Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.










A.K.A.: "The Moors Murderer" - "The most evil woman in Britain"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: July 1963 - October 1965
Date of arrest: October 11, 1965
Date of birth: July 23, 1942
Victims profile: Pauline Reade, 16 / John Kilbride, 12 / Keith Bennett, 12 / Lesley Ann Downey, 10 / Edward Evans, 17
Method of murder: Cutting the throat / Strangulation with a piece of string
Location: Greater Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to two concurrent life sentences on May 6, 1966. Died in prison on November 16, 2002
photo gallery 1 photo gallery 2
photo gallery 3 photo gallery 4
The victims

Myra Hindley was an English serial killer. In partnership with Ian Brady, she committed the rapes and murders of five small children. Hindley's 17-year-old brother-in-law tipped her off to the police. Hindley plead not guilty to all of the murders. She was found guilty of three murders and was jailed for life. She was never released, and died in prison in 2002.

Early life

Born on July 23, 1942 in Manchester, England, Myra Hindley grew up with her grandmother. After the drowning death of a close male friend when she was 15, Hindley left school and converted to Roman Catholicism. In 1961, she met Ian Brady, a stock clerk who was recently released from prison. She fell in love with him, and soon gave herself over to his total control.


Testing her blind allegiance, Brady hatched plans of rape and murder. In July 1963, they claimed their first victim, Pauline Reade. Four months later, 12-year-old John Kilbride disappeared, never to be seen again. In June 1964, 12-year-old Keith Bennett followed. On the afternoon of Boxing Day, 1964, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey disappeared from a local fairground.

Finally, in October 1965, police were alerted to the duo by Hindley's 17-year-old brother-in-law, David Smith. Smith had witnessed Brady killing 17-year-old Edward Evans with an axe, concealing his horror for fear of meeting a similar fate. Smith then went to the police with his story, including Brady having mentioned that more bodies were buried on Saddleworth Moor.

Hindley and Ian Brady were brought to trial on April 27, 1966, where they pleaded not guilty to the murders of Edward Evans, Lesley Ann Downey, and John Kilbride. Brady was found guilty of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey, John Kilbride, and Edward Evans, while Hindley was found guilty of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, and also for harboring Brady, in the knowledge that he had killed John Kilbride. They were both jailed for life.

In 1970, Hindley severed all contact with Brady and, still professing her innocence, began a lifelong campaign to regain her freedom. In 1987, Hindley again became the center of media attention, with the public release of her full confession, in which she admitted her involvement in all five murders. Her subsequent applications for parole were denied. She died of respiratory failure on November 16, 2002.


The Moors murders

The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around what is now Greater Manchester, England. The victims were five children aged between 10 and 17—Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans—at least four of whom were sexually assaulted.

The murders are so named because two of the victims were discovered in graves dug on Saddleworth Moor; a third grave was discovered on the moor in 1987, over 20 years after Brady and Hindley's trial in 1966. The body of a fourth victim, Keith Bennett, is also suspected to be buried there. Despite repeated searches of the area, it remains undiscovered.

The police were initially aware of only three killings, those of Edward Evans, Lesley Ann Downey, and John Kilbride. The investigation was reopened in 1985, after Brady was reported in the press as having confessed to the murders of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett. Brady and Hindley were taken separately to Saddleworth Moor to assist the police in their search for the graves, both by then having confessed to the additional murders.

Characterised by the press as "the most evil woman in Britain", Hindley made several appeals against her life sentence, claiming she was a reformed woman and no longer a danger to society, but she was never released. She died in 2002, aged 60. Brady was declared criminally insane in 1985, since when he has been confined in the high-security Ashworth Hospital. He has made it clear that he never wants to be released, and has repeatedly asked that he be allowed to die.

The murders, reported in almost every English-language newspaper in the world, were the result of what Malcolm MacCulloch, professor of forensic psychiatry at Cardiff University, called a "concatenation of circumstances", which brought together a "young woman with a tough personality, taught to hand out and receive violence from an early age" and a "sexually sadistic psychopath.


The full extent of Brady and Hindley's killing spree did not come to light until their confessions in 1985, as both had until then maintained their innocence. Their first victim was 16-year-old Pauline Reade, a neighbour of Hindley's who disappeared on her way to a dance in Crumpsall on 12 July 1963. That evening, Brady told Hindley that he wanted to "commit his perfect murder". He told her to drive her van around the local area while he followed behind on his motorcycle; when he spotted a likely victim he would flash his headlight, and Hindley was to stop and offer that person a lift.

Driving down Gorton Lane, Brady saw a young girl walking towards them, and signalled Hindley to stop, which she did not do until she had passed the girl. Brady drew up alongside on his motorbike, demanding to know why she had not offered the girl a lift, to which Hindley replied that she recognised her as Marie Ruck, a near neighbour of her mother. Shortly after 8:00 pm, continuing down Froxmer Street, Brady spotted a girl wearing a pale blue coat and white high heeled shoes walking away from them, and once again signalled for the van to stop.

Hindley recognised the girl as Pauline Reade, a friend of her younger sister, Maureen. Reade got into the van with Hindley, who then asked if she would mind helping to search for an expensive glove she had lost on Saddleworth Moor. Reade said she was in no great hurry, and agreed. At 16, Pauline Reade was older than Marie Ruck, and Hindley realised that there would be less of a hue and cry over the disappearance of a teenager than there would over a seven or eight-year-old child. When the van reached the moor, Hindley stopped and Brady arrived shortly afterwards on his motorcycle. She introduced him to Reade as her boyfriend, and said that he had also come to help find the missing glove. Brady took Reade onto the moor while Hindley waited in the van. After about 30 minutes Brady returned alone, and took Hindley to the spot where Reade lay dying, her throat cut. He told her to stay with Reade while he fetched a spade he had hidden nearby on a previous visit to the moor, to bury the body. Hindley noticed that "Pauline's coat was undone and her clothes were in disarray ... She had guessed from the time he had taken that Brady had sexually assaulted her." Returning home from the moor in the van—they had loaded the motorcycle into the back—Brady and Hindley passed Reade's mother, Joan, accompanied by her son, Paul, searching the streets for Pauline.

Hindley approached twelve-year-old John Kilbride on 23 November 1963, at a market in Ashton-under-Lyne, and asked him to help her carry some boxes. Brady was sitting in the back of a Ford Anglia car that Hindley had hired. When they reached the moor, Brady took the child with him while Hindley waited in the car. Brady sexually assaulted Kilbride and attempted to slit his throat with a six-inch serrated blade before fatally strangling him with a piece of string, possibly a shoelace.

Twelve-year-old Keith Bennett vanished on his way to his grandmother's house in Longsight during the early evening of 16 June 1964, four days after his birthday. Hindley lured him into her Mini pick-up—which Brady was sitting in the back of—by asking for the boy's help in loading some boxes, after which she said she would drive him home. She drove to a lay-by on Saddleworth Moor as she and Brady had previously arranged, and Brady went off with Bennett, supposedly looking for a lost glove. Hindley kept watch, and after about 30 minutes or so Brady reappeared, alone and carrying a spade that he had hidden there earlier. When Hindley asked how he had killed Bennett, Brady said that he had sexually assaulted the boy and strangled him with a piece of string.

Brady and Hindley visited a fairground on 26 December 1964 in search of another victim, and noticed 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey standing beside one of the rides. When it became apparent that she was on her own, they approached her and deliberately dropped some of the shopping they were carrying close to her, before asking for the girl's help to carry some of the packages to their car, and then to their home. Once inside the house Downey was undressed, gagged, and forced to pose for photographs before being raped and fatally strangled with a piece of string. Hindley maintained that she went to draw a bath for the child and found the girl dead (presumably killed by Brady) when she returned. The following morning Brady and Hindley drove with Downey's body to Saddleworth Moor, where she was buried, naked with her clothes at her feet, in a shallow grave.

On 6 October 1965 Brady met 17-year-old apprentice engineer Edward Evans at Manchester Central railway station and invited him to his home at 16 Wardle Brook Avenue in Hattersley, where Brady beat him to death with an axe.

Initial report

The attack on Edward Evans was witnessed by Hindley's 17-year-old brother-in-law, David Smith, the husband of her younger sister Maureen. The Hindley family had not approved of Maureen's marriage to Smith, who had several criminal convictions, including actual bodily harm and housebreaking, the first of which, wounding with intent, occurred when he was aged eleven.

Throughout the previous year Brady had been cultivating a friendship with Smith, who had become "in awe" of the older man, something that increasingly worried Hindley, as she felt it compromised their safety. Shortly before Evans' murder Brady announced to her that he and Smith intended "to roll over a queer".

On the evening of 6 October 1965 Hindley drove Brady to Manchester Central Station, where she waited outside in the car while he selected their victim; after a few minutes Brady reappeared in the company of Edward Evans, to whom he introduced Hindley as his sister. After they had driven back home and relaxed over a bottle of wine, Brady sent Hindley to fetch her brother-in-law. When they got back to the house Hindley told Smith to wait outside for her signal, a flashing light. When the signal came Smith knocked on the door and was met by Brady, who asked if he had come for "the miniature wine bottles". A few minutes later Hindley, who had gone into the kitchen to feed her dogs, heard Brady struggling with Evans and saw Smith standing by the front door. She shouted for him to go and help, and Smith entered the room to find Brady repeatedly striking Evans with the flat of an axe. He watched as Brady then throttled Evans with a length of electrical cord. Evans' body was too heavy for Smith to carry to the car on his own—Brady had sprained his ankle in the struggle—so they wrapped it in plastic sheeting and put it in the spare bedroom.

Smith agreed to meet Brady the following evening to dispose of Evans' body, but after returning home he woke his wife and told her what he had seen. Maureen told him that he must call the police. Three hours later the couple cautiously made their way to a public phone box in the street below their flat, Smith taking the precaution of arming himself with a screwdriver and a kitchen knife to defend them in the event that Brady suddenly appeared and confronted them. At 6:07 am Smith made an emergency services call to the police station in nearby Hyde and told his story to the officer on duty. In his statement to the police Smith claimed that:

[Brady] opened the door and he said in a very loud voice for him [...] "Do you want those miniatures?" I nodded my head to say yes and he led me into the kitchen [...] and he gave me three miniature bottles of spirits and said: "Do you want the rest?" When I first walked into the house, the door to the living room [...] was closed. [...] Ian went into the living room and I waited in the kitchen. I waited about a minute or two then suddenly I heard a hell of a scream; it sounded like a woman, really high-pitched. Then the screams carried on, one after another really loud. Then I heard Myra shout, "Dave, help him," very loud. When I ran in I just stood inside the living room and I saw a young lad. He was lying with his head and shoulders on the couch and his legs were on the floor. He was facing upwards. Ian was standing over him, facing him, with his legs on either side of the young lad's legs. The lad was still screaming. [...] Ian had a hatchet in his hand [...] he was holding it above his head and he hit the lad on the left side of his head with the hatchet. I heard the blow, it was a terrible hard blow, it sounded horrible."


Early on the morning of 7 October, shortly after Smith's call, Superintendent Bob Talbot of the Cheshire Police arrived at the back door of 16 Wardle Brook Avenue, wearing a borrowed baker's overall to cover his uniform. Talbot identified himself to Hindley as a police officer when she opened the door, and told her that he wanted to speak to her boyfriend. Hindley led him into the living room, where Brady was sitting up in a divan writing a note to his employer explaining that he would not be able to get into work because of his ankle injury. Talbot explained that he was investigating "an act of violence involving guns" that was reported to have taken place the previous evening.

Hindley denied that there had been any violence, and allowed police to look around the house. When they came to the upstairs room in which Evans' body was stored the police found the door locked, and asked Brady for the key. Hindley claimed that the key was at work, but after the police offered to drive her to her employer's premises to retrieve it, Brady told her to hand the key over. When they returned to the living room the police told Brady that they had discovered a trussed up body, and that he was being arrested on suspicion of murder. As Brady was getting dressed, he said "Eddie and I had a row and the situation got out of hand."

Hindley was not arrested with Brady, but she demanded to go with him to the police station, accompanied by her dog Puppet, to which the police agreed. Hindley was questioned about the events surrounding Evans' death, but she refused to make any statement beyond claiming that it had been an accident.

As the police had no evidence that Hindley was involved in Evans' murder she was allowed to go home, on condition that she return the next day for further questioning. Hindley was at liberty for four days following Brady's arrest, during which time she went to her employer's premises and asked to be dismissed, so that she would be eligible for unemployment benefits. While in the office where Brady worked she found some papers belonging to him in an envelope that she claimed she did not open, which she burned in an ashtray. She believed that they were plans for bank robberies, nothing to do with the murders. On 11 October Hindley was charged as an accessory to the murder of Edward Evans and was remanded at Risley.

Initial investigation

Brady admitted under police questioning that he and Evans had fought, but insisted that he and Smith had murdered Evans between them; Hindley, he said, had "only done what she had been told". Smith told police that Brady and Hindley had hidden evidence in two suitcases stored in a left-luggage office somewhere in Manchester. British Transport Police were asked to search all of Manchester's stations, and on 15 October found what they were looking for—police later found the left-luggage ticket in the back of Hindley's prayer book.

Inside one of the cases were nine pornographic photographs taken of a young girl, naked and with a scarf tied across her mouth, and a 13-minute tape recording of her screaming and pleading for help. Ann Downey, Lesley Ann Downey's mother, later listened to the tape after police had discovered the body of her missing 10-year-old daughter, and confirmed that it was a recording of her daughter's voice.

Police searching the house at Wardle Brook Avenue also found an old exercise book in which the name "John Kilbride" had been scribbled, which made them suspicious that Brady and Hindley may have been involved in the unsolved disappearances of other youngsters. A large collection of photographs was discovered in the house, many of which seemed to have been taken on Saddleworth Moor. One hundred and fifty officers were drafted to search the moor, looking for locations that matched the photographs.

Initially the search was concentrated along the A628 road near Woodhead, but a close neighbour, 11-year-old Pat Hodges, had on several occasions been taken to the moor by Brady and Hindley and she was able to point out their favourite sites along the A635 road.

On 16 October police found an arm bone sticking out of the peat; officers presumed that they'd found the body of John Kilbride, but soon discovered that the body was that of Lesley Ann Downey. Ann Downey—later Ann West after her marriage to Alan West—had been on the moor watching as the police conducted their search, but was not present when the body was found. She was shown clothing recovered from the grave, and identified it as belonging to her missing daughter.

Detectives were able to locate another site on the opposite side of the A635 road from where Downey's body was discovered, and five days later they found the "badly decomposed" body of John Kilbride, whom they identified by his clothing. That same day, already being held for the murder of Evans, Brady and Hindley appeared at Hyde Magistrate's Court charged with Lesley Ann Downey's murder. Each was brought before the court separately and remanded into custody for a week. They made a two-minute appearance on 28 October, and were again remanded into custody.

The search for bodies continued, but with winter setting in it was called off in November. Presented with the evidence of the tape recording Brady admitted to taking the photographs of Lesley Ann Downey, but insisted that she had been brought to Wardle Brook Avenue by two men who had subsequently taken her away again, alive. Brady was further charged with the murder of John Kilbride, and Hindley with the murder of Edward Evans, on 2 December.

At the committal hearing on 6 December Brady was charged with the murders of Edward Evans, John Kilbride, and Lesley Ann Downey, and Hindley with the murders of Edward Evans and Lesley Ann Downey, as well as with harbouring Brady in the knowledge that he had killed John Kilbride. The prosecution's opening statement was held in camera, and the defence asked for a similar stipulation, but was refused. The proceedings continued in front of three magistrates in Hyde over an 11-day period during December, at the end of which the pair were committed for trial at Chester Assizes.

Many of the photographs taken by Brady and Hindley on the moor featured Hindley's dog Puppet, sometimes as a puppy. Detectives arranged for the animal to be examined by a veterinary surgeon to determine its age, from which they could date when the pictures were taken. The examination involved an analysis of the dog's teeth, which required a general anaesthetic from which Puppet did not recover, as he suffered from an undiagnosed kidney complaint. On hearing the news of her dog's death Hindley became furious, and accused the police of murdering Puppet, one of the few occasions detectives witnessed any emotional response from her. In a letter to her mother shortly afterwards Hindley wrote:

I feel as though my heart's been torn to pieces. I don't think anything could hurt me more than this has. The only consolation is that some moron might have got hold of Puppet and hurt him.


The trial was held over 14 days beginning on 19 April 1966, in front of Mr Justice Fenton Atkinson. Such was the public interest that the courtroom was fitted with security screens to protect Brady and Hindley. The pair were each charged with three murders, those of Evans, Downey, and Kilbride, as it was considered that there was by then sufficient evidence to implicate Hindley in Kilbride's death. The prosecution was led by the Attorney General, Frederick Elwyn Jones. Brady was defended by the Liberal Member of Parliament Emlyn Hooson, and Hindley was defended by Godfrey Heilpern, recorder of Salford from 1964—both experienced QCs.

David Smith was the chief prosecution witness, but during the trial it was revealed that he had entered into an agreement with a newspaper that he initially refused to name—even under intense questioning—guaranteeing him £1,000 (equivalent to about £10,000 as of 2011) for the syndication rights to his story if Brady and Hindley were convicted, something the trial judge described as a "gross interference with the course of justice". Smith finally admitted in court that the newspaper was the News of the World, which had already paid for a holiday in France for him and his wife and was paying him a regular income of £20 per week, as well as accommodating him in a five-star hotel for the duration of the trial.

Brady and Hindley pleaded not guilty to the charges against them; both were called to give evidence, Brady for over eight hours and Hindley for six. Although Brady admitted to hitting Evans with an axe, he did not admit to killing him, arguing that the pathologist in his report had stated that Evans' death was "accelerated by strangulation". Under cross-examination by the prosecuting counsel, all Brady would admit was that "I hit Evans with the axe. If he died from axe blows, I killed him." Hindley denied any knowledge that the photographs of Saddleworth Moor found by police had been taken near the graves of their victims.

The tape recording of Lesley Anne Downey, on which the voices of Brady and Hindley were clearly audible, was played in open court. Hindley admitted that her attitude towards the child was "brusque and cruel", but claimed that was only because she was afraid that someone might hear Downey screaming. Hindley claimed that when Downey was being undressed she herself was "downstairs"; when the pornographic photographs were taken she was "looking out the window"; and that when the child was being strangled she "was running a bath".

On 6 May, after having deliberated for a little over two hours, the jury found Brady guilty of all three murders and Hindley guilty of the murders of Downey and Evans. The Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act had come into force during the time that Brady and Hindley were held in prison, abolishing the death penalty for murder, and therefore the judge passed the only sentence that the law allowed: life imprisonment. Brady was sentenced to three concurrent life sentences and Hindley was given two, plus a concurrent seven-year term for harbouring Brady in the knowledge that he had murdered John Kilbride. Brady was taken to Durham Prison and Hindley was sent to Holloway Prison.

In his closing remarks Mr Justice Atkinson described the murders as a "truly horrible case" and condemned the accused as "two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity". He recommended that both Brady and Hindley spend "a very long time" in prison before being considered for parole but did not stipulate a tariff. He stated that Brady was "wicked beyond belief" and that he saw no reasonable possibility of reform. He did not consider that the same was necessarily true of Hindley, "once she is removed from [Brady's] influence". Throughout the trial Brady and Hindley "stuck rigidly to their strategy of lying", and Hindley was later described as "a quiet, controlled, impassive witness who lied remorselessly.

Later investigation

In 1985 Brady allegedly confessed to Fred Harrison, a journalist working for The Sunday People, that he had also been responsible for the murders of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett, something that the police already suspected, as both children lived in the same area as Brady and Hindley and had disappeared at about the same time as their other victims. The subsequent newspaper reports prompted the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to reopen the case, in an investigation headed by Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Topping, who had been appointed Head of GMP's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) the previous year.

On 3 July 1985 Topping visited Brady, then being held at Gartree Prison, but found him "scornful of any suggestion that he had confessed to more murders". Police nevertheless decided to resume their search of Saddleworth Moor, once more using the photographs taken by Brady and Hindley to help them identify possible burial sites. Meanwhile, in November 1986 Winnie Johnson, Keith Bennett's mother, wrote a letter to Hindley begging to know what had happened to her son, a letter that Hindley seemed to be "genuinely moved" by. It ended:

I am a simple woman, I work in the kitchens of Christie's Hospital. It has taken me five weeks labour to write this letter because it is so important to me that it is understood by you for what it is, a plea for help. Please, Miss Hindley, help me.

Police visited Hindley, then being held in Cookham Wood, a few days after she had received the letter, and although she refused to admit any involvement in the killings, she agreed to help by looking at photographs and maps to try to identify spots that she had visited with Brady. She showed particular interest in photographs of the area around Hollin Brown Knoll and Shiny Brook, but said that it was impossible to be sure of the locations without visiting the moor. The security considerations for such a visit were significant; there were threats made against her should she visit the moors, but Home Secretary Douglas Hurd agreed with Topping that it would be worth the risk.

Writing in 1989, Topping said that he felt "quite cynical" about Hindley's motivation in helping the police. Although the letter from Winnie Johnson may have played a part, he believed that Hindley's real concern was that, knowing of Brady's "precarious" mental state, she was afraid that he might decide to co-operate with the police, and wanted to make certain that she, and not Brady, was the one to gain whatever benefit there may have been in terms of public approval.

Hindley made the first of two visits to assist the police search of Saddleworth Moor on 16 December 1986. Four police cars left Cookham Wood at 4.30 am. At about the same time, police closed all roads onto the moor, which was patrolled by 200 officers, 40 of them armed. Hindley and her solicitor arrived by helicopter from an airfield near Maidstone, touching down at 8.30 am. Wearing a donkey jacket and balaclava, she was driven, and walked around the area. It was difficult for Hindley to make a connection between her memories of the area and what she saw on the day, and she was apparently nervous of the helicopters flying overhead. At 3:00 pm she was returned to the helicopter, and taken back to Cookham Wood. Topping was criticised by the press, who described the visit as a "fiasco", a "publicity stunt", and a "mindless waste of money". He was forced to defend the visit, pointing out its benefits:

We had taken the view that we needed a thorough systematic search of the moor [...] It would never have been possible to carry out such a search in private.

Topping continued to visit Hindley in prison, along with her solicitor Michael Fisher and her spiritual counsellor, the Reverend Peter Timms, who had been a prison governor before resigning to become a minister in the Methodist Church. She made a formal confession to police on 10 February 1987, admitting her involvement in all five murders, but news of her confession was not made public for more than a month. The tape recording of her statement was over 17 hours long; Topping described it as a "very well worked out performance in which, I believe, she told me just as much as she wanted me to know, and no more". He also commented that he "was struck by the fact that she was never there when the killings took place. She was in the car, over the brow of the hill, in the bathroom and even, in the case of the Evans murder, in the kitchen." Topping concluded that he felt he "had witnessed a great performance rather than a genuine confession".

Police visited Brady in prison again and told him of Hindley's confession, which at first he refused to believe. Once presented with some of the details that Hindley had provided of Pauline Reade's abduction, Brady decided that he too was prepared to confess, but on one condition: that immediately afterwards he be given the means to commit suicide, a request that was impossible for the authorities to comply with.

At about the same time, Winnie Johnson sent Hindley another letter, again pleading with her to assist the police in finding the body of her son Keith. In the letter, Johnson was sympathetic to Hindley over the criticism surrounding her first visit. Hindley, who had not replied to the first letter, responded by thanking Johnson for both letters, explaining that her decision not to reply to the first resulted from the negative publicity that surrounded it. She claimed that, had Johnson written to her 14 years earlier, she would have confessed and helped the police. She also paid tribute to Topping, and thanked Johnson for her sincerity.

Hindley made her second visit to the moor in March 1987. This time, the level of security surrounding her visit was considerably higher. She stayed overnight in Manchester, at the flat of the police chief in charge of GMP training at Sedgley Park, and visited the moor twice. She confirmed to police that the two areas in which they were concentrating their search—Hollin Brown Knoll and Hoe Grain—were correct, although she was unable to locate either of the graves. She did later remember, though, that as Pauline Reade was being buried she had been sitting next to her on a patch of grass and could see the rocks of Hollin Brown Knoll silhouetted against the night sky.

In April 1987 news of Hindley's confession became public. Amidst strong media interest Lord Longford pleaded for her release, writing that her continuing detention to satisfy "mob emotion" was not right. Fisher persuaded Hindley to release a public statement, in which she explained her reasons for denying her complicity in the murders, her religious experiences in prison, the letter from Johnson, and that she saw no possibility of release. She also exonerated David Smith from any part in the murders, except that of Edward Evans.

Over the next few months interest in the search waned, but Hindley's clue had directed the police to focus their efforts on a specific area. On the afternoon of 1 July 1987, after more than 100 days of searching, they found a body lying in a shallow grave 3 feet (0.9 m) below the surface, only 100 yards (90 m) from the place where Lesley Ann Downey had been found. Brady had been co-operating with the police for some time, and when news reached him that Reade's body had been discovered he made a formal confession to Topping. He also issued a statement to the press, through his solicitor, saying that he too was prepared to help the police in their search. Brady was taken to the moor on 3 July, but he seemed to lose his bearings, blaming changes that had taken place in the intervening years, and the search was called off at 3:00 pm, by which time a large crowd of press and television reporters had gathered on the moor.

Topping refused to allow Brady a second visit to the moors, and a few days after his visit Brady wrote a letter to BBC television reporter Peter Gould, giving some sketchy details of five additional murders that he claimed to have carried out. Brady refused to identify his alleged victims, and the police failed to discover any unsolved crimes matching the few details that he supplied. Hindley told Topping that she knew nothing of these killings.

On 24 August 1987 police called off their search of Saddleworth Moor, despite not having found Keith Bennett's body. Brady was taken to the moor for a second time on 1 December, but he was once again unable to locate the burial site. Keith Bennett's body remains undiscovered as of 2011, although his family continues to search the moor, over 40 years after his disappearance.

Although Brady and Hindley had confessed to the murders of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett, the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided that nothing would be gained by a further trial; as both were already serving life sentences no further punishment could be inflicted, and a second trial might even have helped Hindley's case for parole by giving her a platform from which to make a public confession.

In 2003 the police launched Operation Maida, and again searched the moor for the body of Keith Bennett. They read statements from Brady and Hindley, and also studied photographs taken by the pair. Their search was aided by the use of sophisticated modern equipment, including a US satellite used to look for evidence of soil movement. The BBC reported on 1 July 2009 that Greater Manchester Police had officially given up the search for Keith Bennett, saying that "only a major scientific breakthrough or fresh evidence would see the hunt for his body restart".

Detectives were also reported as saying that they would never again give Brady the attention or the thrill of leading another fruitless search on the moor where they believe Keith Bennett's remains are buried. Donations from members of the public funded a search of the moor for Bennett's body by volunteers from a Welsh search and rescue team that began in March 2010.

On 30 July 2012 police received information that Brady may have given details of the location of Keith Bennett's body to one of his visitors. On 16 August a 49-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of preventing the burial of a body without lawful excuse. Police said that investigations are ongoing.

Perpetrators' backgrounds

Ian Brady

Ian Brady was born in Glasgow as Ian Duncan Stewart on 2 January 1938 to Maggie Stewart, an unmarried 28-year-old tea room waitress. The identity of Brady's father has never been reliably ascertained, although his mother claimed he was a reporter working for a Glasgow newspaper, who died three months before Brady was born. Stewart had little support, and after a few months was forced to give her son into the care of Mary and John Sloan, a local couple with four children of their own. Brady took their name, and became known as Ian Sloan. His mother continued to visit him throughout his childhood. As a young child he took pleasure in torturing animals; he broke the hind legs of one dog, set fire to another, and decapitated a cat.

Aged nine, Brady visited Loch Lomond with his family, where he reportedly discovered an affinity for the outdoors, and a few months later the family moved to a new council house on an overspill estate at Pollok. He was accepted for Shawlands Academy, a school for above average pupils. As he grew older Brady's "brutality escalated", and soon he was hurting children smaller than himself. At Shawlands his behaviour worsened; as a teenager he twice appeared before a juvenile court for housebreaking. He left the academy aged 15, and took a job as a tea boy at a Harland and Wolff shipyard in Govan. Nine months later he began working as a butcher's messenger boy. He had a girlfriend, Evelyn Grant, but their relationship ended when he threatened her with a flick knife after she visited a dance with another boy. He again appeared before the court, this time with nine charges against him, and shortly before his 17th birthday a court put him on probation on the condition that he went to live with his mother, who had by then moved to Manchester and married an Irish fruit merchant named Pat Brady, who got him a job as a fruit porter at Smithfield Market.

Within a year of moving to Manchester, Brady was caught with a sack full of lead seals he had stolen and was trying to smuggle out of the market. Because he was still under 18, he was sentenced to two years in borstal for "training". He was initially sent to Hatfield but after being discovered drunk on alcohol he had brewed he was moved to the much tougher unit at Hull.

Released on 14 November 1957 Brady returned to Manchester, where he took a labouring job, which he hated, and was dismissed from another job in a brewery. Deciding to "better himself", Brady obtained a set of instruction manuals on book-keeping from a local public library, with which he "astonished" his parents by studying alone in his room for hours. In early 1959, just three months after being released from borstal, Brady applied for and was offered a clerical job at Millwards Merchandising, a wholesale chemical distribution company based in Gorton. He was regarded by his work colleagues as a quiet, punctual, but short-tempered young man. He read books such as Teach Yourself German, and Mein Kampf, as well as works on Nazi atrocities. He rode a Tiger Cub motorcycle, which he used to visit the Pennines.

Myra Hindley

Myra Hindley (born 23 July 1942) was brought up in Gorton, then a working class area of Manchester, the daughter of Nellie and Bob Hindley. Her mother and alcoholic father beat her regularly as a young child. The small house the family lived in was in such poor condition that Hindley and her parents had to sleep in the only available bedroom, she in a single bed next to her parents' double. The family's living conditions deteriorated further when Hindley's sister, Maureen, was born in 1946. Shortly after the birth, Hindley, then aged five, was sent by her parents to live with her grandmother, who lived nearby.

Hindley's father had fought in North Africa, Cyprus, and Italy during the Second World War, and had served with the Parachute Regiment. He had been known in the army as a "hard man" and he expected his daughter to be equally tough; he taught her how to fight, and insisted that she "stick up for herself". When Hindley was aged 8, a local boy approached her in the street and scratched both of her cheeks with his fingernails, drawing blood. She burst into tears and ran into her parents' house, to be met by her father, who demanded that she "Go and punch him [the boy], because if you don't I'll leather you!" Hindley found the boy and succeeded in knocking him down with a sequence of punches, as her father had taught her. As she wrote later, "at eight years old I'd scored my first victory".

Malcolm MacCulloch, professor of forensic psychiatry at Cardiff University, has suggested that the fight, and the part that Hindley's father played in it, may be "key pieces of evidence" in trying to understand Hindley's role in the Moors murders:

The relationship with her father brutalised her [...] She was not only used to violence in the home but rewarded for it outside. When this happens at a young age it can distort a person's reaction to such situations for life.

One of her closest friends was 13-year-old Michael Higgins, who lived in a nearby street. In June 1957 he invited her to go swimming with friends at a local disused reservoir. A good swimmer, Hindley chose not to go and instead went out with a friend, Pat Jepson. Higgins drowned in the reservoir, and upon learning of his fate Hindley was deeply upset, and blamed herself for his death. She collected for a funeral wreath, and his funeral at St Francis's Monastery in Gorton Lane—the church where Hindley had been baptised a Catholic on 16 August 1942—had a lasting effect on her. Hindley's mother had only agreed to her father's insistence that she be baptised a Catholic on the condition that she was not sent to a Catholic school, as her mother believed that "all the monks taught was the catechism".

Hindley was increasingly drawn to the Catholic Church after she started at Ryder Brow Secondary Modern, and began taking instruction for formal reception into the Church soon after Higgins's funeral. She took the confirmation name of Veronica, and received her first communion in November 1958. She also became a Godparent to Michael's nephew, Anthony John. It was also at about this time that Hindley first began bleaching her hair.

Hindley's first job was as a junior clerk at a local electrical engineering firm. She ran errands, made tea, and typed. She was well liked at the firm, enough so that when she lost her first week's wage packet, the other girls had a collection to replace it. She had a short relationship with Ronnie Sinclair from Christmas 1958, and became engaged aged 17. The engagement was called off several months later; Hindley apparently thought Sinclair immature, and unable to provide her with the life she envisaged for herself.

Shortly after her 17th birthday she changed her hair colour, with a pink rinse. She took judo lessons once a week at a local school, but found partners reluctant to train with her, as she was often slow to release her grip. She took a job at Bratby and Hinchliffe, an engineering company in Gorton, but was sacked for absenteeism after six months.

As a couple

In 1961, the 18-year-old Myra Hindley joined Millwards as a typist. She soon became infatuated with Brady, despite learning that he had a criminal record. She began a diary and, although she had dates with other men, some of the entries detail her fascination with Brady, whom she eventually spoke to for the first time on 27 July 1961.

Over the next few months she continued to make entries, and grew increasingly disillusioned with him, until 22 December when Brady asked her on a date to the cinema, where they watched a film about the Nuremberg Trials. Their dates together followed a regular pattern; a trip to the cinema, usually to watch an X-rated film, and then back to Hindley's house to drink German wine. Brady then gave her reading material, and the pair spent their work lunch breaks reading aloud to one another from accounts of Nazi atrocities. Hindley began to emulate an ideal of Aryan perfection, bleaching her hair blonde and applying thick crimson lipstick. She expressed concern at some aspects of Brady's character; in a letter to a childhood friend, she mentioned an incident where she had been drugged by Brady, but also wrote of her obsession with him. A few months later she asked her friend to destroy the letter. In her 30,000-word plea for parole, written in 1978 and 1979 and submitted to Home Secretary Merlyn Rees, Hindley said:

Within months he [Brady] had convinced me that there was no God at all: he could have told me that the earth was flat, the moon was made of green cheese and the sun rose in the west, I would have believed him, such was his power of persuasion.

Hindley began to change her appearance further, wearing clothing considered risqué such as high boots, short skirts, and leather jackets, and the two became less sociable to their work colleagues. The couple were regulars at the library, borrowing books on philosophy, as well as crime and torture. They also read works by the Marquis de Sade, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. Although she was not a qualified driver (she passed her test on the third attempt, late in 1963), Hindley often hired a van, in which the two planned bank robberies. Hindley befriended George Clitheroe, the President of the Cheadle Rifle Club, and on several occasions visited two local shooting ranges. Clitheroe, although puzzled by her interest, arranged for her to buy a .22 rifle from a gun merchant in Manchester. She also asked to join a pistol club, but she was a poor shot and allegedly often bad-tempered, so Clitheroe told her that she was unsuitable; she did, though, manage to purchase a Webley .45 and a Smith and Wesson .38 from other members of the club. Brady and Hindley's plans for robbery came to nothing, but they became interested in photography. Brady already owned a Box Brownie, which he used to take photographs of Hindley and her dog, Puppet, but he upgraded to a more sophisticated model, and also purchased lights and darkroom equipment. The pair took photographs of each other that, for the time, would have been considered explicit. For Hindley, this demonstrated a marked change from her earlier, more shy nature.

As murderers

Hindley claimed that Brady began to talk about "committing the perfect murder" in July 1963, and often spoke to her about Meyer Levin's Compulsion, published in 1956. The novel, a fictionalised account of the Leopold and Loeb case, tells the story of two young men from well-to-do families, who attempt to carry out the perfect murder of a 12-year-old boy, and who escape the death penalty because of their age.

By June 1963, Brady had moved in with Hindley at her grandmother's house in Bannock Street, and on 12 July 1963 the two murdered their first victim, 16-year-old Pauline Reade. Reade had attended school with Hindley's younger sister, Maureen, and had also been in a short relationship with David Smith, a local boy with three criminal convictions for minor crimes. Police could find nobody who had seen Reade before her disappearance, and although the 15-year-old Smith was questioned by police he was cleared of any involvement in her death.

Their next victim, John Kilbride, was killed on 23 November 1963. A huge search was undertaken, with over 700 statements taken, and 500 "missing" posters printed. Eight days after he failed to return home, 2,000 volunteers scoured waste ground and derelict buildings.

Hindley hired a vehicle a week after Kilbride went missing, and again on 21 December 1963, apparently to make sure the burial sites had not been disturbed. In February 1964, she bought a second-hand Austin Traveller, but soon after traded it for a Mini van. On 16 June 1964, 12-year-old Keith Bennett disappeared. His stepfather, Jimmy Johnson, became a suspect; in the two years following Bennett's disappearance, Johnson was taken for questioning on four occasions. Detectives searched under the floorboards of the Johnsons' house, and on discovering that the houses in the row were connected, extended the search to the entire street.

Maureen Hindley married David Smith on 15 August 1964. The marriage was hastily arranged and performed at a register office. None of Hindley's relatives attended; Myra did not approve of the marriage, and her mother was too embarrassed—Maureen was seven months pregnant. The newlyweds moved into Smith's father's house. The next day, Brady suggested that the four take a day-trip to Lake Windermere. This was the first time Brady and Smith had met properly, and Brady was apparently impressed by Smith's demeanour. The two talked about society, the distribution of wealth, and the possibility of robbing a bank. The young Smith was similarly impressed by Brady, who throughout the day had paid for his food and wine. The trip to the Lake District was the first of many outings. Hindley was apparently jealous of their relationship, but became closer to her sister.

In 1964 Hindley, her grandmother, and Brady were rehoused as part of the post-war slum clearances in Manchester, to 16 Wardle Brook Avenue in the new overspill estate of Hattersley. Brady and Hindley became friendly with Patricia Hodges, an 11-year-old girl who lived at 12 Wardle Brook Avenue. Hodges accompanied the two on their trips to Saddleworth Moor to collect peat, something that many householders on the new estate did to improve the soil in their gardens, which was full of clay and builder's rubble. She remained unharmed; living only a few doors away, her disappearance would have been easily solved.

Early on Boxing Day 1964, Hindley left her grandmother at a relative's house and refused to allow her back to Wardle Brook Avenue that night. On the same day, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey disappeared from a funfair in Ancoats. Despite a huge search she was not found. The following day Hindley brought her grandmother back home. By February 1965 Patricia Hodges had stopped visiting 16 Wardle Brook Avenue, but David Smith was still a regular visitor. Brady gave Smith books to read, and the two discussed robbery and murder. On Hindley's 23rd birthday, her sister and brother-in-law, who had until then been living with relatives, were rehoused in Underwood Court, a block of flats not far from Wardle Brook Avenue. The two couples began to see each other more regularly, but usually only on Brady's terms.

During the 1990s, Hindley claimed that she took part in the killings only because Brady had drugged her, was blackmailing her with pornographic pictures he had taken of her, and had threatened to kill her younger sister, Maureen. In a 2008 television documentary series on female serial killers broadcast on ITV3, Hindley's solicitor, Andrew McCooey, reported that she had said to him:

I ought to have been hanged. I deserved it. My crime was worse than Brady's because I enticed the children and they would never have entered the car without my role ... I have always regarded myself as worse than Brady.



Following his conviction Brady was moved to Durham prison, where he asked to live in solitary confinement. He spent 19 years in mainstream prisons before being diagnosed as a psychopath in November 1985 and sent to the high-security Park Lane Hospital, now Ashworth Psychiatric Hospital, in Sefton; he has since made it clear that he never wants to be released. The trial judge had recommended that his life sentence should mean life, and successive Home Secretaries have agreed with that decision. In 1982 the Lord Chief Justice Lord Lane said of Brady: "this is the case if ever there is to be one when a man should stay in prison till he dies". The death, in November 2007, of John Straffen, who had spent 55 years in prison for murdering three children meant that Brady became the longest serving prisoner in England and Wales.

Although he refuses to work with Ashworth's psychiatrists, Brady occasionally corresponds with people outside the hospital, including the late Lord Longford, criminologist Colin Wilson and various journalists. In one letter, written in 2005, he claimed that the murders were "merely an existential exercise of just over a year, which was concluded in December 1964". By then, he went on to claim, he and Hindley had turned their attention to armed robbery, for which they had begun to prepare by acquiring guns and vehicles.

During several years of interactions with forensic psychologist Chris Cowley, including face-to-face meetings, Brady told him of an "aesthetic fascination [he had] with guns", despite his never having used one to kill. He complained bitterly about conditions at Ashworth, which he hates. In 1999 his wrist was broken in what he claimed was an "hour-long, unprovoked attack" by staff. Brady subsequently went on hunger strike, but as he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, he no longer has the right to starve himself. He was therefore force-fed and transferred to another hospital for tests, after he fell ill. He recovered and in March 2000 asked for a judicial review of the decision to force-feed him, but was refused permission.

Myra gets the potentially fatal brain condition, whilst I have to fight simply to die. I have had enough. I want nothing, my objective is to die and release myself from this once and for all. So you see my death strike is rational and pragmatic. I'm only sorry I didn't do it decades ago, and I'm eager to leave this cesspit in a coffin.

According to Chris Cowley, Brady regrets Hindley's imprisonment and the consequences of their actions, but not necessarily the crimes themselves. He sees no point in making any kind of public apology; instead, he "expresses remorse through actions". Twenty years of transcribing classical texts into Braille came to an end when the authorities confiscated his translation machine, for fear it might be used as a weapon. He once offered to donate one of his kidneys to "someone, anyone who needed one", but was blocked from doing so. According to Colin Wilson, "it was because these attempts to express remorse were thrown back at him that he began to contemplate suicide." He might have achieved this in 2006, when a female friend sent him 50 paracetamol pills, stored in two Smarties tubes hidden inside a hollowed-out crime novel. The potentially lethal dose of tablets was intercepted.

Winnie Johnson, the mother of undiscovered victim, 12-year-old Keith Bennett, received a letter from Brady at the end of 2005 in which, she said, he claimed that he could take police to within 20 yards (18 m) of her son's body but the authorities would not allow it. Brady did not refer directly to Keith by name and did not claim he could take investigators directly to the grave, but spoke of the "clarity" of his recollections.

While at Ashworth, in 2001 Brady wrote The Gates of Janus, which was published by Feral House, an underground US publisher. The book, Brady's analysis of serial murder and specific serial killers, sparked outrage when announced in Britain.


Immediately following the trial, Hindley lodged an unsuccessful appeal against her conviction. Brady and Hindley corresponded by letter until 1971, when she ended their relationship. The two remained in sporadic contact for several months, but Hindley had met and fallen in love with one of her prison officers, Patricia Cairns. A former assistant governor claimed that such relationships were not unusual in Holloway at that time, as "many of the officers were gay, and involved in relationships either with one another or with inmates".

Hindley successfully petitioned to have her status as a category A prisoner changed to category B, which enabled Governor Dorothy Wing to take her on a walk round Hampstead Heath, part of her unofficial policy of reintroducing her charges to the outside world when she felt they were ready. The excursion caused a furore in the national press and earned Wing an official rebuke from the then Home Secretary Robert Carr. With Cairns' assistance and the outside contacts of another prisoner, Maxine Croft, Hindley planned a prison escape, but it was thwarted when impressions of the prison keys were intercepted by an off-duty policeman. Cairns was sentenced to six years in jail for her part in the plot. While in prison, Hindley wrote her autobiography, which remains unpublished.

Hindley was told that she should spend 25 years in prison before being considered for parole. The Lord Chief Justice agreed with that recommendation in 1982, but in January 1985 Home Secretary Leon Brittan increased her tariff to 30 years. By that time, Hindley claimed to be a reformed Roman Catholic. Ann West, the mother of Lesley Ann Downey, was at the centre of a campaign to ensure that Hindley was never released from prison, and until West's death in February 1999, she regularly gave television and newspaper interviews whenever Hindley's release was rumoured.

In 1990, then Home Secretary David Waddington imposed a whole life tariff on Hindley, after she confessed to having a greater involvement in the murders than she had previously admitted. Hindley was not informed of the decision until 1994, when a Law Lords ruling obliged the Prison Service to inform all life sentence prisoners of the minimum period they must serve in prison before being considered for parole.

In 1997, the Parole Board ruled that Hindley was low risk and should be moved to an open prison. She rejected the idea and was moved to a medium security prison; the House of Lords ruling left open the possibility of later freedom. Between December 1997 and March 2000, Hindley made three separate appeals against her life tariff, claiming she was a reformed woman and no longer a danger to society, but each was rejected by the courts.

When in 2002 another life sentence prisoner challenged the Home Secretary's power to set minimum terms, Hindley and hundreds of others, whose tariffs had been increased by politicians, looked likely to be released from prison. Hindley's release seemed imminent and plans were made by supporters for her to be given a new identity. Lord Longford, a devout Roman Catholic, campaigned to secure the release of "celebrated" criminals, and Myra Hindley in particular, which earned him constant derision from the public and the press. He described Hindley as a "delightful" person and said "you could loathe what people did but should not loathe what they were because human personality was sacred even though human behaviour was very often appalling".

Home Secretary David Blunkett ordered Greater Manchester Police to find new charges against her, to prevent her release from prison. The investigation was headed by Superintendent Tony Brett, and initially looked at charging Hindley with the murders of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett, but the advice given by government lawyers was that because of the DPP's decision taken 15 years earlier, a new trial would probably be considered an abuse of process.

On 25 November 2002 the Law Lords agreed that judges, not politicians, should decide how long a criminal spends behind bars, and thus stripped the Home Secretary of the power to set minimum sentences. But the news came too late for Hindley. A 40-a-day smoker who in 1999 had been diagnosed with angina and hospitalised after suffering a brain aneurysm, on 15 November 2002, aged 60, she died from bronchial pneumonia caused by heart disease. Cameras "crowded the pavement" outside, but none of Hindley's relatives were among the congregation of six who attended a short service at Cambridge crematorium, as they were living anonymously in Manchester under assumed names. Such was the strength of feeling more than 35 years after the murders that a reported 20 local undertakers refused to handle her cremation. Four months later, her ashes were scattered by a former lover, a woman she had met in prison, less than 10 miles (16 km) from Saddleworth Moor in Stalybridge Country Park. Fears were expressed that the news might result in visitors choosing to avoid the park, a local beauty spot, or even that the park might be vandalised.


David Smith became "reviled by the people of Manchester", despite having been instrumental in bringing Brady and Hindley to justice. While her sister was on trial, Maureen—eight months pregnant—was attacked in the lift of the building in which she and David lived. Their home was vandalised, and hate mail was regularly posted through their letterbox. Maureen feared for her children: "I couldn't let my children out of my sight when they were little. They were too young to tell them why they had to stay in, to explain why they couldn't go out to play like all the other children."

After knifing another man during a fight, in an attack he claimed was triggered by the abuse he had suffered since the trial, Smith was sentenced to three years in prison in 1969. That same year his children were taken into the care of the local authority. His wife Maureen moved from Underwood Court to a single-bedroom property, and found work in a department store. Subjected to whispering campaigns and petitions to remove her from the estate where she lived, she received no support from her family—her mother had supported Myra during the trial. On his release from prison, David Smith moved in with the girl who became his second wife and won custody of his three sons. Maureen managed to repair the relationship with her mother, and moved into a council property in Gorton. She divorced Smith in 1973, and married a lorry driver, Bill Scott, with whom she had a daughter.

Maureen and her immediate family made regular visits to see Hindley, who reportedly adored her niece. In 1980 Maureen suffered a brain haemorrhage; Hindley was granted permission to visit her sister in hospital, but she arrived an hour after Maureen's death. Sheila and Patrick Kilbride, who were by then divorced, were present at Maureen's funeral, believing that Hindley might make an appearance. Patrick Kilbride mistook Bill Scott's daughter from a previous relationship, Ann Wallace, for Hindley and tried to attack her before being knocked to the ground by another mourner; the police were called to restore order. Shortly before her death at the age of 70 Sheila Kilbride said: "If she [Hindley] ever comes out of jail I'll kill her."

In 1972, David Smith was acquitted of the murder of his father, who had been suffering from an incurable cancer. Smith pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to two days detention. He remarried and moved to Lincolnshire with his three sons, and was exonerated of any participation in the Moors murders by Hindley's confession in 1987.

Joan Reade, Pauline Reade's mother, was admitted to Springfield Mental Hospital in Manchester. She was present, under heavy sedation, at the funeral of her daughter on 7 August 1987. Five years after their son was murdered, Sheila and Patrick Kilbride divorced. Ann West, mother of Lesley Ann Downey, died in 1999 from cancer of the liver. Since her daughter's death, she had campaigned to ensure that Hindley remained in prison and doctors said that the stress had contributed to the severity of her illness. Winnie Johnson, mother of Keith Bennett, continues to visit Saddleworth Moor, where it is believed that the body of her son is buried.

The house in which Brady and Hindley lived on Wardle Brook Avenue, and where Edward Evans was murdered, was demolished by the local council.

Hindley died from bronchial pneumonia caused by heart disease, at the age of 60, on 15 November 2002. Cameras "crowded the pavement" outside, but none of Hindley's relatives were among the congregation of six who attended a short service at Cambridge crematorium, as they were living anonymously in Manchester under assumed names. Such was the strength of feeling more than 35 years after the murders that a reported 20 local undertakers refused to handle her cremation.

Four months later, Hindley's ashes were scattered by a former lover, a woman she had met in prison, less than 10 miles (16 km) from Saddleworth Moor in Stalybridge Country Park. Fears were expressed that the news might result in visitors choosing to avoid the park, a local beauty spot, or even in the park being vandalised. Less than two weeks after Hindley's death, on 25 November 2002, the Law Lords agreed that judges, not politicians, should decide how long a criminal spends behind bars, and thus stripped the Home Secretary of the power to set minimum sentences.

A 1977 BBC television debate discussed arguments for and against Myra Hindley's release, with contributions from the parents of some of the murdered children. The case has been dramatised on television twice: in See No Evil: The Moors Murders and Longford (both 2006).

Lasting notoriety

Hindley "shouldered the greater public outrage" because of her gender, and she was popularly assumed to be "the devil incarnate". The photographs and tape recording of the torture of Lesley Ann Downey, demonstrated in court to a disbelieving audience, and the cool responses of Brady and Hindley, helped to ensure the lasting notoriety of their crimes. Brady, who says that he does not want to be released, is rarely mentioned in the news, but Hindley's repeated insistence on her innocence, and attempts to secure her release from prison, resulted in her becoming a figure of hate in the national media.

Retribution was a common theme amongst those who sought to keep her locked away, and even Hindley's mother insisted that she should die in prison—although out of fear for her daughter's safety, and the desire to avoid the possibility that one of the victims' relatives might kill her. Some commentators expressed the view that of the two, Hindley was the "more evil". In 1987 she admitted that the plea for parole she had submitted to the Home Secretary eight years earlier was "on the whole [...] a pack of lies", and to some reporters her co-operation in the searches on Saddleworth Moor "appeared a cynical gesture aimed at ingratiating herself to the parole authorities.


  • Carmichael, Kay (2003), Sin and Forgiveness: New Responses in a Changing World, Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 0-7546-3406-X 

  • Furio, Jennifer (2001), Team killers, Algora Publishing, ISBN 978-1-892941-62-6 

  • Gibson, Dirk Cameron; Wilcox, Dennis L. (2006), Serial murder and media circuses, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-275-99064-0 

  • Lee, Carol Ann (2010), One Of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley, Mainstream Publishing, ISBN 978-1-84596-545-7 

  • Ritchie, Jean (1988), Myra Hindley—Inside the Mind of a Murderess, Angus & Robertson, ISBN 0-207-15882-7 

  • Staff, Duncan (2007), The lost boy, London: Bantam Press, ISBN 978-0-593056-92-9 

  • Topping, Peter (1989), Topping: The Autobiography of the Police Chief in the Moors Murder Case, Angus & Robertson, ISBN 0-207-16480-0

Further reading

  • Boar, Roger; Blundell, Nigel (1988), The World's Most Infamous Murders, Mass Market Paperback, ISBN 0-425-10887-2 

  • Goodman, Jonathan (1986), The Moors Murders: The Trial of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, David & Charles, ISBN 0-7153-9064-3 

  • Hansford Johnson, Pamela (1967), On Iniquity, Macmillan 

  • Harrison, Fred (1986), Brady and Hindley: The Genesis of the Moors Murders, Grafton, ISBN 0-906798-70-1 

  • Hawkins, Cathy, "The Monster Body of Myra Hindley", Scan: Journal of media Arts and Culture (Macquarie University), retrieved 27 September 2010 

  • Potter, John Deane (1967), The Monsters Of The Moors, Ballantine Books 

  • Robins, Joyce (1993), Serial Killers and Mass Murderers: 100 Tales of Infamy, Barbarism and Horrible Crime, Bounty Books, ISBN 1-85152-363-4 

  • Williams, Emlyn (1992), Beyond Belief: A Chronicle of Murder and its Detection, Pan, ISBN 0-330-02088-9


Secret prison files reveal staggering lengths Myra Hindley went to in bid to transform herself in respectable middle-class lady

THE brassy blonde Moors Murderer took up hobbies such as badminton and pottery and become a practising Catholic in an attempt to convince authorities she had changed her ways.

By Rachael Bletchly -

January 3, 2013

EVIL Moors Murderer Myra Hindley tried to transform herself into a respectable middle-class woman while serving a life sentence behind bars for her sickening crimes.

The brassy blonde killer believed she could recreate herself through self-improvement courses and become “intelligent, well educated and cultured”.

Newly-released prison papers show how Ian Brady’s partner-in-crime took up genteel hobbies such as badminton, pottery and tapestry as well as studying for an Open University degree in humanities.

She became a practising Catholic and “threw herself with enthusiasm” into singing with a prison choir — even winning a music prize for a love song.

The official files reveal the staggering lengths Hindley went to in her bid to convince authorities she was a reformed character and suitable for release.

But the monster, who with Brady was responsible for the sexual torture and murder of five children in the 1960s, did not fool everyone.

Some prison officers continued to insist Hindley shouldn’t be trusted, describing her as “cold, calculating and devoid of emotion” — an “arch-manipulator with a massive superiority complex”.

And a psychology professor who has reviewed the case told us he believes Hindley was faking her reform in “a cynical strategy to obtain parole”.

Hindley died in 2002 aged 60. Her confidential files should have remained secret for 50 years but were released early because of her notoriety.

Among the millions of pages of typed and hand-written documents about “Prisoner 965055” were board reports from the annual reviews that life prisoners undergo.

Hindley’s 35 reports reveal how she was viewed by fellow prisoners, welfare workers, probation officers, warders and chaplains.

Some officials described the cold-eyed child killer as an “extremely meticulous person ... even obsessive”.

Another early report said that she had a “very conscientious” attitude towards her jobs in jail. She was put in charge of the kitchen on E wing at Holloway prison in London.

But it soon became clear she thought she was better than her fellow inmates. “Myra is fundamentally a very arrogant woman and considers herself superior to the other members of her wing,” said a 1968 report.

She revelled in her celebrity status and thought herself among the “elite” lifers.

Hindley was 23 when she was jailed for life in May 1966 for the murders of Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17, and for being accessory to the murder of John Kilbride, 12, by Brady.

In 1987, Hindley and Brady confessed to murdering Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12. Their victims’ bodies were buried on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester. For the first five years of her sentence, Hindley remained loyal to Glasgow-born psychopath Brady and they wrote to each other.

But in 1971, she ended their relationship, having fallen in love with one of her prison officers, former nun Patricia Cairns. With Cairns’s help Hindley planned a prison escape that was thwarted when soap and plaster impressions of jail keys were found.

Hindley had been told she would serve 25 years in jail before being considered for parole but began a campaign to show she had reformed.

She befriended famous and influential supporters such as prison reformer Lord Longford and aristocrat David Astor. And she was visited in prison by liberal figures like broadcaster Ludovic Kennedy and Cardinal Basil Hume.

Hindley had a string of lesbian lovers in jail, including fellow con Nina Wilde. She allegedly developed a close relationship with serial killer Rose West.

Hindley became a keen student. One observer said: “She is a young woman of superior intellect and academic ability and has almost total recall of the spoken and written word.”

Hindley built up a circle of followers who did cleaning, fetching and carrying chores for her. But she got on well with fellow inmates.

One account reads: “Women have confessed their horror at learning they were to join a wing with Myra on it, only to admit later what a pleasant and easy woman she was to get on with.”

Hindley enjoyed reading 19th century novels and 20th century poetry. After her transfer to Durham prison, one tutor remained sceptical, saying: “I admire the way she refuses to allow herself to become a cabbage, but I do not trust her.

“She appears to be a scheming woman, building up contacts with anyone with influence.”

In 1981, a report concluded: “She has changed from the brassy blonde of more than 16 years ago to an intelligent, well-educated woman who possesses taste and whose views seem culturally more attuned to middle-class values.”

Yet she never lost the ability to manipulate others. One report states: “She was cold and calculating and devoid of emotion, able to smile or cry as the need arose.”

Hindley was transferred to Highpoint prison, Suffolk, in 1998 and spent her final years in unofficial segregation.

A 40-a-day smoker, she was diagnosed with angina in 1999 and suffered a stroke. On November 15, 2002, she died from pneumonia caused by heart disease.

Dr Tom Clark, a research lecturer at Sheffield University, has spent three years trawling through Hindley’s prison files. He said: “The people closest to her believed she had really reformed.”


Murder on the Moors: The Ian Brady and Myra Hindley Story

By Fiona Steel

Witness to Murder

Superintendent Talbot was to be leaving on a much-needed vacation on the morning that he received an unexpected call from Detective Inspector Wills.Wills had been reluctant to make the call, but this was important.

Sitting in the Inquiry room at Hyde Police Station, were 17-year-old David Smith, and his young wife.  They had called the police early that morning with an incredible story. Talbot assured his wife that he would soon return and they would begin their two-week vacation as planned. What Superintendent Talbot did not know then was that he was about to become involved in one of Britain 's most notorious criminal cases, The Moors Murders. The date was October 7, 1965.

When Talbot arrived at Hyde Police Station, he was shown into the Inquiry room where the distressed couple sat drinking tea.  David Smith, with the help of his wife Maureen, proceeded to tell his story. 

The previous night his sister-in-law, Myra Hindley, had visited the home where he lived with Maureen, his bride of little more than a year, and her mother.  Myra had told him that she was afraid to walk home alone in the dark so he agreed to walk with her.  When they arrived at Myra 's home, at 16 Wardle Brook Avenue , Manchester , she asked him to come inside as her live-in boyfriend, Ian Brady, had some miniature bottles of wine for him.  He agreed and after entering she left him standing in the kitchen with the wine.

As he read the label on one of the bottles, Smith heard a long, loud scream.  Myra yelled to him from the living room.  When he first entered the room, he saw Ian Brady holding what David initially thought was a life-size rag doll.  As it fell against the couch, not more than two feet away from him, the realisation dawned upon him that it was a young man and not a doll at all.  As the young man lay sprawled, face down on the floor, Ian stood over him, his legs apart, holding an axe in his right hand.

The young man groaned.  Ian lifted the axe into the air, and brought it down upon the man's head.  There was silence for a couple of seconds, and then the man groaned again, only it was much lower this time.  Lifting the axe high above his head, Ian brought it down a second time.  The man stopped groaning.  The only sound he made was a gurgling noise.

Ian then placed a cover over the youth's head and wrapped a piece of electric wire around his neck.  As he repeatedly pulled on the wire, Ian kept saying "You fucking dirty bastard," over and over again.  When the man finally stopped making any noise, Ian looked up and said to Myra , "That's it, it's the messiest yet."

As Myra made them all a cup of tea, she and Brady joked about the look on the young man's face when Brady had struck him.  They laughed as they told David about another occasion when a policeman had confronted Myra while they had been burying another of their victims on Saddleworth Moor.  Ian had told David that he had killed some people before but David thought it was just a sick fantasy.  This was real.  He was horrified and scared for his own safety.  He decided that the best thing he could do was to keep calm and go along with them.  He helped them to clean up the mess, tie up the body and put it in the bedroom upstairs.  It was not until the early hours of the morning that he had been able to escape, promising to return in the morning to help dispose of the body.  Safely back at home, he was violently sick.  He told Maureen everything and together they went to a public phone box to call the police.

Immediately upon hearing this bizarre story, Superintendent Talbot and Detective Sergeant Carr went over to 16 Wardle Brook Avenue.  Two-dozen additional officers were called to the area, just in case.  Any concerns that there may be a confrontation were quickly put to rest.  Myra reluctantly gave him a key to the upstairs bedroom, the only room in the house that was locked, where the body of a young man was found wrapped in a grey blanket.  The axe described by Smith as the murder weapon was found in the same room.

Ian Brady was arrested immediately.  At the police station, Brady told police that there had been an argument between himself, David Smith and the victim, 17-year-old Edward Evans.  A fight had ensued which soon got out of control.  Smith had hit Evans and kicked him several times.  There had been a hatchet on the floor, which Brady said he had used to hit Evans.  According to Brady, he and Smith alone had tied up the body.  Myra had nothing to do with Evans's death.

When Myra was questioned, she supported Brady's story, describing how she had been horrified and frightened by the ordeal.  She was not arrested until four days later, after police had found a three-page document in her car that described in explicit detail how she and Brady had planned to carry out the murder.

The investigation would probably have gone no further if Smith had not told police of Brady's claim that he had buried other bodies on Saddleworth Moor.  Other references to the same area confirmed Smith's story.  A twelve-year-old girl, Pat Hodge, told police that she had often gone with Hindley and Brady up to the moors on picnics, and numerous photos of the moors were found in their home.

Once the area where Brady and Hindley frequented was pinpointed, the digging began.  Police believed that the bodies of four children who had mysteriously disappeared over the past two years might have been buried in the moors.  They were proved right on 10 October 1965 when the body of 10-year-old Lesley Anne Downey was found.  Lesley had disappeared without a trace on 26 December 1964.  Eleven days after the first discovery, the body of 12-year-old John Kilbride was found.  John had disappeared without a trace, on November 11, 1963.

In 1965, a case such as this was unique.  It was the first time in British history that a woman had been involved in a killing partnership that had involved the serial sex murders of children.  The public could not comprehend how any woman could take part in such a horrific crime; her involvement made the crimes seem even more evil and unforgivable.

Myra Hindley

What had driven this young couple to such depths of depravity?  While Ian Brady's childhood history reveals many indicators of the troubled young man he grew to be, in Myra 's case few insights can be drawn.  How did a seemingly normal child grow into an adult so perverted that she would gain pleasure from the sexual abuse and murder of children?

Born on 23 July 1942 in Gorton, an industrial district of Manchester, Myra was the first child of Nellie (Hettie) and Bob Hindley.  As her father served in a parachute regiment during the first three years of her life, Myra 's mother raised her alone.  They lived with Hettie's mother, Ellen Maybury, who helped to look after Myra while Hettie went to work as a machinist.

When Bob returned they bought their own home just around the corner from Hettie's mother.  Bob had trouble re-adjusting to civilian life and would spend most of the time he wasn't working as a labourer, in the local pub.  When their second child, Maureen, was born in August 1946, Bob and Hettie, who both worked, found the workload to be too much and decided to send Myra to live with her grandmother.

While the move to her grandmother's home solved many of the family's problems -- Ellen was no longer lonely, the pressure on Bob and Hettie was relieved considerably and Myra enjoyed the devoted attention of her grandmother -- it meant that Myra and her father's relationship never fully developed.  He wasn't an emotionally demonstrative man and his absence during Myra 's formative years created a breach that was never filled.

Myra started school at Peacock Street Primary School at the age of five.  Here she was considered a mature and sensible girl, although her attendance was poor due to her grandmother's tendency to allow her to stay home on the slightest pretence.  Her many absences led to her not gaining the necessary grades to attend the local grammar school.  Instead, she went to Ryder Brow Secondary Modern.  Although her poor attendance record continued in high school, she was consistently in the 'A' stream in all her subjects.  During this period, she exhibited some talent for creative writing and poetry.  She loved sport and athletics and was a good swimmer.  In appearance and personality, Myra was not considered particularly feminine and was given the nickname 'Square Arse' because of her broad hips.  She was also teased about the shape of her nose.

Her reputation as being a mature and sensible girl meant that she was a popular babysitter during her teens.  Parents and children alike were delighted if Myra was to be their babysitter.  She was very capable and demonstrated a genuine love of children. 

At the age of 15, Myra befriended Michael Higgins, a timid and fragile 13-year-old boy whom she looked after and protected as if he were her younger brother.  As far as she was concerned, they would be life-long friends.  She was devastated when he drowned in a reservoir, often used as a swimming hole by local children.  Her grief was made all the worse by her sense of guilt because she had turned down his offer to go swimming with him that day.  She believed that as she was a strong swimmer she could have saved him.

Over the next few weeks, Myra was inconsolable, fluctuating between hysteria and depression.  She cried, dressed in black, went to church nightly to light a candle for Michael, and collected money from neighbours for a wreath.  Her family was troubled by what they perceived as her over-reaction, telling her that she must control herself.  Her grief was reflected in her conversion to Roman Catholicism, Michael's religion, and the deterioration of her schoolwork.  It was not long after Michael's death that she left school, as she was not considered bright enough to stay on to complete her O-levels, despite an IQ of 107. 

Her first job was as a junior clerk at Lawrence Scott and Electrometers, an electrical engineering firm.  During this time, Myra was much like other Gorton girls in their teens.  She would go to dances and cafes, listened to rock 'n' roll, flirted with boys and had the occasional cigarette.  Her appearance became more important to her, and it was at this time that she began to bleach her hair and wear dark make-up, in an attempt to appear older.

On her seventeenth birthday, she became engaged to Ronnie Sinclair, a local boy who worked as a tea-blender at the local Co-op.  Myra 's apparent contentment with her ordinary life did not last for long.  The prospect of her pending marriage caused her to question the lifestyle to which she was expected to conform.  After marriage was the purchase of a small house, then would come the children and the years of trying to make ends meet while her husband spent all of their money at the local pub.  Myra knew this was not for her and called off the engagement. 

She wanted something more exciting.  Her search began with an application for entrance forms to the navy and the army, but she never sent them in.  She considered working as a nanny in America but never followed it through.  She went off to London in search of a job, but that too bore no fruit.  Two years had passed before something new and exciting finally came to her.  In January 1961, she met Ian Brady for the first time.

Ian Brady

Ian Brady was born, on 2 January 1938 in Gorbals, one of the roughest slums in Glasgow at the time.  His mother, Margaret (Peggy) Stewart was a tearoom waitress in a hotel.  Although she was single, she would always sign herself as Mrs. Stewart; as to be an unmarried mother at this time met with strong disapproval.  Peggy never disclosed who Ian's father was, except that he was a journalist for a Glasgow newspaper who had died a few months before Ian was born.

With no husband to support her, she found it necessary to continue working as a waitress, even if only part-time.  As she was often unable to afford a babysitter, Peggy would sometimes have to leave baby Ian at home alone.  It did not take her long to realise that she could not cope with her baby alone.  To solve the problem she advertised for a permanent babysitter to take Ian into their home, providing the care and attention she was unable to give him.

Mary and John Sloane answered the advertisement.  They had four children of their own and seemed trustworthy and caring.  At the age of four months, Ian was unofficially "adopted" by the couple.  Peggy signed over Ian's welfare payments to them and arranged to visit every Sunday.  As each Sunday came around Peggy would bring gifts for her growing son but never told him that she was his mother.  Mary Sloane was always "auntie" or "ma."  As time passed, Peggy's visits became less frequent and finally stopped altogether when Ian was twelve years old.  Peggy had moved with her new husband, Patrick Brady, to Manchester .

The ambiguity of his relationship with his mother and the nature of the arrangements with the Sloanes meant that Ian always felt that he didn't really belong.  Despite the Sloanes' attempts to provide a loving environment, Ian showed no response to their care and attention.  Throughout his childhood, he was lonely, difficult, and angry.  Temper tantrums were frequent and extreme, often ending with him banging his head on the floor.

At Camden Street Primary School , Brady was considered by his teachers to be a bright child, but he never tried as hard as he could have.  The other children saw him as different, secretive and an outsider.  He didn't play sport like the other boys and was considered a "sissy." 

The Sloanes and Brady remember an incident when he was nine years old.  It was to be Ian's first outing out of the Gorbals.  They went to the moors of Loch Lomond , where they spent the day picnicking.  After lunch, the Sloanes napped in the grass.  When they awoke, Ian was gone.  They saw him standing 500 yards away at the top of a steep slope.  For an hour, he stood there, silhouetted against the giant sky.  They called and whistled to him but could not attract his attention.  When the two Sloane boys climbed the hill to fetch him he told them to go on home without him, he wanted to be alone.

On the way home on the bus he was talkative for the first time in his life.  For Ian, the time spent alone on that hillside had been a profound experience, one that would influence him into adulthood.  He had felt himself alone at the centre of a vast, limitless territory.  It was his.  It belonged to him.  He was filled with a sense of power and strength.  In the midst of all this emptiness, he was master and king.

At the age of eleven, Ian passed his entrance exams to Shawlands Academy , a school for pupils with above-average intelligence.  His potential was never realised however as he was lazy, would not apply himself, and began to misbehave.  He started smoking, virtually gave up on his schoolwork and before long was in trouble with the police.  It was at this time that his fascination with the Second World War, particularly the Nazis, began to emerge.  The books he read and the subject of his conversation was always related to Nazis.  Even his play was influenced by his obsession, he always insisted on playing a German in war games with his friends.

Between the ages of thirteen and sixteen, Brady had been charged on three counts of housebreaking and burglary.  On the third occasion, the court decided not to give him a custodial sentence, on the condition that he move to Manchester to live with Peggy and her husband Patrick Brady.  He had not seen Peggy for four years and had never met his stepfather.

It was the end of 1954 when Brady moved to Moss Side to start again.  Living with strangers and having a strong Scottish accent that branded him as different in the community meant that Brady became even more socially withdrawn than ever before.  He attempted to gain a sense of belonging to his new family by changing his name from Stewart to Brady, and, although he did not get on particularly well with his stepfather, he took the job that Patrick found for him as a porter at the local market. The sense that he didn't belong persisted, however, and he searched for direction through his reading.  Within books such as Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment,  the works of Marquis de Sade, and sadistic titles such as Justine, The Kiss of the Whip, and The Torture Chamber, Brady discovered something he could relate to, something exciting.

A little over a year after he moved to Moss Side, Brady had returned to a life of crime.  He had left his job at the market and was working in a brewery when he was arrested for aiding and abetting.  His employers had discovered that he had been stealing lead seals.  The courts were not so lenient this time and he was sentenced to two years in a borstal, an institution for young offenders.  There were no places available for three months, so he was sent to Strangeways Prison in Manchester , where at the age of seventeen, he learned quickly to toughen up.

He was moved to Hatfield borstal in Yorkshire where the regime was much lighter.  Brady, taking advantage of the reduction in security began brewing and drinking his own alcohol and running gambling books.  A drunken scuffle with a warder landed him in a much harder borstal in Hull Prison.  Here he actively set out to learn more of the criminal way of life, from which he intended to make a great deal of money.  His expectations were so high that he even took courses in bookkeeping.

When he was released in November 1957, his family noticed that he was even more silent and brooding than before.  He was unemployed for several months before he obtained work as a labourer for six months.  While he continued in his attempts to find a criminal scheme that would make him rich, he decided to put his bookkeeping skills to legitimate use.  In 1959, he began work as a stock clerk with Millwards Merchandising.  A little more than a year later, a new secretary arrived.

Birds of A Feather

For Myra , their first meeting was the beginning of an "immediate and fatal attraction."  While others described Brady as morose and sullen, Hindley saw him as silent and aloof, characteristics that she thought were "enigmatic, worldly and a sign of intelligence."  He was different from any of the boys she had known.  Compared to Brady, the likes of Ronnie Sinclair were dull, naive, and unambitious.  Every night, she would write in her diary of her intense longing for Brady, a longing that would remain unfulfilled for some time.  As she fluctuated from "loving him to hating him," Brady remained steadfastly disinterested for a year.

At the office Christmas party, Brady, relaxed by a few drinks, asked Hindley for their first date.  It was to be the beginning of her initiation into his secret world.  That first night he took her to see The Nuremberg Trials.  As the weeks went by, he played her records of Hitler's marching songs and encouraged her to read some of his favourite books - Mein Kampf, and Crime and Punishment, and de Sade's works.  Hindley happily complied.  She had waited for so long for something different and now here it was.  Her inexperience and hunger left her incapable of distinguishing which of her new experiences were healthy and those that were dangerous.  

Brady became her first lover and she was soon totally besotted with him, soaking up all of his distorted philosophical theories.  Her greatest desire was to please him.  She even changed the way she dressed for him, in Germanic style, with long boots and mini skirts, and bleached hair.  She allowed him to take pornographic photographs of her, and the two of them having sex.  With such a devoted audience, Brady's ideas became increasingly paranoid and outrageous, but Hindley was without discernment.  When he told her there was no God, she stopped going to church, and when he told her that rape and murder were not wrong, that in fact murder was the "supreme pleasure," she did not question it.  Her personality had become totally fused with his.

Family, friends and colleagues quickly noticed the changes in her.  At work she became surly, overbearing, and aggressive, and began to wear "kinky" clothes.  Her sister Maureen testified in court that, after meeting Brady, Myra no longer lived a normal life with dances and girlfriends, instead she became secretive and claimed she hated babies, children and people.

Early in 1963, Brady put Hindley's blind acceptance of his ideas to the test.  He began planning a bank robbery and needed her to be his get-away driver.  Immediately, Hindley began driving lessons, joined the Cheadle Rifle club and purchased two guns.  The robbery was never carried out, but Brady's purpose had been fulfilled. Myra had shown herself willing.  Brady knew she was ready to cement their relationship.

In Brady's mind he was like Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, he had "reached the stage where, whatever came to mind, get out and do it.I led the life that other people could only think about."  Dostoyevsky's novel had become for Brady, not an exploration of the destructiveness of unrestrained ego, but a justification for, and ennobling of his own degraded fantasies.

On the night of 12 July 1963, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley took their first victim, sixteen-year-old Pauline Reade.   

Without A Trace

Pauline Reade was on her way to a dance at the Railway Workers' Social Club on the night she disappeared.  Originally, she had planned to go with her three girlfriends, Linda, Barbara, and Pat, but at the last minute, when their parents learned that there would be alcohol available, they pulled out.  Determined not to miss out on the dance, Pauline decided to go alone.

At eight o'clock Pauline, dressed in her prettiest pink party dress, left home.  What Pauline didn't know was that her girlfriend, Pat, and another friend Dorothy had seen her leave.  Curious to see whether she would really have the nerve to go to the dance alone, Pat and Dorothy followed her.  When they were almost at the Club, the two girls decided to take a short cut so they could arrive at the club before Pauline.  They waited for her but she never arrived.

When Pauline had still not arrived home at midnight, her parents, Joan and Amos went out to look for her.  They called the police the next morning when the nightlong search had failed to find any trace of their daughter.  A police search proved to be just as fruitless.  It seemed that Pauline had simply disappeared.

The second child disappeared on 11 November 1963.  Twelve-year-old John Kilbride and his friend John Ryan had gone to the local cinema for the afternoon.  When the film finished at 5 o'clock, they went to the market in Ashton-Under-Lyne to see if they could earn some pocket money helping the stallholders to pack up.  John Ryan left John Kilbride standing beside a salvage bin near the carpet dealer's stall to go and catch his bus home.  It was the last time that anyone saw John Kilbride.

When John did not return home for dinner, his parents Sheila and Patrick called the police.  For the second time, a major search was conducted, with police and thousands of volunteers combing the surrounding area for any clue as to John's disappearance.  No sign was found.  All his parent's knew was that John didn't come home.

Six months later, another child went missing.  16 June 1964 was a Tuesday, and every Tuesday evening twelve-year-old Keith Bennett would go to his grandmother's home to spend the night.  This Tuesday was no different.  As his grandmother's house was only a mile away, he walked by himself.  His mother watched him over the crossing and onto Stockport Road , then left him to go to bingo in the opposite direction.

When Keith didn't arrive at his grandmother Winnie's house, she assumed that his mother had decided not to send him.  Keith's disappearance was not discovered until the next morning when Winnie arrived at her daughter's home without Keith.  Again the police were called, and again a search was conducted, and again it seemed that a child had disappeared without a trace.

A further six months had passed before the fourth child, ten-year-old Lesley Ann Downey, disappeared.  It was on the afternoon of 26 December 1964.  Lesley had gone with her two brothers and some of their friends to the local fair, in Hulme Hall Lane , only ten minutes away.  They had not been there too long before all of their pocket money was spent and they were bored.  All but Lesley Ann left for home.  A classmate last saw her, at just after half-past five, standing alone next to one of the rides.

When Lesley Ann still had not returned home at dinnertime her mother, Ann, and her fiancée Alan began to search for her.  They called the police when they could find no sign of her.  The countryside was searched, thousands of people were questioned and missing posters were displayed but no new leads were discovered.  No one could tell Lesley Ann's parents what had happened to their little girl.

It would be another 10 months before the gruesome truth would be uncovered.

Damning Evidence

When Lesley Ann's naked body was found in a shallow grave, with her clothing at her feet, the police had nothing but hearsay and circumstantial evidence to connect Brady and Hindley to her death.  They needed much more.  A more thorough search of the house at Wardle Brook Avenue on 15 October gave them the evidence they needed.

A left-luggage ticket, found tucked into a prayer book, led police to a locker at Manchester Central station.  Inside were two suitcases filled with pornographic and sadistic paraphernalia.  In amongst these were nine semi-pornographic photographs of Lesley Ann Downey, showing her, naked, bound and gagged, in a variety of poses in Myra Hindley's bedroom.  A tape recording was also found.  The voice of a girl could be heard screaming, crying, and begging for her life.  Two other voices, one male and one female, could be heard threatening the child.  Police were able to identify the adult voices as belonging to Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, but they needed Ann Downey's assistance to identify the child's voice.  She listened in horror to her daughter at the last moments of her life.

Even with damning evidence mounted against them, Brady and Hindley denied murdering Lesley Ann.  As in the case of Edward Evans, they attempted to implicate David Smith.  They claimed that Smith had brought the girl to the house so Brady could photograph her.  The tape recording was of their voices as they attempted to subdue the girl so they could take the pictures.  Hindley protested that she had only used a harsh tone with the girl because she had been concerned that neighbours would hear her.  As far as they were concerned, Lesley Ann had left their house, unharmed, with Smith. Smith must have murdered her later.

The evidence, which linked Brady and Hindley to the murder of John Kilbride, while not as overwhelming, was sufficient to charge them.  They found the name "John Kilbride" written, in Brady's handwriting, in his notebook and a photograph of Hindley on John's grave at the moors.  It was also found that Hindley had hired a car on the day of John's disappearance and returned it in a muddy state and, according to Hindley's sister, Brady and Hindley shopped at Ashton market every week.

Despite all of their efforts, the police were unable to find the bodies of the two other missing children or any evidence to link Brady and Hindley to their disappearance.  They had to content themselves with prosecuting the pair only for the murders of Edward Evans, Lesley Ann Downey, and John Kilbride.

On 27 April 1966, Hindley and Brady were brought to trial at Chester Assizes where they pleaded "not guilty" to all charges.  Throughout the trial, they continued their attempts to blame David Smith for the murders, a cowardly stance that only served to deepen public hatred of them.  At no time during the trial did they show any remorse for their crimes or any sorrow toward the families of their victims.  To those who were present at the trial, both Brady and Hindley appeared cold and heartless.

Despite protestations of their innocence, Ian Brady was found guilty of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey, John Kilbride, and Edward Evans.  Myra Hindley was found guilty of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans and for harbouring Brady in the knowledge that he had killed John Kilbride.  They escaped the death penalty by only a couple of months as "The Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965" had come into effect just four weeks before their arrest.  

Never To Be Released

Brady's hold over Myra continued for the first few years of their imprisonment; they constantly wrote to each other and even requested permission to marry.  The rift that developed between them was gradual, stemming mainly from their differing responses to their incarceration.  Brady quickly accepted his sentence, and thereby his guilt, and soon settled into prison life.  Whereas Hindley continued to assert her innocence, continuing her claim that Brady and Smith were responsible for the murders.  Immediately after her sentencing, she began the appeal process, enlisting the assistance of Lord Longford.  She was denied the right of appeal when the court of appeal declared its satisfaction that no miscarriage of justice had occurred.  In 1970, Hindley broke off all contact with Brady, his hold on her being completely broken by the realisation that she would never see him again.

Seven years later, more than ten years after her imprisonment Hindley began a campaign to win her freedom, one that still continues today.  Over the next two years, she compiled a 20,000-word document in which she portrayed herself as the innocent victim of Brady's manipulative personality.  She continued to uphold her original story that Brady was the guilty party, with Smith as his accomplice. 

The document was submitted to the Home Office in order to gain permission to make application for parole.  The then Home Secretary, Merlyn Rees established a committee comprised of Home Office and parole board officials who determined that it would be another three years before Hindley's application for parole could be heard.

Prior to the completion of this document, in 1978, Brady made his first public statement.  He declared that he did not intend to apply for parole as he

".accepted the weight of the crimes both Myra and I were convicted of justifies permanent imprisonment, regardless of expressed personal remorse and verifiable change."

He was soon to virtually disappear from public view as his mental state began to deteriorate.  He suffered from visual and auditory hallucinations and believed that the Home Office was trying to kill him.

Hindley's application for parole was delayed a further three years in 1982 by the next Home Secretary, William Whitelaw.  When her application was finally heard in 1985, twenty years since her imprisonment began, it was rejected.  Home Secretary Leon Brittan announced that Hindley's case would not be heard again for at least five years.  His personal opinion, expressed only in private, was that Hindley should serve at least another fifteen years.

The European Court of Human Rights' rejection of Hindley's case as "inadmissible" in 1986 was probably the final confirmation to Hindley that her claim of non-involvement in the murders was totally implausible.  At the end of 1986, a letter written by Keith Bennett's mother, begging Hindley to reveal what had happened to her son, provided Hindley with the inspiration for a new set of tactics.  Early in 1987, Hindley was again making front-page news with the public release of her full confession.  She now admitted both the knowledge of, and involvement in all five murders, including those of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett, although she continued to insist that she hadn't actually committed murder.  Brady's confession followed shortly after, but he declined to offer any public statements of remorse.

The confessions confirmed police suspicions that the remains of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett had been buried somewhere on the moors.  Neither Hindley or Brady was able to pinpoint the exact locations, but Pauline's body was finally located on 1 July 1987, identified by her pink party dress.

While Hindley and Brady's accounts of the events leading up to Pauline's murder correspond, their descriptions of Myra 's role in her death do not.  According to Hindley's account, Myra had tricked Pauline into coming with her to Saddleworth Moor by offering her some records if she would help Myra to find a lost glove.  Once on the moors, Brady arrived on his motorbike and went with Pauline to look for the glove while Myra waited at the car.  While he was gone, Brady had raped Pauline and cut her throat before returning to the car to get Myra to help him bury the body.  Her role, according to Brady, was much more active, in which she physically and sexually assaulted the girl with him.

Keith Bennett's body was never found but Hindley's confession has given his family some indication of how he died.  Hindley had lured him into the car with a request for assistance in loading some boxes.  Once at Saddleworth Moor, Brady had taken Keith down the gully to a stream where he raped and then strangled him, burying him somewhere nearby.

In her description of Lesley Ann Downey's murder, Hindley again places herself away from the scene at the moment of death, claiming that she had been in the bathroom when Brady raped, then strangled her.  Brady claims that in this instance Hindley had in fact performed the strangulation with her bare hands.  This version most closely corresponds with the audio tape recording of the events in which both Brady and Hindley's voices can be clearly heard.

At the time of her confession, Hindley's solicitor expressed his belief that her chances of parole were greatly enhanced by her display of remorse, and he expected that she might succeed in gaining her release in another ten years.  With this in mind, despite her 1987 declaration that she would not continue her fight for freedom, Hindley again applied for parole in 1986.  Bowing to the weight of public opinion and the fierce campaigning of the victims' families, Home Secretary Michael Howard declared that Hindley would never be released, along with twenty-three other prisoners, including Ian Brady, Peter Sutcliffe and Dennis Nilsen.

In 1997, Hindley was allowed to challenge the former Home Secretary Howard's decision in a judicial review by the High Court.  Both Lord Longford and Lord Astor, former editor of the Observer, supported her attempt, claiming that her continued incarceration was a denial of British justice.  He stated that in no other case had a prisoner's sentence been increased from the original term, in this case thirty years.  In January 1988, Hindley's council, Mr. Edward Fitzgerald QC, reiterated Astor and Longford's sentiments in the High Court.  According to Fitzgerald, Hindley's was the only case in which a "secondary party" to murder was given natural life.  He also stated that Home Secretary Jack Straw, while publicly maintaining that Hindley's case was open to review, had privately said "I will not be the Home Secretary who sets her free."  Fitzgerald believed that such statements made it impossible for any future Home Secretary to do so.

Hindley's challenge was unsuccessful.


In 1998, while Brady languished in jail, the British public was no more ready to forgive Myra Hindley than they had been back in 1965. It is difficult to imagine that any future Home Secretary will be willing to risk his career to release her. Perhaps if Hindley had been more patient in her attempt to gain her freedom and waited until the original thirty year period had come to an end before applying for parole, the public emotion toward her may have had a chance to cool. As it was, the public was constantly reminded of its initial reaction to the murders by Myra 's regular coverage in the media. That first image of a peroxide, glowering and dark-eyed Hindley, left an indelible impression on the minds of the British public who saw her as the personification of evil, an image that they are obviously unwilling to forget.

In the last days of 1999, Myra , age 57,  was briefly released from  Highpoint Prison in Suffolk to West Suffolk Hospital to undergo tests after she collapsed.  Prison officials were concerned that she may have suffered a stroke.  However, hospital spokesman said, "Hospital doctors have decided that the patient is fit enough to be discharged into the care of the Prison Service."  Myra smokes heavily and suffers from angina and high blood pressure.

On January 1, 2000, it was announced that Hindley was going to take her life imprisonment battle to the House of Lords.  At this time, Myra had served more than 33 years in jail.  Ian Brady, age 61, had gone on a 3-month hunger strike, hoping to kill himself rather than die in prison.

Update of the Myra Hindley Story

Campaign for freedom

In 1997, 31 years after she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, Myra Hindley began a campaign for her early release.  A news story, featured in BBC's Online Crime Archive , detailed how Hindley believes she has "atoned" for her crimes and should be released from prison.

A month earlier, Sir Frederick Lawton, a former Appeals Court judge, had said the Home Secretary Jack Straw was wrong in his decision that Hindley should never be released as he did not take into consideration the parole board's view that Hindley had "confronted her offending behavior and was no longer a risk to the public."

Her original sentence, set in 1985 by the British Home Office, was for 30 years, which meant she would have been due for release in 1996.

However in 1990, the then Conservative Home Secretary, David Waddington, decreed, "Life should mean life," meaning Hindley would die in prison.

In 1994, Waddington's decision was confirmed by the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard, and again when Jack Straw took office after Labor's election victory in May 1997.

Lawton also said he believed that if the decision had been left to the judges, justice would have been done and Myra Hindley would be free, regardless of the outcry such a decision would have caused.

Based on these and other comments, Hindley's lawyers launched an appeal against the original ruling but on Thursday, December 18, 1997, the appeal was rejected.

Following the decision Hindley was placed on a "suicide watch" at Durham Prison.

Life Behind Bars

Although Hindley continues to fight for her release she is aware that her life would be far from normal outside of prison as relatives of her victims have vowed vengeance if she is ever released.  She has gained a degree in humanities, spends most of her time reading and studying languages and, according to her prison counselor, "deeply regrets her involvement with Brady." 

Since "rediscovering" her faith in Catholicism during the 70's, Hindley continues to express sorrow and remorse for her crimes.  "I ask people to judge me as I am now and not as I was then," she has stated.

During her years in prison she has attracted a long list of supporters including Lord Longford, solicitor Andrew McCooey, the Reverend Peter Timms, and David Astor, a former editor of The Observer . 

Regardless of their varying backgrounds they all believe that Hindley has served more than double the usual sentence for murder, has been on good behavior for the duration of that sentence and therefore is overdue for release.  "She had shown no criminal tendencies until her involvement with Brady, and she has shown none since," David Astor has said.

Her lawyers have also argued that she has been assessed by psychiatrists, doctors, prison officials and chaplains who all agree she is no longer a threat to society. This, together with the guidelines set up under the parole system of the 1960's means she has more than qualified for early release.

A public poll, conducted by BBC Radio 5Live , disagrees, with 66% of listeners voting that she should never be released, compared to 34% who believe that Hindley should have some chance for freedom.  The mother of Keith Bennett, one of Hindley's victims, agrees with the poll results: "The Government must listen to what the people are saying and never let her go."

Failing Health

On Friday, December 19, 1997, according to the {BBC Online} archive, Hindley was taken to Dryburn hospital in County Durham for undisclosed tests.  During her stay in hospital she was kept in a single room under armed guard.

A month later she was moved to Highpoint medium security prison in Suffolk which has the reputation of being more like a holiday camp than a prison.

Hindley, who is classed as a category 'A' prisoner as she is considered to pose the greatest risk of escape, is normally subject to the most stringent security measures. 

Her supporters saw the move to the lower security prison as a "breakthrough in her quest for release." 

In September 1999, Hindley was diagnosed as having angina, a direct result of years of heavy smoking.  According to a report in the Sun newspaper, the doctor who examined her considered her heart condition as "advanced" and warned that it "could kill her at any time."

The British Prison Service made no comment following the report, but a prison source confirmed that Hindley is a very heavy smoker.  "She has been told on numerous occasions that if she's suffering from angina and smokes as heavily as she does, then she's bound to be putting herself at risk."

Hearing the news of Hindley's failing health, Winnie Johnson, mother of victim Keith Bennett, called on Hindley to tell authorities where her son's body was buried "before it's too late."  She added that she hoped Hindley suffered before she died.

On Friday, 7 January, 2000, after two further trips to hospital, Myra Hindley was scheduled for emergency surgery at a specialist brain center, to cure a cerebral aneurysm, a potentially fatal brain swelling.

Her condition was described as "serious" with doctors saying that, without treatment, it could prove fatal. 

Three days later, Hindley asked doctors to "let her die" if the operation on her brain failed.  The request came after she had asked her lawyers to draw up a will.

The surgery was later deemed a success but doctors continued to describe Hindley's condition as "fragile."

On Tuesday, 29 February 2000, BBC TV announced it would air a documentary that depicted Hindley saying she wished she had been hanged for her crimes.  The documentary, titled Modern Times showed Hindley asking, "whether some crimes are so terrible that the people who commit them should die behind bars".

The program also features an actress reading from the hundreds of letters that Hindley sent to the show's producer telling the story of her meeting and relationship with Ian Brady.

One letter states: "I knew I was a selfish coward but I could not bear the thought of being hanged, although over the years I wish I had been.  It would have solved so many problems. The family of the victims would have derived some peace of mind and the tabloids would not have been able to manipulate them as they do to this day. 

I would have made a total confession to the priest before I hanged and would not still be half crippled by the burden of guilt that will not go away. But I didn't hang."

In the letters Hindley also detailed how the strength of her love for Ian Brady had been part of the reason she allowed herself to be pushed into murder.  She described him as having "such a powerful personality, such an overwhelming charisma. If he'd told me the moon was made of green cheese or that the sun rose in the west I would have believed him."

The victims' families objected to the program being screened describing it as "a disgrace and an insult".  Alan West, father of Hindley victim Leslie Ann West, was interviewed and asked, "Why can't the families be spared the constant indignity of Hindley's continuous publicity seeking?"

Alex Holmes, BBC Executive producer, defended the programme, saying: "This film is not a platform for Hindley but an attempt to reach some understanding of the terrible crimes that happened.  It's investigating whether life should mean life, an important and current debate that is going on."

On Thursday, 30 March 2000, Hindley's bid for freedom suffered a serious set back when an appeal to the House of Lords for her early release was defeated.  A panel of five lords ruled that her life sentence "must mean life" in view of her "exceptionally wicked and uniquely evil" crimes.  Commenting on the ruling Lord Steyn said, "Even in the sordid history of crimes against children the murders committed by Hindley, jointly with Ian Brady, were uniquely evil."

On hearing the decision, Hindley's lawyers said they planned a further legal challenge in the European Court of Human Rights.

On Monday, 23 April, 2001, media outlets throughout the U.K. carried reports that Myra Hindley was suffering from advanced lung cancer and had only weeks to live.  Prison officials later denied the claims.

Myra Hindley Dies

"Notorius child killer dies"

The headline said it all, Moors murderer Myra Hindley dead at age 60. According to the November 16 story on BBC News Online, Hindley died from respiratory failure arising from a serious chest infection after a suspected heart attack just two weeks before.

Hindley, who had previously suffered from angina and osteoporosis, died at approximately 5.00 PM GMT having received the last rites from a Catholic priest. A Prison Service spokesman said Hindley's next of kin had been informed of her death. Although the official cause of death has already been determined, a routine coroner's inquest will be held as Hindley was still officially in custody at the time of her death.

Prior to her death, Hindley had launched a series of legal challenges to win her freedom but had been informed that she would never be released from prison.

In a statement to the press following the death, Hindley's attorney, Taylor Nichol, said that his client had "truly repented" for her crimes but was "acutely aware" that she would not be forgiven for them. " Myra was deeply aware of the terrible crimes she had committed and of the suffering caused to those who died and to their relatives," the statement said. The statement also said Hindley left friends, family and an elderly mother "all of whom had supported her throughout".

Winnie Johnson, the mother of 12-year-old Keith Bennett, one of Hindley and Brady's victims, said she feared her son's body would never be found. "I always hoped she would be able to tell me at least something of what I wanted to know and I've never given up that hope. Whatever happens, I'll never give up looking for Keith and I'll keep asking Brady. "I have no sympathy for her even in death. The pair of them have made my heart very hard and really I just hope she goes to hell."

In a statement issued after Hindley's death, Greater Manchester Police said the investigation into "issues arising out of the Moors murders case" was ongoing. "We would always investigate any fresh evidence that might lead us to the location of the body of Keith Bennett," it said.

The officer in charge of the 1980s investigation, former Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Topping, said he did not want Mrs Johnson to give up. He told BBC News Online: "There's always hope but it does become more difficult as time goes on. I feel that the families of the victims will find some relief in the fact that (Hindley) has passed on. The families of the victims were tormented by the idea of her ever being released. The fact that she has passed on in prison and has served the sentence as given... I think they will find a little solace in that."

Terry Kilbride, brother of 12-year-old victim John Kilbride, said his family had never got over the killing. "It's like a dagger. It digs in and it will still dig in even though she is dead."

In contrast, Minister Peter Timms, a former governor of Maidstone jail, said: "Her part in the business has always been one of complete remorse and complete regret, she's always done everything she can to help the police."

Hindley's biographer Carol Ann Davies blamed Brady's influence on Hindley for her crimes stating that Hindley was just a "child-loving babysitter" before meeting him. "The parents were happy to leave her for hours with their children," she said.

Mark Leech, editor of the Prisons Handbook, who spent three hours with Hindley in her cell at Durham jail in 1997, disagrees saying: "There was no remorse whatsoever."

Hindley's partner in crime, Ian Brady, now 64, is currently being held at the high security Ashworth Hospital on Merseyside, where he is on a continual hunger strike and being force fed through a plastic tube after failing in several legal attempts to be allowed to starve himself to death.

Close to Freedom?

Following the official announcement of Hindley's death, the Manchester Gaurdian reported that she had died within weeks of a decision by the House of Lords which was "likely to have led to her release." A ruling on an appeal brought by double murderer Anthony Anderson, who is challenging the power of politicians, rather than judges, to set the lengths of murderers' prison sentences, was imminent and was expected to succeed.

The Gaurdian further described how a ruling in favour of Anderson 's appeal would have left the British home secretary, David Blunkett, facing a new challenge from Hindley as she was one of 70 prisoners who had already served longer than the recommended sentence and had planned to apply to Lord Woolf, the lord chief justice, for her release.

In 1985, Woolf's predecessor, Lord Lane, recommended that Hindley should serve no more than 25 years, but subsequent home secretaries fixed her tariff first at 30 years and then at "whole life", meaning she would never be released. Mr Blunkett had already promised to pass a new law to keep high-profile killers such as Hindley behind bars if the current system was declared illegal.

Update of the Ian Brady story

The BBC Online Archive also reports that while Myra Hindley was lodging her 1997 appeal, her partner in crime, Ian Brady, wrote a letter to Home Secretary Jack Straw in support of keeping Hindley in jail for the rest of her life.

The letter also provided Brady with the opportunity to "clarify certain points."

The following are extracts from that letter published in full on BBC Online :

On Their Relationship

"First accept the determinant. Myra Hindley and I once loved each other. We were a unified force, not two conflicting entities. The relationship was not based on the delusional concept of folie a deux, but on a conscious/subconscious emotional and psychological affinity. She regarded periodic homicides as rituals of reciprocal innervation, marriage ceremonies theoretically binding us ever closer. As the records show, before we met my criminal activities had been primarily mercenary. Afterwards, a duality of motivation developed. Existential philosophy melded with the spirituality of death and became predominant. We experimented with the concept of total possibility. Instead of the requisite Lady Macbeth, I got Messalina. Apart our futures would have taken radically divergent courses."

On His Influence Over Her

"The reason why the trial judge made a distinction between Myra Hindley and myself. Before entering the witness box, I instructed both her counsel and my own to ask me specific questions designed to give the fullest opportunity of providing a cover for Myra . This managed to get her off on one murder charge. I also told her to adopt a distancing strategy when she went into the witness box, admitting to minor crimes whilst denying major. When, upon my advice, she appealed against sentence on the grounds that she should have been tried separately, Lord Chief Justice Parker denied the appeal, stating that, far from being disadvantaged by being tried with me, it had been to her great benefit as all my evidence had been in her favor. For twenty years I continued to ratify the cover I had given her at the trial whilst, in contrast, she systematically began to fabricate upon it to my detriment. Therefore, when I learned from the Panorama programme this week that she was now claiming I had threatened to kill her if she did not participate in the Moors murders, I considered that the lowest lie of all. The fact that she continued to write several lengthy letters a week to me for seven years after we were imprisoned contradicts this cynical allegation. Perhaps her expedient demonomania now implies that I exercised an evil influence over her for seven years from my prison cell three hundred miles distant? In character she is essentially a chameleon, adopting whatever camouflage will suit and voicing whatever she believes the individual wishes to hear. This subliminal soft sell lured the innocent and naive. As for the parole board, I advised her to build on three pillars: educational studies, powerful contacts and religion. She did. I myself have never applied for parole and never shall, which is why I can afford the luxury of veracity and free expression."

On Her Campaign for Release

"In the aforementioned Panorama programme, former Home Office Minister A. Widdicombe stated there are twenty-three prisoners in the UK who will never be released. Why has the public heard so little of them? In this and other special hospitals run by prison warders there are also patients no-one has heard of, who have been rotting behind bars for forty and fifty years for relatively minor offences. That puts the present loud debate over Myra Hindley in proper perspective, and crystallizes the reason why I have long advocated UK prisoners and patients in special hospitals should have access to voluntary euthanasia."

The Right to Die

In October 1999, Ian Brady, housed at the high-security Ashworth Psychiatric Hospital , went on a hunger strike stating that he would rather die than "rot slowly" in prison.  After initially refusing all food he was force fed with a tube by hospital staff.  The following December he collapsed and was taken to another hospital to undergo tests.  It was the first time he had been outside Ashworth Hospital since his admittance in 1985.

A staff member told BBC , "The tests showed no cause for concern and Mr. Brady will continue to be re-fed at Ashworth Hospital ."

Following the release of the story, Brady wrote another letter to the BBC , in which he stated his intention of taking legal action over the hospitals decision to force-feed him.

Earlier he had been transferred to a higher security ward after hospital staff discovered a metal bucket handle taped under a sink in a laundry room and believed it could have been used as a crude weapon.  

The letter also detailed his allegation of being assaulted by a squad of male nurses and strip-searched.  Part of the letter said: "I prefer to die healthy rather than rot slowly for their vested interests and expediency."  He also said that he had spent 35 years in captivity and was destined to die in "some garbage can".

Robin Makin, Brady's solicitor, told the press, "Certainly he wants the right not to be force-fed and, if he chooses, the right not to eat and then to die.  He wants the right to starve himself to death, but I cannot say anything more than that about his state of mind."

Lawyer Stephen Grosz added, "Anyone of sound mind who is not a minor can starve themselves or kill themselves otherwise. It is still illegal to aid and abet suicide."

One major impediment to Brady's fight for the right to die is the fact that he was diagnosed as being mentally ill which may have a detrimental affect on his fight for the right to refuse medical treatment.

The article in BBC Online Archive further explains the legal ramifications:

"Under English law, a competent adult can refuse medical treatment.  In the case of Brady, his lawyers argue re-feeding, which is sometimes also known as force feeding, is a medical treatment in response to his self-imposed starvation.  The 1993 case of Tony Bland, the Hillsborough victim who existed in hospital in a persistent vegetative state, established feeding could be seen as medical action.  Given this, the case falls to Brady's mental capacity to refuse treatment and foresee the consequences of his actions."

Fighting Back

In March 2000, Brady wrote another letter to a Liverpool news agency in response to a BBC program in which Hindley stated she was "overwhelmed by Brady's powerful personality."  She also stated that she only took part in the killings "out of twisted love for Brady because she was emotionally immature and unsophisticated."

Brady's letter states: " Myra is a chameleon who simply reflects whatever she believes will please the person she is addressing.  She can kill in cold blood or rage. In that respect we were an inexorable force."

The letter also accuses Hindley of indulging in "destructive delusion and absurdity."

"She has stooped to new depths, alleging I coerced her to serially murder by use of drugs, rape, blackmail, physical violence and practically every other crime in the book.  All the concrete evidence against her has been jettisoned in favour of transparent mendacity and evidential amnesia," he wrote.

He told how Hindley had claimed she had committed her crimes out of love for him and stated; "Now she maintains she acted out of hate for me - a completely irrational hypothesis by any standards in the context of serial homicide."

In March 2000, Brady's appeal for the legal right to starve himself to death was refused by Britain 's High Court.  The judge, Mr. Justice Maurice Kay, "supported arguments made on behalf of the hospital that they were legally justified in force-feeding Brady because his decision to go on a hunger strike was related to his mental condition."

On hearing the decision, Brady said he would still continue with his hunger strike, despite the ruling.  In a five-page letter to BBC News , he wrote,  "The judicial review was a political farce.  The judge was only concerned with not setting a rational precedent. The whole show was cosmetic.  Pinochet [was] not fit to stand trial; I [am] not fit to die. A great country for dictators and Nazi war criminals.  All evidence and common sense on my side was disregarded.  I clearly stated my sole objective was/is death and that I had made no demands or negotiations, and ended up requesting that I be returned to prison to continue the death strike, as prisons do not force-feed.  I continue the death strike doubly resolved and justified."

He also complained about the security measures at the court where he claims he spent three hours a day in a bare police cell waiting for the hearing to begin.

Brady later instructed his lawyers to pursue the complaints either by appeal or by legal challenge to the European Court of Human Rights.  "In either case I want more psychiatrists brought in as further witnesses to my competence. If anyone believes I am bluffing, they need only call it by halting the force-feeding.  I wanted a life in captivity, denied. I wanted death in captivity, denied. Obviously I am simply to be stored.  Events of the past six months of this death strike, culminating in the politically-orchestrated judicial review, merely confirm and reinforce my initial assessment and resolve to die.  Let the public decide who is telling the truth."

In September 2000, Brady launched a new appeal against the decision.  He was in fine form.  "At this year's judicial review, an eminent psychiatric consultant testified that I had a firmer grasp of reality than the Ashworth medical authorities.  The past year has proved that my decision to die was - and is - valid, rational and pragmatic. I have not the least doubt or regret. I merely wish to die. I receive no medical treatment other than force-feeding."

He went on to attack the hospital system.  "Patients have been stored in Ashworth for countless decades at massive public expense, despite having committed no crime or merely trivial offences.  Why are such innocuous patients being left to rot in a top-security hospital in the first place?  The principle by which Ashworth operates to justify itself is crude and simple. It is the self-fulfilling prophesy.  Apply a label. Put the monkey in a cage. Keep poking it with a stick. When it eventually reacts, interpret the reaction as justification of the label."

A spokesman for Ashworth Hospital later said, "We cannot comment on the treatment of individual patients, or their complaints," but confirmed that Brady was still being fed against his wishes, describing his condition as "comfortable".

In April 2001, Brady's lawyers applied for a court order to try to stop doctors force-feeding.  For over 500 days, Brady had been fed liquid food through a plastic tube inserted through his nose and into his throat.  Two weeks prior to the application for a court order, he pulled the tube out and doctors made plans to reinsert the tube against Brady's wishes, an action that Brady's lawyers consider "unlawful."  After removing the feeding tube, Brady was accepting only black coffee or tea with saccharine tablets and water.

At the beginning of last year, Brady went to court in Liverpool to try to establish his right to die but lost the case and doctors at Ashworth were told they did have the power to feed him against his wishes.

In June 2001, the court order preventing Brady from being force-fed was refused. Following the decision, {BBC Online} reported: " Ashworth Hospital commissioned an independent investigation, conducted by Professor David Sines of London 's South Bank University .  Professor Sines concluded the hospital was right to transfer Brady and had acted correctly in deciding to feed him."

The Book Deal

In August 2001, it was revealed that Brady stood to earn £12,000 for a book about serial killers.  The book, which examines the psychology of serial killers including Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, but makes no mention of Brady's crimes.

The decision to publish the book, titled The Gates of Janus, has been condemned by many, including the families of Brady's victims.

A spokesman for the publishers defended their decision saying: "Brady considers the idea of good and evil and believes that people should be able to do what they want. It is very persuasive."

Colin Wilson, a prominent author and criminologist, also defended its publication saying he had "persuaded Brady to write the book to provide an insight to criminologists into the why people kill."

Wilson also stated that Brady has already written his own autobiography.  He said the manuscript is in a solicitor's safe and Brady has given instructions that it is not to be published until after his death.



home last updates contact