Memories of cop who snared Baxenden serial killer up for auction

The cuffs owned by PC John White and Donald Neilson

PC John White

The medal

First published in Hyndburn Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

HANDCUFFS used in the 1975 capture of serial killer Donald Neilson and the Queen’s Gallantry medal given to the arresting officer are to be auctioned off.

PC John White’s medal was awarded after he apprehended The Black Panther, who murdered Baxenden postmaster Derek Astin.

It is to be sold along with the handcuffs, notebooks and pictures from the time.

Neilson was responsible for the death of five people, mostly in the course of attacks on post offices as well as one kidnapping and death of a 17-year-old girl, Lesley Whittle.

The medal, expected to sell for £12,000 to £15,000, will be sold with a substantial archive relat-ing to PC White’s police service, including items relating to the capture of Neilson.

Neilson, who died in prison last December, was arrested on December 11, 1975.

Mr Astin was killed in 1974. Neilson, who was masked, entered the post office house in Baxenden where he and his family were asleep upstairs.

Mr Astin was confronted by Neilson and was shot in the shoulder and then in the back.

Although dying from his wounds Mr Astin managed to push the raider downstairs.

A spokesman for auct-ioneers Bonhams said: “The capture of this kil-ler could not have been more dramatic and could have cost Constable White and his police colleagues’ lives.

“At 10.40pm, they were on patrol in a panda car, saw a man in dark clothing — Neilson — hurrying along the road.

“PC McKenzie drove the car on to the road, came alongside the man and PC White then spoke to him through the car window.

“Neilson suddenly prod-uced a sawn-off shotgun and ordered PC White into the back of the police car.

“The gunman got into the front passenger seat and ordered PC McKen-zie to drive.

“After four miles, PC White saw the Neilson’s attention was moment-arily diverted and, seiz-ing his opportunity, he grabbed the man round the neck and at the same time attempted to wrestle the shotgun from him.

The items will be sold at Bonhams’ Knightsbridge sale house on Wednesday, September 26.

Comments (3)

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3:54pm Thu 13 Sep 12

sen c ble says...

Another homebred!
Another homebred! sen c ble
  • Score: -1

7:09pm Thu 13 Sep 12

workaholic says...

Bet there was a sigh of relief when they clicked shut !
Bet there was a sigh of relief when they clicked shut ! workaholic
  • Score: -1

11:29am Fri 14 Sep 12

Davelyn says...

Isn't there a little of this missing ???
The arrest happened outside a chipshop
and if it wasn't for the intervension of people waiting outside, the ending could have been so different. Maybe these gallant members of the public should be given them as a thankyou for helping to save this policemans life.
Isn't there a little of this missing ??? The arrest happened outside a chipshop and if it wasn't for the intervension of people waiting outside, the ending could have been so different. Maybe these gallant members of the public should be given them as a thankyou for helping to save this policemans life. Davelyn
  • Score: 0

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