A Cambridge student was left shocked after receiving a letter from a jailed murderer, who tracked her down after she appeared in a carol concert on TV.
Johnnie Allan was able to identify the student, who performed a reading in the Carols from King's service on Christmas Eve, because her name was listed in the BBC's credits.
The 55-year-old is currently residing in maximum security Long Lartin Prison in Worcestershire, where he is serving a life sentence for an £8m drugs conspiracy and the murder of his co-defendant in the original drugs case.
The letter read:
"How you doing? Through the bars of my window I can see some seagulls hovering. Screeching. While two guard dogs leap up in unison. Snapping at the birds as if they are low-flying frisbees!
"As cells go this one is long enough for pacing up and down inside. I can take three steps forward and three steps back. But enough of my sales pitch, as I doubt I can convince you to swap places?
"Hmmm you may wonder what its like inside a max-security prison? A metropolis of men without women. A beehive without honey. Caged loneliness without privacy. A farm where all the sheep are classified as black. A cement park with barbed-wire trees, and an enormous microscope, under which shrinks study the smear from civilisations ulcers.
"This prison is a place of punishment, plain, gladiatorial entertainment, stigma, labels, loss, cover-ups, state secrets, metapathologies and despair.
"Night-time here tends to be a crazy symphony of overlapping sounds: shouting, screaming, banging, snoring, bursts of anger and laughter, mingled with music and nightmares. I can hear some people speak in their dreams to their family and friends who aren't there, to Gods who they feel have ignored their prayers, to demons that torment them.
"I've been incarcerated and cut off from life for the last 18 1/2 years. [sic] Write often watching the blank wall expecting to get nothing, counting and recounting the bricks (142 each side), even having crazy I-spy-with-my-little-eye chats with myself, because for very long periods, the only time I've ever seen another human-being has been: 'clang, clang!' An eight-inch square slot opening in the middle of my door, getting passed my porridge..
"I've meditated on everything I know (about things that happened years ago - small things big things - childhood to adulthood and back again - where had I been right where had I been wrong?) I've sang all the songs I can recall in whole or in part... I've thought about God is there one or many? And why He/She allows so much pain and injustice if He/She is a loving God? (From my perspective, languishing in prison wrongly convicted) I frequently feel like someone has used a cauum cleaner and sucked out the best bits of me!
"Anyway, [redacted name] enough of my unusual introduction. I found you tweaking my imagination after seeing and hearing your beautiful reading at King's College (Christmas Eve) which touched my heart... And trapped inside my concrete cube I decided to send you this speculative (almost message-in-a-bottle) type letter. Taking the million-to-one chance you might be interested to bounce ideas, despite the negative image associated by where I currently live. Maybe my letter could:
a) Spark off a stimulating connection.
b) Make you turn my envelope into a paper aeroplane floating into your wastebin.
"Why am I imprisoned? Well [redacted name] its hard to paint a picture of yourself onto an already blackened canvas. I'm alleged to have organised the important of a large amount of drugs and worse. Still shot someone. However the flipside reality is that after I tried to expose serious high level police corruption I actually became their prime target to silence and cover their ass.
"They fabricated and manipulated evidence using extreme tactics of fear, threat, promise and misinformation utilizing techniques developed during 'PROJECT MKULTRA,' 'KUBARK' and more recently 'Persistent Adversity' methods employed by the CIA."
The letter ends: "What do you study? Tell me a bit about you? What makes you happy?
"Right, the ball’s in your court now. Please write if the feeling takes you. Que sera sera. Over to you. Best wishes regardless, Johnnie."
According to the Daily Mail, the second-year student, who does not wish to be named, said “I was in a state of shock at first.
“I’ve just about got over it now and find it funny. But I do worry for my safety.”
In 2012, it was revealed Allan had struck up a friendship with heiress Eva Rausing, in the final years before she died from a heart attack, caused by years of cocaine addiction.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: “If a member of the public receives unwanted mail from a prisoner and complains, we can and will prevent any further attempts to contact that person.
“Appropriate measures will be taken against anyone who flouts the rules.”