The daughter of a serial killer who murdered a teen heiress for ransom has shared how her dad turned into a controlling “monster” at home while carrying out the killings.
Lesley Whittle was just 17 years old when Donald Neilson – known as The Black Panther – put a barrel to her head and forced her down a ladder into a dank, stinking drain.
The career criminal crept into Lesley’s bedroom in the leafy village of Highley, Shropshire just hours earlier to abduct her – in the hopes of securing a £50,000 ransom for her safe return.
But the money never came and six weeks later she was found at the bottom of the drain shaft hanging.
Neilson earned the grim title of serial killer for the murder of Lesley and three sub-postmasters in armed robberies between 1974 and 1975.
He was sentenced to life and died in prison in 2011 aged 75.
New details about Lesley’s murder will be revealed tonight in a Channel 5 documentary called The Abduction of Lesley Whittle, The Sun reports.
The show will air a chilling recording of the 17-year-old’s voice assuring her family she was safe and telling them to meet the Black Panther’s demands.
The programme will also include details of Neilson’s home life in the time around the killing spree.
Kathryn said her dad became “intolerable” at home as if he was being controlled by a “monster”.
“He got more and more moody at home. It was as if he was taken over, his mind and body, by a monster,” she wrote in her book, Behind the Panther’s Smile.
“I know now why he got so intolerable at home. No one could live normally with the horrors he had on his conscience.”
Neilson was born Donald Nappey – a name he was bullied for at school.
He lost his mum at 10 to breast cancer and was then raised by a disciplinarian dad – who frequently beat and mocked him.
At 18 he married wife Irene, who persuaded him to leave the armed forces after having served in Kenya, Aden and Cyprus.
After leaving the army, he changed his name and moved to Bradford where the couple raised their child Kathryn.
A series of failed business ventures spurred deep resentment for his financial situation.
In the early 1970s Neilson started his spate of burglaries – hitting 400 homes.
He always wore black, a balaclava, and was known for creeping into his victims’ bedrooms without waking them – earning him the grim nickname The Black Panther.
Original Article: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/daughter-killer-donald-nielson-says-25193224