A Query: Whether This Is An Urban Legend?

Discussion in 'Notes & Queries' started by Swifty, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Swifty

    Swifty Beloved of Ra

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    I'm hoping to find the source of this grim creepy account or possibly urban legend ..

    From memory, it was set in either the 60's or 70's ..... workmen lifted up a large remote outdoors cover (I'm unsure which country this was supposed to have happened in) to discover a dead woman standing on a very narrow ledge, hands tied and with a noose around her neck. Below her there was a large drop. Whoever left her there clearly didn't want to (or couldn't) return to free her and that's how she was found, still standing, dead and presumably leaning against a wall or corner ..

    Does this ring any bells with anyone please ?, my big Sister told it to me as a kid but she used to enjoy frightening me with ghost stories so I wouldn't be surprised to learn that's it's a scene from a film she'd seen ...
     
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  2. Bigphoot2

    Bigphoot2 Justified & Ancient

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  3. escargot1

    escargot1 Beloved of Ra

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    Yes, definitely poor Lesley Whittle. It happened near here.
    We visited the site on our bikes in the summer. It's a magnificent country park.

    She didn't die accidentally or through neglect though, she was deliberately pushed off the ledge and hanged.
     
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  4. Swifty

    Swifty Beloved of Ra

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    Thanks you two, I can't bring myself to click 'like' for obvious reasons ... poor woman and I was hoping it was just an urban myth .. I grew up in the midlands at that time myself, must have been how my Sis learned about it ..
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
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  5. Bigphoot2

    Bigphoot2 Justified & Ancient

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    I remember the case well and being struck by the sheer callousness of it. Horrible way to die.
     
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  6. Swifty

    Swifty Beloved of Ra

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  7. Bigphoot2

    Bigphoot2 Justified & Ancient

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    I'm not religious but sometimes I wish there was a Hell and people like Neilson are burning in it.
     
  8. escargot1

    escargot1 Beloved of Ra

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    At his trial, it was stated that he went back to the drain and shoved Lesley off to kill her. I've also read that in a couple of books. But who knows? They're both dead now.

    I'm inclined to believe it. She was a witness and he wasn't taking any chances, and he was ruthless. He might even have thought he was putting her out of her misery.
    Also, she was wearing home-made wire collar made from a coat hanger which would've been difficult if not impossible to remove safely. I don't feel that he ever intended to take it off her.
     
  9. smokehead

    smokehead Abominable Snowman

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    Thanks to Swifty for posting the Mail link.
    A bloke from the firm I worked for a couple of years later was questioned as part of the Black Panther investigation
    I've always been slightly puzzled as he didn't look anything like Donald Nielsen.
    Looking through the Mail gallery he did closely resemble Ronald Whittle however.
    He was working at our southern branch when I joined the firm. He later came back as manager.
    Driving me and some other lads back after a night out he was pulled over by the police and was extremely unhelpful, even rude, the officer let it go, but it showed the previous experience had embittered him towards the police.
     
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  10. Swifty

    Swifty Beloved of Ra

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    At least the bastard died in 2011 ..
     
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  11. smokehead

    smokehead Abominable Snowman

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    My attitude towards the floggers and hangers has always been it's fine as long as someone else is doing the dirty work. It's others who have to be brutalized by the experience, they who have it on their conscience for the rest of their lives.
    So my response has always been a simple one, if you want someone executed, go and do it yourself.
    In this case however I think I could have pushed the button, pulled the lever, whatever, and gone and had a good nights sleep. What that poor girl went through is unimaginable.
     
  12. Cochise

    Cochise Justified & Ancient

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    One of the arguments against is that it gives the doer time to dwell on his wrongdoing. I doubt this guy spent much time doing that.

    I'm very much against the death penalty as a general punishment, but I think it was a pity it was taken off the books altogether. There are cases like this where a) there is no doubt whatsoever as to the guilt of the culprit, and b) there are circumstances of particular brutality or suffering, where it seems to be merited. But I don't know if I would be able to pull the lever, so I'll shut up.
     
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  13. Swifty

    Swifty Beloved of Ra

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    Fred west hung himself because he knew what laid in wait for him (and possibly because the police covertly allowed him to be able to so) .. Ian Huntley, another coward, tried various ways of ending his purgatory .. some people argue that it's cruel to keep lifers alive against their will .. tell that to Leslie .. I doubt her last thoughts would have been about him .. that's why, as much as I hate it, we are all animals .. I'm a Christian by faith but I'm also glad that Nielsen is finally dead, I wouldn't have seen him abused or murdered because of it in prison .. the world is one less failure lighter.
     
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  14. smokehead

    smokehead Abominable Snowman

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    I support rehabilitation, perhaps naively requiring an ideal, i.e. the young idiot dragged along by a mate on a robbery, but I fully accept the principle that people should be given a second chance.
    Even some heinous offenders require some understanding, reading about their family backgrounds is to realise that they never stood a chance in hell. Some, not all.
    The likes of Nielsen I believe relive their actions in a kind of masturbatory way, remorse and guilt being perfect strangers to that kind of mind getting off on the pain and terror they have caused.
    They have plenty of time to do it.
    I have no qualms about denying them that.
     
  15. Coal

    Coal Sure, we're all wrong. Makes complete sense.

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    That's true to a point. Even in heinous conditions the majority do not become violent criminals, so even though society ought to pay attention to the socio-economic conditions that appear to generate great number of criminals and redress them, 'letting offenders off' because of a poor upbringing insults those who remain decent in the same circumstances and doesn't do any good anyway I'd suggest.

    I would however, be in favour of tougher sentences for those who had a good upbringing and still chose to be criminals. At first glance it can look like we're tougher on those who had little life opportunity, than on those who had good life opportunity and I'd suggest the reverse might be more appropriate.
     
  16. smokehead

    smokehead Abominable Snowman

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    I am generally in agreement with you. I was thinking of Mary Bell and perhaps it would have been better to cite her as an example in the post.
    If there is a genetic component the lottery of life ensures someone with a propensity towards violence will be brought up in the worst possible circumstances. Others will be luckier.
    Of course there are also those examples where even those with what we might consider privileged lives commit atrocious crimes.
    I'm not sure where I stand on nature v nurture, personal responsibility certainly but I also believe we are less the product of self determinism than we think.
     
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  17. GNC

    GNC King-Sized Canary

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    The only mildly amusing thing that happened in connection with Donald Nielsen was that he got into a fight with the equally unlovely Dennis Nilsen when Dennis told him, "If you're the Black Panther, then I'm the Pink Panther." Apart from that, two wastes of oxygen.
     
  18. Coal

    Coal Sure, we're all wrong. Makes complete sense.

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    That's right I think and it's true of us all. Even if you have clawed your way out of the bear-pit to respectability, there are many with the same or better attributes who did not. Luck plays a part, both in our individual achievements and corporate ones. It's why idiots occasionally succeed and why bad businesses occasionally (literally) against all odds do well. Someone or something is always at the outer reaches of the bell-curve.

    I've never understood why 'nature vs nurture' is a debate, when all of us are clearly a product of both.
     
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  19. smokehead

    smokehead Abominable Snowman

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    That reminds me of Linda Smith and her brilliant one liner, about Neil and Christine Hamilton iirc.
    "Some people say they should be denied the oxygen of publicity, whereas I would like to deny them the oxygen of oxygen".
     
  20. OneWingedBird

    OneWingedBird Antediluvian

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    Going back to the early 90s, a guy I worked with was interviewed after someone called him in over a photofit of a possible serial killer that I think had been put out on crimewatch, never managed to verify the case it was in relation to though seems likely it was one that wasn't that heavily reported, the case of a woman's murder in Leeds where there were women's shoes found at the scene that didn't belong to the victim or her family.

    He reckoned the officers that interviewed him told him they were pig sick of the job as they had about 300 guys to interview, all of which looked very similar.

    So maybe it wasn't so much that your chap was a suspect per se if the police were playing the numbers game on leads for the case.
     
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  21. smokehead

    smokehead Abominable Snowman

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    You may well be right. He never spoke about it so I can only speculate.
    Back in the 70's the West Midlands police didn't have the best reputation to put it mildly.
    I also wondered if his transfer to a southern branch was arranged because of his experience.
    Some people find it very traumatic, I read somewhere of a man who wrote down everywhere he went and who he spoke to after being questioned by the police.
    Personally I think they are just doing their job, and it's a bloody difficult one.
     
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  22. escargot1

    escargot1 Beloved of Ra

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    This is such a fascinating aspect of police work - that during routine questioning huge lists of possible suspects, most of whom are innocent and respectable, officers may eventually speak to the actual perp.
    So they have to keep in mind that they might sooner or later meet the person they're after, and not resent the exercise as pointless.

    The Yorkshire Ripper was interviewed more than once before his arrest during routine enquiries. In fact, several officers who spoke to him flagged him up as a suspicious character and recommended a revisit.
     
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  23. David Plankton

    David Plankton Justified & Ancient

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    The shambolic thing about that was I think about the fourth or fifth time he was visited at home, the officers in question didn't know he'd been interviewed before. It was a complex investigation and a lot of mistakes were made, unfortunately.
     
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  24. David Plankton

    David Plankton Justified & Ancient

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    A fascinating book I read on the subject was Wicked Beyond Belief, by Michael Bilton. It really isn't a book which glorifies his crimes (although as you can imagine, it does get quite grim) but focuses on the police involved, their backgrounds and the whole investigation process.
    Recommended reading for a view at how crimes were solved just before computers became mainstream in law enforcement.
     
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  25. escargot1

    escargot1 Beloved of Ra

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    Oh yup, there were card indices which needed hundreds of hours' worth of cross-checking. A computer would've sorted that lot in minutes.
     
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  26. smokehead

    smokehead Abominable Snowman

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    It's been a good while since I read Wicked Beyond Belief.
    Iirc one of the policemen who interviewed Sutcliffe felt so strongly that he should be closely investigated that he attached a note to that effect to the interview form. I think his name was Andrew Laptew.
    He also said he told Dick Holland who was running the incident room and Holland said something like "If anyone mentions photofits to me again they will find themselves in the traffic division". Something like that.
    I believe during the inquiry that resulted in the Byford report they found the interview form but the note had been removed although there were staple holes in it.
    Hindsight is 20/20 obviously and Bilton's book makes clear the sheer scale of the investigation. Perhaps lives would have been saved, who can say?
     
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  27. David Plankton

    David Plankton Justified & Ancient

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    They came very close at one point. A set of tyre marks were found at the scene of one of the murders. By measuring the width of the axle they could narrow down the options to a few makes and models. The car in question also had a certain combination of differing tyre makes fitted to it. There were several thousand of these makes/models registered in Yorkshire at the time but if they could find the one with those particular tyres then they would surely have their man.
    This was kept out of the press for the obvious reason that should it become known then all the Ripper needed to do was change the tyres. I think they were about three-quarters of their way through the list of vehicles to check when they received the fake tapes and letters which diverted manpower elsewhere.

    Some of the things I read in that book beggar belief, like the black woman who survived an attack and positively identified Sutcliffe at a later date in a pub. She was told she must be mistaken and that her attacker had to be black. And a schoolgirl who was actually laughed at when trying to report an attack by someone matching the photofit. They were a strange place, the 1970's.
     
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  28. smokehead

    smokehead Abominable Snowman

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    Was that Marcella Claxton? I've read she was disgracefully described as 'just this side of a gorilla'.
    The £5 note investigation also got called off iirc, and again I believe they were making progress.
    I have read modern computer systems would have flagged up Sutcliffe in 5 minutes, I don't know how credible this claim is.
     
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  29. David Plankton

    David Plankton Justified & Ancient

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    Yes and checking that fact I found out that West Yorkshire Police accused her of giving a misleading description at a later hearing.
    The £5 note investigation in itself was amazingly interesting, how they went about it.
     
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  30. smokehead

    smokehead Abominable Snowman

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    I realised I remembered her name because it was one of the WTF? moments in the book.
    Another was the emphasis on Wearside Jack, apparently because of inside knowledge of the murders.
    It was later found the details had been printed in a newspaper, and it was astonishing to me that they didn't check that properly.
    There are a couple of things about Sutcliffe that puzzle me.
    Iirc he initially denied committing the murder that took place in the flat.
    Then he confessed to all of the murders.
    Yet in the book by Gordon Burns, Somebody's Brother Somebody's son was it called? His brother went to see him and claimed he said something like 'I haven't done all of them, but I've done most of them'.
    The other is there is a book somewhere that speculates he may have been responsible for the murder of Wendy Sewell. Wrongly rumoured to me meeting a lover and thus disgracefully labelled the Bakewell Tart murder.
    I have no real opinion on the guilt or innocence of Stephen Downing, however in the book about the case, Town Without Pity, part of his statement was quoted and he said when he first saw Ms Sewell she was walking along the cemetery path looking from side to side.
    This was corroborated by a later statement from a friend of Ms Sewell who stated she had gone to the cemetery to look at headstones for her late father I believe.
    Downing couldn't have known this, so that part of his statement rings absolutely true.
     
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