Hindley's book deal denial is challenged

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The Independent Online
Myra Hindley's claim not to have participated in the project to write a book about the Moors Murders was challenged yesterday when letters and a signed agreement contradicting her story were produced by the alleged co-author.

Mark Leech, a former criminal and editor of the Prison's Handbook, said Hindley had co-operated fully over a period of nine months, writing to him regularly, and claimed she had even thought up the proposed book title, The Other Side Of The Coin.

In an open letter to the Independent on Saturday, Hindley denied being involved in the production of the book and said: "I want to make it absolutely clear that I have authorised no-one to write my biography or so-called memoirs and will vigorously oppose anyone who attempts to. . . Furthermore, it would not be entitled The Other Side Of The Coin, nor would I attempt to justify what is beyond justification."

She continued: "God forbid that [publishers] would lower themselves to become involved in such a spurious book.I have absolutely no idea of what the . . . synopsis contains. . . I have not ever written any synopsis and disown that which is referred to." She subsequently called for a ban on any such book.

However, yesterday Mr Leech produced a copy of an agreement signed by Hindley in front of him at Durham prison on 27 July this year. Last month, Hindley claimed she did not realise what she was signing.

The agreement is handwritten in block capitals and runs to only 23 words. Marked "confidential" and addressed "to whom it may concern", it reads: "This is to confirm that Mark Leech [editor, the Prisoners Handbook] acts on my behalf in all matters connected with my proposed autobiography." It is signed by Hindley. It is understood the signature has been verified by her former solicitor, Andrew McCooey.

Further, Mr Leech produced a letter written by Hindley following his 27 July visit in which she refers to possible publication, but asks him to hold off for a time. "I don't think it's a good idea to consult any publishers at the moment, for obvious reasons, so will you leave it until later when I have given some more thought to it?"

The handwriting in this letter appears to be identical to other letters from Hindley in the possession of the Independent.

Mr Leech admitted yesterday that he had already begun speaking to publishers when she made her request to stop. Her reaction, he said, was prompted by adverse publicity.

He said: "She approached me about the book through a prison officer [Joe Chapman, her former counsellor] and I agreed to work on it as long as she made no money from the venture.

"I had a three hour meeting with her during which we agreed I should approach publishers. That was when she gave me her written authority.

"The whole project, including the title, was her idea, so to deny involvement now is simply ridiculous."

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