Quite simply, this is a story almost everyone in Britain knows. The murders of young children which took place near Manchester in the UK during the 60s, are horrific and as the majority would rightly argue – pointless acts of pure evil.
Who were Ian Brady and Myra Hindley?
Ian Brady was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1938. His mother was on her own (and he never met his father), and in order to support Brady and herself, she was forced to leave him on his own for periods of time in order to go to work.
She ended up placing him under unofficial adoption when he was four months old. She still visited him until he was around 12 years old – never telling him that she was his mother.
Brady was said to be a lonely and difficult child – which is not at all surprising. He was apparently prone to temper tantrums (seemingly more often and aggressive that those of ‘normal’ children) and was slow to make friends or settle into friendship groups.
He developed an interest in Nazis, and began a ‘career’ of petty crime and burglary.
At 16, his criminal lifestyle resulted in him living with his mother and stepfather in order to avoid a custodial sentence.
Myra Hindley, Brady’s partner in crime, was born in 1942 in Manchester, England, and grew up with her grandmother.
After a close friend of hers drowned when she was 15, Hindley left school and converted to Roman Catholicism.
1961 was the year she met Brady. She fell in love immediately and completely gave herself over to him.
When evil met evil
The pair met after Brady’s release from prison in 1957, presumably for his petty crimes and burglary.
Brady became even more of a loner after his release, finding employment at many different places for short periods of time, until he took a job as a store clerk in Manchester.
It was there he met Hindley, when she was employed at the same store as a secretary in 1961.
Hindley was extremely interested in Brady, she would even take to writing about her intense feelings for him in a diary for over a year, until he finally showed some interest in her.
He eventually asked her out, and immediately indoctrinated her in his extreme political views and beliefs, and also encouraged her to read works by Adolf Hitler and other figures Brady admired.
Brady was Hindley’s first lover – she was quickly under his control. She would do many things to please him such as: dressing how he wanted her to; accepting his extreme views; and posing for pornographic photos.
Hindley’s family and friends began to notice a change in her after she met Brady – she apparently became very quiet, shy, and very reclusive.
Crimes and victims
One night in July 1963, the monstrous couple claimed their first victim.
16-year-old Pauline Reade was kidnapped by Hindley on her way to a local dance. She was then driven to where Brady was waiting for her.
Reade was then raped, beaten, and stabbed before being buried.
Four months later in November that same year, John Kilbride, who was only 12-years-old, became the pair’s second victim. Kilbride disappeared from the area of the market in Ashton-Under-Lyne, and was never seen again.
In June the following year (1964), 12-year-old Keith Bennett went missing while on his way to visit his grandmother. Hindley lured him to her car with the false plea for help, asking him to help her load some boxes.
She then met with Brady (Bennett was with her) on Saddleworth Moor. Brady then took Bennett to a gully by a stream, and raped, strangled, and buried him there.
On Boxing Day 1964, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey went missing from a local fairground. After a huge police effort following the report of Downey’s disappearance, but no trace of her was found.
However, October of 1965 was a huge turning point for police.
Hindley’s 17-year-old brother-in-law, David Smith, walked in on Brady killing 17-year-old Edward Evans with an axe.
Both Brady and Hindley joked about the mess (caused by the murder, presumably), and even told Smith about the bodies buried by the Moors.
Smith somehow managed to conceal his horror, most likely due to worry that he would suffer a similar fate to poor Evans. Smith helped the couple clean up the scene, then fled to the police.
The investigation would probably not have gone any further than the death of Evans, if it weren’t for Brady’s mention of the bodies by the Moors.
Police began to dig at the site used by Brady and Hindley, and found Downey’s (naked) body on October 10th, 1965, followed by Kilbride’s body 11 days later.
Despite the horrific discovery of the two bodies on the Moors, police only had circumstantial evidence against the pair. However, a comprehensive search of their home uncovered a ticket for a locker in Manchester Central Station, containing sadistic gadgets and pornographic photos of Downey tied and gagged in Hindley’s bedroom.
Trial and aftermath
The evidence linking Brady and Hindley to Kilbride’s murder was not strong, but luckily it was enough to charge them.
As a result, the pair were charged with the murders of Edward Evans, Lesley Ann Downey, and John Kilbride.
Despite extensive searches, the other two victims (Bennett and Reade) were never found, therefore the couple were not charged with their murders.
They were brought to trial at Chester Assizes on 20th April, 1966 – where they pleaded “not guilty” to all charges.
Despite that, Brady was found guilty of the murders of Downey, Evans and Kilbride. Hindley was found guilty of Downey and Evans’ murders, and also for harbouring Brady as she knew he murdered Kilbride.
They were both sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 30 years for what is known as the ‘Moors Murders’.
Hindley died of respiratory failure on November 15th, 2002.
Brady died on May 15th, 2017, of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a condition that targets the lungs.
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
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