January 14, 2020: Lesley Whittle Kidnapped
Today is Tuesday January fourteenth twenty twenty on this day in nineteen seventy five seventeen year. Old Heiress Lesley whittle was abducted from her home in the village of highly England. Her kidnapping launched an enormous police ace investigation but it was fraught with problems and ended in tragedy. Welcome to today and true crime apart. CAST original due to the graphic nature of today's crimes listener discretion is advised. Extreme extreme. Caution is advised for listeners under thirteen. Today we're covering the kidnapping of British teenager Lesley Whittle. Let's go back to one thirty. Am I'm on January. Fourteenth as Leslie's mother Dorothy returned home after a night out. Dorothy whittle closed the front door to the house softly despite the late hour. She didn't feel tired. She eased out out of her shoes and crept toward her daughter. Lesley's room where she found the seventeen year old sleeping soundly. Dorothy smiled she. It was a little jealous at how easily Leslie could fall asleep. She tip toed back into the hall opened the door room and flipped on her lap. After after brushing her teeth she took to sleeping pills and turned off the light to go to sleep for a while. All was quiet in the large urge stately home but soon the nights piece was disturbed as a thin man wearing a black. Bollock lava approached. The House in the man was Donald. Neilson a burglar and murderer also known as the Black Panther Sir because of the color of his infamous balaclava having committed more than four hundred break ins without being caught Nielsen. Knew exactly Lee how to stealthily. Enter the whittles home but tonight he wasn't just there to steal jewelry and he wasn't going to take any chances is he had meticulously planned. The job for three years and wanted to be the greatest he'd ever pulled sticking to the shadows Nielsen. Cut The whittles phone line in case they had a burglar alarm then he hopped the fence in front of the House and broke into the garage. Exactly exactly what happened. Next is a mystery. Nielsen's original plan was to kidnap Dorothy whittle and demand fifty thousand pounds in ransom the equivalent of over half a million dollars today. It was a large sum but Nielsen was confident. The whittles could afford it George Whittle. Dorothy is late. Husband had founded one of England's most successful private coach companies and even after his hundreds of burglaries. Donald needed money. He was desperate for the ransom so when he somehow accidentally encountered seventeen year old Lesley whittle that night instead of her mother he adapted. He Gagged Leslie and dragged her through the house he then produced two who identical ransom notes he had written on Daimona tape a type of printing tape made for label. Makers one of the notes was left in Lesley's room while the second was shoved inside a box of sweets in the lounge of the house then Nielsen took his captive outside. Leslie scared for her. Life was ushered into his small green car wearing only her dressing gown Nielsen tied her up and race to a nearby I park there. He forced leslie down. A drainage shaft connected to a reservoir. He covered her head with a hood ripped off her dressing gown and wrapped one end of a wire around her neck. He fastened the other end of the wire to the shaft ensuring. She couldn't move far without strangling wrangling herself. Donald showed the girl a mattress and sleeping bag. He had previously left in the shaft and then he was gone. Leslie was left alone in the shaft nude with her face completely covered hours later her mother. Dorothy awoke and made breakfast when she went to check on Leslie. She found her daughter's bedroom empty. Then she found the ransom note written on a roll of tape nearly six feet long. The note asked for fifty thousand pounds in ransom and warn dorothy not not to call the police. It instructed her to wait for a phone call at a telephone box in a nearby shopping center that night on the verge of tears ears. Dorothy rushed downstairs to call. Lesley's adult brother Ronald but Nielsen had cut the line before he broke in and Dorothy couldn't couldn't reach her son without changing out of her dressing gown. She jumped in her car and sped over to Ronald's house. Despite the ransom notes notes warnings Ronald phoned authorities who officially launched an investigation the search for Lesley whittle and the hunt for the the Black Panther was on coming up. We discussed the tragic aftermath of Leslie's conduction now back to the story on the morning of January fourteenth nineteen seventy five five seventeen year. Old British heiress Lesley. Whittle was kidnapped from her home in highly England her mother Dorothy discovered her missing. She and and Lesley's older brother Ronald called the West Mercia Police Department who immediately launched a full scale investigation but the inquiry was fraught fraud. From the beginning the Kidnapper Donald Neilson had left a ransom note instructing the whittle family to wait for a call at a nearby telephone booth that evening but he also warned against calling police as such authorities initially planned on keeping a low profile. They believed they could convince Donald that the family was acting without police assistance but their ruse didn't last for long somehow. The story leaked to the press. It ran on the news that very night blowing the police's Lisa cover as a result. Nielsen didn't call the phone booth. As planned. The whittle family waited in agony for nearly two days this before finally receiving a call on January sixteenth around midnight. Dorothy listened as a recording of her daughter was played played over the phone. Leslie said in the recording that she was unharmed and begged her family to do whatever the kidnapper asked she then said her captor demanded someone in the family. Bring the ransom money to a new telephone box as soon as possible. Less these brother Ronald volunteered appeared to take the money to the phone booth. The police spent the next two hours securing the area to ensure the kidnapper wouldn't be frightened away and Ronald Ronald wouldn't be in any danger around one thirty A. M. on January seventeenth. Ronald left the police station with the ransom. But finding the phone booth didn't prove to be as straightforward as. He hoped he hadn't spent much time in the area and got lost on the way he arrived at the booth late and it took him another half hour to find the hidden message. It was written on demo tape just like the ransom. I note and instructed Ronald to go to a nearby park turn down a lane and flash his lights Ronald Rush to the indicated spot art in the park but once again got lost trying to flash his lights at the proper point over an hour and a half late and Frantic Ronald Donald left his car and shouted out for his sister. He received no answer eventually. He drove back to meet up with police. Authorities authorities suspected an errand patrol car belonging to another police. Department may have scared the kidnapper off after that night eight. The whittles didn't hear anything from the kidnapper for another week. Then another local police department contacted. West mercia detectives detectives. They had found cassette tape with a recording of Lesley. Whittle's voice in an abandoned car near a train station. Police found additional evidence in the car linking the unidentified Black Panther burglar to the tape and went on national television to report their findings afterward. A school principal came forward with a new message. Written on Demo- tape and a flashlight. Some of his students had found in a nearby park. He he hadn't turned in the items before because he didn't realize they could be related to Lesley's disappearance until the press conference in March of nineteen seventy five. Almost two months after Lesley's kidnapping police searched the park. Eventually they uncovered the drainage shaft where Leslie was being kept unfortunately they found the girl's body dangling from the wire noose she had been dead for for days over four hundred. Police officers searched for the murderer over the next few months. They interviewed hundreds of witnesses and suspects but ended up with few leads until December in the town of Mansfield over eighty miles from the site of Lesley's abduction. Two officers apprehended beheaded a suspicious man carrying a sawed off shotgun. The man turned out to be Donald. Neilson his fingerprints matched some found in the drainage shaft and he confessed to kidnapping Leslie Nielsen was convicted of murder and given a life sentence though nothing could undo the mistakes made along the way in the end justice caught up to him he died in prison in December of two thousand thousand eleven. Hopefully the fact that he was kept from hurting anyone else in his final years served as a small comfort to the families of his victims. Thanks for listening today in true crime. I'm Vanessa Richardson today. In true crime is a podcast original. You can find more episodes of today in true crime and all other podcast originals. Dell's for free on spotify. Not only does spotify already. Have all of your favorite music but now spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy all of your favorite podcast cast originals like today and true crime for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream today in true crime on spotify. Just open the APP and in Type Two day in true crime in the search bar at podcast. We're grateful for you our listeners. You allow us to do what we love. Let us know how we're doing reach out on on facebook and Instagram at podcast and twitter at podcast network. We'll be back with a brand new episode tomorrow in True Crime Crime. Today in true crime was created by Max Cutler and is a podcast studios original it is executive produced by Max ex- cutler sound designed by Karie Murphy with production assistance by Ron Shapiro Carly Madden is a bell away and Joel Stein. This episode of today and true crime. I'm was written by Terrel. Wells with writing assistance by Maggie Admire. I'm Vanessa Richardson.