Prison officer let 'UK's most evil woman' Myra Hindley take care of 8-year-old daughter

Hindley was convicted of killing two children herself, and providing a false alibi for her then-lover Ian Brady, for which received life and an additional seven years.
-Credit: (Image: Corbis via Getty Images)

A former prison officer who befriended child-killer Myra Hindley in prison revealed he once trusted her with his own eight-year-old daughter.

Joe Chapman, who worked at Cookham Wood prison in Kent, told podcaster James English that the prison held regular "lifers day" events, where staff were allowed to bring family members in to meet the inmates.

Prison staff would usually "bring their dogs and horses and stuff in" rather than family members but Joe said his daughter Sophie was keen to see where her dad worked.

Joe said: "She was taken under their wing by the women in the lifer unit, all of whom I'd known for nearly a year. She enjoyed Cookham, she went to the hairdressing salon first and had her nails done and what have you and then they took her and she did a bit of cooking."

But then, Joe explained, she met up with Hindley. The serial killer had been described as "the most evil woman in Britain" due to her involvement in the sexually-motivated killings of five children alongside Ian Brady between 1963 and 1965.

She was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1966, and her sentence was increased in 1974 after being convicted of plotting to escape from Holloway prison with the help of an officer who had "fallen in love with her".

But despite Hindley's history, Joe said he "trusted her" and allowed her to sit and make a craft project with his daughter in a side room next to the governor's office.

"Then there was a knock on the door," Joe recalled. "I think it was a principal officer or somebody and they said 'Myra's off on her way out and she's wondering if Sophie can go down to the gym she's going down to use the trampoline... in actual fact Myra wasn't going with the principal officer she was going with Nina Wilde who later became her lover."

Wilde was a criminologist who wrote a book defending Hindley for the "monstering" she received after her trial.

She had keys allowing access to and out of the prison's facilities. Joe said that, after Sophie and Hindley had played on the trampoline for a while, Wilde took them out "for a walk in the grounds to look in the pond at the frogs and tadpoles".

While most parents would shudder to think at the idea of leaving their child with a serial killer, Joe maintains that it was a sensible decision and told James English that "if Sophie were here today she'd say the same thing".

A day after Sophie's visit, Hindley wrote a letter thanking her for coming to see her. Enclosing a card picturing a kitten and puppy, Hindley wrote: "It was so nice to meet you yesterday and I hope you will come back soon to teach us some more gymnastics and games."

"I bet your mam is glad you haven't got a pond in your garden because if you put that frog spawn in it like we've got, you would have frogs leaping around the kitchen."

"As you know when I ran away, I'm scared of frogs. But Nina is brave like you because she picked one up - ugh." She signed off with: "God bless you and take care, lots of love, Myra."