Donald Neilson death 'won't bring closure', says friend of Lesley Whittle
"His death will never bring closure because I can never forget her."
Denise Bache, a childhood friend of Lesley Whittle, said she would never fully come to terms with Donald Neilson's most notorious murder.
In a previously unreleased interview given to BBC Radio Shropshire when Neilson was diagnosed with motor neurone disease two years ago, Ms Bache described how the kidnapping of the 17-year-old heiress in 1975 shook their home village of Highley.
She said: "I remember it in my head quite clearly, we'd been on a night out and my father-in-law told me Lesley had been kidnapped.
"It was unbelievable, and to think it could happen to somebody like that.
"Our initial thought was that it was a rag week prank from university but it soon became clear that it wasn't.
"It was unbelievably big, I don't think people could grasp that that could happen in their small village - nobody really knows, only Neilson knows."
Ms Bache said the news of his death would not help her or the village come to terms with Lesley's murder.
She said: "It's a close community, it still is, and when something like that happens it's unbelievable - when your village is on the TV and in the press like that, it's unbelievable."
Ms Bache remembered playing with Lesley during the summer holidays.
She said: "I remember the rocking horse, which I was very jealous of, and we used to play in the Wendy house and we had a tea-set and we used to make tea for our dolls.
"She was a very studious girl, very clever, well-spoken, very kind and I always remember the red tap shoes - she used to have lessons.
"They didn't fit her any more and she gave them to me - I cherish those little red shoes, that's the one of the happy memories I have of Lesley."
Ms Bache said she regretted losing contact when they went their separate ways as teenagers.
"With hindsight, which is easy to think about, I do regret it - I'll always remember she was so beautiful.
"Her life was cut short, I'll never never forget her and I think about her regularly."