Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin's £1.5m donor William E Hampton left money to man on BNP membership list

William E Hampton left money in his will to a man whose address was listed on a leaked membership and contacts list for the BNP
Brendan Hughes

THE reclusive Englishman who left Sinn Féin £1.5m in his will also gave money to a man whose details were included on a leaked BNP membership list.

Retired mechanic William E Hampton bequeathed £1,000 to a man whose address and phone number were included in the list for the far-right British National Party.

Mr Hampton's political donation to Sinn Féin is considered the largest in the north's history.

Friends say the 82-year-old, who had no known links to Sinn Féin or Irish republicanism, bequeathed the record-breaking sum to hit back at the British establishment.

He also left much smaller amounts of money in his will to several named individuals, including Jim White with an address in Essex who received £1,000.

A leaked membership and contacts list for the BNP includes James White and details his phone number and the same address.

The list, published online in 2008, gave details for almost 13,000 people including names, addresses, telephone numbers and jobs.

At the time the BNP blamed an ex-employee for the leak. It said the list dated from 2007 and some of those listed were no longer members.

The Irish News attempted to contact Mr White using the contact number included in the BNP list, but there was no response.

Mr Hampton died in January last year in Pembrokeshire in Wales where he was living in a nursing home.

He had inherited money from his father who had extensive business interests in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire.

Mr Hampton had also bequeathed sums of £1,000 to Labour MP Dennis Skinner and Private Eye investigative journalist Paul Halloran, and £5,000 to Rosalind Morton.

When Mr Hampton penned his will in 1997, his address was listed as 'no fixed abode' and stated he was living in a mobile home in the south-west of Ireland.

It has been reported he had a history of serious mental health problems, and when he died he was suffering from schizoaffective disorder which can cause hallucinations and depression.

The executors and trustees of the will were Sinn Féin's then national treasurers Dessie Mackin and Joe Cahill.

Mr Hampton's ashes were buried last year in a grave plot in Hannahstown Cemetery, west Belfast, in a ceremony attended by former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

His gravestone reads: "True friend of Ireland. Remembered by his friends and comrades in Sinn Féin."

In 2000, Mr Hampton wrote a letter from France saying that Sinn Féin no longer spoke to him "for security reasons".

TUV leader Jim Allister has asked the National Crime Agency to investigate the donation and the origins of Mr Hampton's wealth.

However, Sinn Féin has insisted it complied with all Electoral Commission rules and regulations, with vice-president Michelle O'Neill saying there is "nothing to see here".

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she did not know Mr Hampton but described him as a "rebel with a cause" who "clearly shared our goals".

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