In the Media

Black Panther killer Donald Neilson dies

PUBLISHED December 19, 2011

Man sentenced to life in prison for murders of heiress Lesley Whittle and three sub-postmasters dies in hospital

Donald Neilson, the serial killer known as the Black Panther, has died in hospital.

Neilson was given four life sentences in 1976 and was one of a small group of notorious prisoners who were told they would spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

The 75-year-old was taken to hospital from Norwich prison with breathing difficulties on Saturday and died on Sunday, the Prison Service said.

The independent prisons and probation ombudsman will conduct an investigation, which is routine in all deaths in custody.

Neilson murdered the heiress Lesley Whittle in 1975 and shot dead three sub-postmasters during armed robberies. In June 2008, a high court judge ruled that he must never be released from prison.

Neilson had applied for a minimum jail term to be set, which would have given him a chance of parole, but Mr Justice Teare ruled that his "whole life" tariff must remain. The judge said: "This is a case where the gravity of the applicant's offences justifies a whole life order."

Neilson kidnapped 17-year-old Whittle from her home in Shropshire, leaving a ransom demand for ?50,000. Her body was found in an underground drainage system. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds