A WOMAN is keeping her fingers crossed letters written by a North-East serial killer while in prison will still go on public display despite being unable to raise the cash needed to buy them.

Victoria House had been searching for someone to pay £4,000 for the eight notes penned by Mary Ann Cotton, of West Auckland, County Durham, after they appeared for sale on the internet.

Unfortunately no-one able to offer the full amount came forward so Miss House has got in touch with those who had already registered an interest with the seller on eBay in a last-ditch attempt to put them on public display in the County Durham Records Office.

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Cotton is notorious for killing an estimated 22 people by arsenic poisoning and was hanged after her conviction at Durham Assizes in 1873 for murdering her stepson, but her other victims included her children, husbands and boyfriends, many of whom had insurance policies.

The letters were written from her prison cell as she awaited execution.

Miss House said: “I have told all of those involved how I feel about it. Basically they should go back to County Durham but it could be that we don’t see them for a long time.

“It is out of my hands now. I have done what I can. I am just waiting to hear.”