Huffpost UK uk

Myra Hindley's Nightie And Rose West's Embroidery: Convicted Murderer Linda Calvey Donates Mementoes To Crime Museum (PICTURES)

Posted: Updated:
MYRA HINDLEY
Straight from the heart: Myra Hindley sent Linda Calvey this (empty) heart shaped box as a gift | Barcroft Media

Source: Barcroft Media

She's a notorious gangster's moll and in the past every man who fell for her has ended up dead or in jail.

But now Linda Calvey, the woman better known as the Black Widow, has donated some of the macabre possessions she accumulated whilst behind bars to a privately-owned crime museum.

Including items given to her by Moors murderer Myra Hindley and serial killer Rose West, the collection went on display at the Crime Through Time Museum at Littledean Jail, Gloucestershire, this week.

Accumulated during the 21-year period Calvey spent behind bars for murder, the collection includes a Christmas card, box of chocolates, cardigan and nightie given to her by Myra Hindley during their time in High Point Prison, Suffolk.

Another disturbing item includes a cushion made by Rose West that Calvey bought in Durham Prison in 1994.

Scroll down for a gallery of exhibits, including Myra Hindley's nightie and cardigan

A cushion made by Rose West (pictured here with her husband Fred) makes up part of the macabre collection

Museum curator, Andy Jones, 50, explains Calvey’s personal connection to these items, and the evil killers they had once belonged to.

“Clothes such as the kaftan and cardigan provide an insight into how Hindley dressed in her final years that will not have been seen before,” said Andy.

“Hindley also gave Linda Christmas cards each year with a personal message in each one.

“There is a heart-shaped box from Hindley, which strangely didn’t include anything inside.

“Rose West’s cushion was bought by Linda.

“It was on sale in the prison shop, but Rose West didn’t receive the money herself as this was against prison policy.

“All the money went back into the prison service.”

Calvey was jailed for killing her lover, Ronnie Cook with a shotgun in 1990, serving 18-and-a-half-years for the murder, which she still denies committing.

She had previously served three years for armed robbery.

The Black Widow insisted she only turned to serious crime after her first husband Mickey Calvey, was shot dead by the Flying Squad during a raid on a supermarket in 1978.

The armed robberies she took part in earned her a reputed £1million.

Calvey met her next lover, gangster Ronnie Cook, when the East End underworld threw her a "benefits" party after Mickey's death.

When Cook himself was jailed for 16 years in 1981 for an £800,000 security van robbery, Calvey claimed he had told her he would understand if she had affairs while he was inside — so long as she did not "flaunt it".

His release in 1990 led to his, and Calvey's, untimely demise.

Calvey’s special position as prison hairdresser, meant that she was forced to spend time with the most dangerous of prisoners, even those such as Hindley and West who were normally forbidden contact with other prisoners.

“Linda Calvey’s first impression of Hindley was that she was cold and evil, she could sense this from the start,” said Andy.

“One prison governor always advised Linda to switch off when the worst prisoners spoke of their crimes.

Myra Hindley, who was jailed alongside Ian Brady for the infamous Moors murders, was held in the same prison as Linda Calvey

“This was to protect Linda’s own sanity. So she held to that advice throughout her prison life.

“Yet Linda was one of the very few inmates Hindley met during her prison term.

“Hindley always tried to get close to Linda, but because of her heinous crimes Linda could never accept that.

“Linda tolerated Hindley, but her view is that no sane person would be friends her or any other child killer.

“She felt she had been imprisoned with a monster and had no choice but to tolerate her presence.”

As well as items from the two female serial killers, Calvey also donated her own items from her time in prison, including cutlery with her name engraved, her passport at the time she was imprisoned and her wedding dress.

“The Myra Hindley and Rose West items were all personal possessions from Linda Calvey’s cell during her time in prison,” said Andy.

“She wanted to get rid of the Myra Hindley items even though they were gifted to her.

“It’s only in recent months that she was having a clear out that she noticed the items, and she was horrified they were still in her possession.

“Linda decided to get rid of them by giving them to an acquaintance who in turn gifted them to the museum.”

Calvey, who was released in 2008, categorically denies receiving any monetary proceeds from her robberies.

“Linda strongly felt she was imprisoned unfairly for a crime she claims she didn’t commit,” said Andy.

“She has always put her hands up to previous crimes she’s committed, and if she had murdered her lover she would have had no problem serving the time the full 18 years she was given.

“She was offered a reduced prison term of seven years by the Home Office if she admitted the murder.

“But she could not accept that on a point of principle because of her innocence – instead she stubbornly chose to do the full 18-year prison term.

“The conditions were very tough and she liked to help a lot of the younger female inmates settle down in what was a very hard environment for any inmate."

Andy’s Museum is unique as Britain’s only true crime collection that is open to the public.

Calvey, aka 'The Black Widow', poses by some of the exhibits dedicated to her at Littledean Jail - including her wedding dress

The only comparable collection is the Black Museum in New Scotland Yard, which is only open to authorised police and government staff and considerably smaller than Littledean Jail.

"We are very politically incorrect here," said Andy.

"There is a great deal of disturbing and graphic exhibit material here including items from British and American serial killers, the hangman's noose used on the failed attempt to execute John "Babbacombe" Lee, Nazi Holocaust and death camp uniforms, The Krays, Freaks of Nature, to Amy Winehouse and Russell Brand," said Andy.

“Our building is a former-Victorian house of jail and correction and the perfect location to show our exhibits.

“But many of our collections are very taboo so we take great care in advising visitors who are easily offended or are of a sensitive nature are warned to avoid Littledean Jail.

"True crime, sleaze and scandal are sensitive and unpleasant subject to cover and as such are not presented here in a pleasant manner."

Three years ago this week, Calvey married her latest husband, 79-year-old businessman George Ceasar.

The couple remain happily married.

To date.

Also on The Huffington Post

of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction