THE FORMER editor of the Observer, the Hon David Astor, has confirmed that he provided money to help pay lawyers working for the release of Myra Hindley, the Moors murderess.
The payment came from his charitable trust, the Avenue. Mr Astor, 81, said it had been channelled through two Methodist ministers - a former prison governor, the Rev Peter Timms, and the Rev Cameron Kirkwood, of Norbury Methodist Church, south London.
He said that the amount was 'not huge' but 'more than pounds 1,000'. He had decided to help Hindley because the tabloid press coverage meant that the case for releasing her had never been considered fairly by the Home Office.
'She is treated differently from any other prisoner and that is in itself wrong and that is entirely due to the activities of the tabloid press,' he said.
Hindley, 50, has been in prison since receiving a life sentence in 1966 for murdering and torturing Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17, with her lover, Ian Brady, who is also serving a life sentence.
This is the second time Mr Astor has helped meet Hindley's legal bills. In 1989, he helped to finance her High Court action against a retired Manchester detective, Peter Topping, after he wrote a book about the Moors murders.
He agreed to help her after a meeting at Cookham Wood prison in Kent, which reportedly persuaded him that she was 'a totally changed woman' who was being denied justice by the length of her prison sentence.