Belfast Telegraph

Man who gave Sinn Fein £1.5m 'had no allegiance' to party

William E Hampton
William E Hampton

A man with serious mental health issues left Sinn Fein £1.5m in his will because he wanted to "annoy the British Government", it has been claimed.

The Times has reported that William E Hampton was not connected to the party and wanted to annoy the government because he believed they were after him for his money.

It emerged last week that Mr Hampton, who died in March 2018, left Sinn Fein the biggest political party donation in the known history of Northern Ireland.

The executors and trustees of his will were Joe Cahill and Dessie Mackin, who were Sinn Fein's national treasurers in 1997. He also left money to Labour MP Dennis Skinner and journalist Paul Halloran.

Since the news broke there have been attempts to clarify who exactly Mr Hampton was and the nature of his relationship with the republican party.

Now one of the other beneficiaries of Mr Hampton's will has shed new light on the English man who handed Sinn Fein such a large windfall.

Rosalind Morton met Mr Hampton at a mental health ward in Barming, Kent when she was suffering from depression.

Mr Hampton had previously run a market stall in the area called 'Bill the Drill'.

The Times claimed that Mr Hampton had been admitted to the ward after cutting off his own penis after being accused of having an affair with a neighbour's wife.

Mr Hampton allegedly marched into his road in Rainham, Kent with a kitchen knife and sliced off his own penis, telling the neighbour “I’ve never touched any woman and I never will”.

He left Mrs Morton £5,000 after befriending her at the hospital and keeping in touch with her over the years.

“He was a lovely man but he had his issues. He believed people were out for his money, the accountants, the government, whoever," she explained.

“He would go off on his own in his caravan and come back once or twice a year to tell us about his adventures. He would go to Thailand and sleep on the streets.

“He had no allegiance to Sinn Fein and I believe he left it to them in an act of mischievousness, he thought he was getting one over on the British government.”

Mr Hampton regularly kept in touch with Mrs Morton and her husband through letters and postcards sent from his travels.

In a letter he wrote in 2001 while living in Wales Mr Hampton said “it was England that kicked me into the hands of Sinn Fein by 15 years of acts of terrorism, fraud, lies and deceits too numerous to mention”.

TUV leader Jim Allister has raised the donation with the National Crime Agency (NCA), while DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, UUP MLA Steve Aiken and SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said there should be more transparency surrounding what is the largest ever donation to a Northern Ireland political party.

It is believed Sinn Fein could be in line for further donations from Mr Hampton as £1,091,605 of his estate is still unaccounted for.

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