost rebels at thinking seriously about it.
Could it be that there is a way for paedophiles who kill to conceal their crimes much more effectively than, so it seems, Angus Sinclair ever attempted to do?
Readers of Ian Rankin's detective fiction might remember a grisly story of the use of pigs to "disappear" bodies of adults murdered by a gang boss.
Could some similar mechanism have been used by powerful paedophiles to "disappear" the bodies of child victims?
I don't know.
It's speculation to even raise the question.
It sends a shiver down my spine to think about it. And I suspect it may have a similar effect on you.
But it's a question we can't ignore.
Thousands of parents around the UK are living a "life sentence" wondering what happened to their missing child.