OPINION: Where Hindley's money went

The tabloid treatment of the death of the Moors murderer Myra Hindley saw the vilification of this child killer extended beyond the grave. Every detail of what her supporters claimed was her rehabilitation during 36 years in jail was picked over.

Most of it was familiar stuff, but there were a few surprises, not least the NSPCC issuing a public statement to make it plain that it had never sullied its hands by taking a donation from her as The Sun had reported (Third Sector, 27 November).

I can clear up the confusion. I wrote a biography of the late Lord Longford and he arranged for me to visit Hindley in prison as part of my research.

I was editor of a Catholic newspaper at the time and later she sent me small amounts of money which she wanted to donate to The Catholic Children's Society (Westminster) after an article she had read about its work. She asked that the donations be anonymous so I swapped her cash for my cheque and sent it on to the charity. It never knew the real source.

This episode raises the age-old question of who makes a suitable donor.

I have always believed that anonymous donors are the best sort. They want nothing in return. Hence I handed on the donations in question and kept my promise never to reveal them until Hindley was dead. She kept her part of the bargain and never tried to make capital out of them in her fight to be paroled.

But would I, a friend asked me when I mentioned this, have laundered a donation from, say, an arms dealer? Well no, because the issue there is that the money is tainted because of how it has been obtained. I find no similar objection to funds raised by washing dishes in prison.

So was the NSPCC's reaction over the top? Probably not. If your stated purpose is to protect children, then you would want little to do with Hindley. But I can't help wondering, as the world and his wife line up to aim one more kick at Hindley's dead body, whether the NSPCC should have been quite so prominent in the queue.

PETER STANFORD, a writer and broadcaster. He chaired the trustees of the national disability charity Aspire and now sits on various trustee boards

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