Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, the Moors Murderers
The “ Moors murderers “is the name given to Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Their names are synonymous with evil. For those of us born after the event we might not be sure exactly what they did but we know it was as bad as it can get.
Myra Hindley met her boyfriend Ian Brady at a Christmas party ‘ whilst working in Manchester at a chemical firm in December 1962. Ian Brady may have had charms but his interests would have put most girls off, Nazism, Nietzsche and the Marquis de Sade. To meet her boyfriends whims, Hindley had her hair bleached blonde and this became her trademark colour.
THE FIRST FOUR MURDERS
On 12th July 1963 Hindley lured a girl she knew Pauline Reade, aged just 16, into the car with her and they drove to Saddleworth Moor to retrieve a glove that Hindley said she had lost there. She promised Pauline a record ( the forerunner of CD), if she managed to find the glove. Pauline had nothing to fear, she knew Hindley as being a friend of her sister and it was an innocent request to her.
Brady arrived at the moor on his motorbike as if to look for the expensive glove that had gone missing. Brady took Reade off on his motorbike whilst Hindley waited in her van. He returned alone having raped Pauline before cutting her throat. Brady returned to pick Hindley up and they went to where Pauline lay dying and buried her on the moor. They put the motorcycle in the back of the van and returned home to find Pauline’s mother and brothers walking the streets looking for her.
On 23rd November 1963 they kidnapped and murdered John Kilbride aged 12. Hindley was at a market in Ahston Under Lyme and asked John to help her carry some boxes to her car. Inside the hired Ford Anglia, sat Brady. They took him to the moor and whilst Hindley sat in the car, Brady took him to a more isolated area and sexually assaulted him before trying to slice his neck with a knife. The blade was serrated and did not cut that well so Brady was forced to strangle the child. Again Hindley did nothing to help the child.
On 16th June 1964 victim No 3, Keith Bennett was abducted. He was on his way to visit his grandma. Again Hindley asked the boy for help to load boxes into her mini van with the promise that she would take him to his grandmas as a reward. Hindley drove to Saddleworth Moor and parked in a prearranged place, a lay by to meet Brady. Brady and Keith went off to look for a glove. Brady returned about half an hour later. When asked he said that he had sexually assaulted Keith and then strangled him.
Victim No 4 was Lesley Ann Downey. The couple noticed the 10 year old when they visited the fair. Again they used the box trick and the child helped them load the boxes into the van and then went with them to their home to unload them. Lesley Ann was forced to undress and pose for pornographic photographs taken by Brady,and then the couple taped themselves torturing her. Brady then raped Lesley Ann and she was strangled.. Hindley said that she had gone upstairs to run a bath for the child and when she came downstairs Brady had killed Lesley Ann. They drove to Saddleworth Moor and buried Lesley Ann with her clothes in a neat parcel at her feet.
THE MURDER OF EDWARD EVANS
Brady and Hindley began to believe that they had power over life and death and began to tell their families of their exploits. Hindleys Brother in Law was David Smith aged 17, who was married to her younger sister Maureen. Brady became friends with Smith and they decided to "roll over a queer." (their words, not mine) On 6th October 1965 Hindley drove Brady to Manchester Railway station and waited whilst Brady chatted up 17 year old Edward Evans . They both came back to the car, and Hindley was introduced to Evans as Brady’s sister. They got back to the house and a bottle of wine was opened. Hindley was sent to fetch her brother in law ,Smith and gave him instructions. He was to wait outside the house until he saw her signal a flashing light then he was to knock on the front door . When he did this, Brady opened the door and asked if he had come for the miniature wine bottles? Hindley was in the kitchen feeding her dogs when she heard some scuffling noises from the front room. She looked and saw Smith standing in the doorway and shouted at him to go and help Brady. Smith watched Brady hit Evans with the flat side of an axe and then strangle him with electrical cord. The struggle had been so violent that Brady had injured his foot and could not help Smith to carry the body to the car, so they wrapped it in plastic and put it on the spare bed.
Smith made arrangements to meet Brady the next day when it was hoped that his ankle would be able to take his weight. Smith went home and after a little while told his wife what had happened. She immediately told him that he needed to phone the police. Smith was terrified that Brady would find him and attack him if he told the police but at 6.07 am the morning after the attack, Smith rang the emergency services.
INITIAL POLICE INVESTIGATION
Shortly after the call the Police went to Brady’s house. They stated that they were doing a search owing to suspected firearms offences. Eventually the door of the bedroom was opened and they found Edward Evans trussed up body. At the time of his arrest Brady was heard to say “Eddie and I had a row and the situation got out of hand”. Hindley was not arrested but demanded to go to the police station with Brady. She did not change her statement that it was an accident. On 11th October Hindley was arrested and charged as an accessory to the murder of Edward Evans and was remanded to Risley.
During the initial investigation Smith told the police that Hindley and Brady boasted that they had hidden evidence in a Manchester station. The police checked all left luggage points and found two suitcases containing pornographic photographs and a tape of a girl screaming for help. This tape was subsequently identified by the mother of Lesley Ann Downing as her daughter. Further evidence was found such as the scribbling of the name John Kilbride in an exercise book which made the police think that there was more than one murder to be investigated. A close neighbour, Pat Hodges had spent time with Brady and Hindley and was able to point out to the police their favourite places on the moor. Detectives combed the moor and found an arm bone sticking out of the peat. The body was found to be that of Lesley Ann Downing- her mother identified the clothing that was found buried with her. The search moved to the other side of the road and the body of John Kilbride was found.
The committal hearing was held at Hyde Magistrates, Brady was charged with the murder of Edward Evans, John Kilbride and Lesley Ann Downey. Hindley was charged with the murders of Edward Evans and Lesley and Downey and harbouring a criminal in the form of Brady as she had the knowledge that he had killed Kilbride. After an 11 day hearing the case for Committed for trial at Chester Crown Court.
At the trial Smith was the main prosecution witness even though he had convictions himself for housebreaking, actual bodily harm and wounding with intent. The latter when he was only 11 years of age. On 6th May 1966 the jury deliberated for just two hours before delivering guilty verdicts. The abolition of Capital punishment bill had been published whilst Hindley and Brady were awaiting trial and therefore the only sentence that could be imposed was life imprisonment.
The case was not over. Some nineteen years later, Brady confessed to a reporter from the “Sun” newspaper that he had murdered Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett. The police had long suspected this to be the case as the children had disappeared about the same time as the others but they had no proof. When approached, Brady would not repeat his assertion to the police but despite this they started to search the moor again. Following a letter from Keith Bennett’s mother, Hindley volunteered to help the police by identifying places on the moor that Brady had been particularly interested in. The moor had changed and her memory had dulled in the intervening years and she was not able to help the police.
On 10th February 1987 Hindley confessed to the police that she had been involved in all five murders. She again went to help the police find the site but could do little but confirm that they were looking in the right area. The police approached Brady playing him the 17 hour confession tape made by Hindley. Brady replied by saying that he would confess as long as the police gave him the means to commit suicide. As the police could not do this, he did not confess.
Pauline Reade’s body was found in the general area indicated by Hindley. When told of the find, Brady admitted to the killing and agreed to help the police find the missing body of Keith Bennett. Brady was taken to the moor but his recollection was so hazy that nothing was found . Brady wrote to a TV reporter Peter Gould, claiming to have murdered five other young people, however there were no unsolved cases in the area at the time and Hindley stated that she knew nothing of these murders if indeed they had taken place. Brady was again taken to Saddleworth moor but they could not find the body and the search was called off.
Further searches were organised by the police in 2003 using sophisticated electronic equipment to recognise where the earth had been disturbed. In 2009 the hunt was officially called off until either further corroborated evidence was given or technology provided a way of finding the site. In March 2010 as a result of public subscription a team started to look again.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided that it was not in the public interest for either Brady or Hindley to stand trial for the murders of Reade and Bennett as they had already received the maximum sentence. There was some worry in government circles that the trial could be used as a platform for Hindley to plead for parole as she was giving a genuine confession.
For both Brady and Hindley life imprisonment has meant life. Hindley made many bids for freedom but died of a cardiac arrest on 15th November 2002.Brady was declared criminally insane in 1985 and is confined to Ashworth Hospital with other high security cases. Brady has stated that he wishes to remain in prison until he dies. I doubt many would disagree with that.