Infamous multiple murderer Donald Neilson, dubbed the Black Panther, may be moved to a unit for terminally-ill inmates amid reports he is on the verge of death.

Neilson, now 72, a builder from Bradford, was jailed for life in 1976 for the murders of three sub-postmasters and the kidnap and murder of heiress Lesley Whittle.

Last year Neilson, who has developed Motor Neurone Disease whilst in prison, was told that the whole life tariff handed down to him would not be lifted.

He is currently serving his sentence at Full Sutton prison near York, where it is reported that he is confined to the prison hospital.

However it has been suggested that the killer may now be moved to HMP Norwich which has a specialist unit for dealing with seriously ill prisoners.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “We do not comment on specific cases but L-Wing at HMP Norwich holds prisoners with terminal illnesses who are serving lengthy sentences or who will not be released.”

Neilson, born Donald Nappey, carried out a series of armed raids on post offices across Yorkshire and Lancashire between 1967 and 1974.

In 1974, during a raid on a post office in Harrogate, Neilson shot and killed sub postmaster Donald Skepper.

Six months later he killed Derek Astin during another post office raid, this time in Accrington.

In the same year he struck again and yet another postal worker, Sidney Grayland, was killed.

Apparently the money from the post office raids was not enough for Neilson who graduated to kidnapping.

In January, 1975, he abducted 17-year-old Shropshire heiress Lesley Whittle, who had recently inherited over £80,000, at gunpoint from her family home.

He left a ransom demand for £50,000 on a box of chocolates.

He took his captive to a disused drainage shaft at a beauty spot in Kidsgrove, Staffordshire.

She was kept there, naked, and with a wire noose fastened around her neck.

It was two months before her body was found. A post mortem concluded that she had been killed within 48 hours of her kidnap. Neilson was eventually apprehended in dramatic fashion after being observed acting suspiciously outside a Post Office in Mansfield by two police officers.

On questioning he pulled a sawn-off shotgun from his coat and took the two officers hostage. The officers were eventually able to overpower Neilson with the assistance of members of the public.