Their names will go down in history as two of the most evil killers the world has ever known - Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, who tortured and slaughtered five children for their own sick pleasure. Now both have died, the location of the body of one of their victims - Keith Bennett - will maybe never be known.
On 12 July 1963, 16-year-old Pauline Reade set off to walk to a local dance. But then a car pulled up. It was her neighbour, Myra Hindley, who asked if Pauline would help to search for a glove she’d dropped on Saddleworth Moor. Yet on the moor, Myra watched as her boyfriend Ian Brady swooped, raping Pauline, then slashing her throat. The wicked pair then buried Pauline – and returned home to celebrate…
They were the infamous Moors Murderers, a couple who enjoyed raping and torturing children. Their crimes horrified the world.
Brady was born in a Glasgow slum in 1938, he never knew his father. His mother Peggy, a waitress, often left him home alone as she worked. Finally she gave him to a local foster family. Brady became an angry child.
Never making friends, he was a bully who tortured animals, once throwing a cat out of a top floor window. Young Brady became obsessed with Hitler, the Marquis De Sade and philosopher Nietzche. Sade’s books celebrated sexual cruelty, while Nietzche believed all humans are driven by being more powerful than others.
Nietzche wrote: ‘To speak of just or unjust in itself is quite senseless; in itself… no injury, assault, exploitation, destruction can be “unjust”. The will of life is bent upon power.’ Brady eagerly adopted their beliefs.
As a young man Brady drifted between jobs. Then age 23, he met secretary Myra Hindley, 19. She became infatuated with Brady, and fell totally under his control, adopting his beliefs and enjoying sadomasochistic sex, which Brady often filmed.
‘He could have told me that the earth was flat, the moon was made of green cheese, I would have believed him,’ Hindley later recalled.
Encouraged by Hindley’s adoration, Brady finally revealed his belief that rape and murder were the ‘supreme pleasure’ and that he dreamt of committing the ‘perfect murder’. So Hindley made his dream a reality, by luring Pauline Reade to the moors…
And once was not enough for the depraved couple. Four months later, Hindley enticed John Kilbride, 12, from a market in Ashton-under-Lyne. Brady was waiting on the moor, where he stabbed the little boy, strangled him with string and buried him.
Next was Keith Bennett, 12, who Brady molested, strangled and buried as Hindley watched. Lesley Ann Downey, 10, was their next victim. She was raped, murdered and buried. Before she died the couple took photos of her naked, bound and gagged, and made a horrific recording of her screaming, sobbing and begging for mercy.
And throughout their killing spree, Brady and Hindley regularly posed for photos at the murder scenes and grave sites showing that they took pleasure from these horrific acts. These were memories, for them to look over in old age.
But now having one disciple was not enough for Brady. He wanted more followers – and believed Hindley’s brother-in-law David Smith, 17, was a kindred spirit. David already had convictions for violence, and idolised Brady. So in October 1965, Brady and Hindley invited David to their house.
Then Brady brutally murdered Edward Evans, 17 – lured there from Manchester train station – in the lounge as David watched, horrified.
‘I heard a hell of a scream.. really high-pitched,’ he’d testify later. ‘The screams carried on, one after another, really loud. I heard Myra shout, “Dave, help him!” Ian was standing over him… he was holding (a hatchet) above his head and he hit the lad on the left side of his head. It sounded horrible.”
Afterwards, the pair laughed, teasing David about ‘the look on his face’. Terrified, he helped Brady wrap the body in plastic sheets, but then he fled, calling the police. Officers swooped, finding Evans’ body and Brady’s reign of terror was over.
And when police discovered the photographs and recordings of Lesley’s murder, they realised they’d caught the Moors Murderers, and using the photos, they located the graves of Downey and Kilbride.
In April 1966 Brady and Hindley pleaded not guilty. But Brady was convicted and given three life sentences for murdering Evans, Downey, and Kilbride. Hindley got two life sentences, plus seven years. For murdering Downey and Evans, and harbouring Brady in the knowledge that he’d murdered Kilbride.
Ever since, Brady had demanded the right to end his life in prison. In 1987, he was horrified when Hindley confessed to all five murders. But later, he also ‘confessed’ to five more, offering to lead police to all the graves. But once the moors, he claimed he was lost, and officers refused to ever give him another ‘thrill’ of visiting the crime scenes.
In November 2002, Hindley died from pneumonia, aged 60. Brady, died aged 79 in a secure hospital.
Keith Bennett’s body remains lost on the moors. His mother, Winnie Johnson died in August 2012 after spending almost 50 years appealing to Brady to tell the police where her son’s body is.