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Memories of cop who snared Baxenden serial killer up for auction
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.