On the morning of 14 January 1975, Mrs Dorothy Whittle wakes to be faced with every mother’s worst nightmare
The Black Panther : The Trials and Abductions of Donald Neilson
On the morning of 14 January 1975, Mrs Dorothy Whittle wakes to be faced with every mother’s worst nightmare; finding her daughter has been abducted from her room. A note has been left downstairs, demanding a ransom. Later, a recorded message comes from Lesley Whittle herself saying where to leave the money but not to tell the police or she’ll be killed. The family disobey and inform the authorities, and together they struggle to understand and carry out their instructions in a complex cat-and-mouse game with one desperate aim: to get Lesley back alive.
The recent release of Home Office papers allows author Gordon Lowe to go behind the scenes and examine how a combination of bad luck and mistakes on the part of both the police and Donald Neilson stacked the odds against a successful resolution to one of the century’s most despicable crimes. Here Lowe details what happened to Lesley as she lay naked and shackled by a steel noose at the bottom of a wet drainage shaft with a man in a black hood, the Black Panther, as her only contact with the outside world.