Ian Brady (79), who tortured and killed five children with his accomplice Myra Hindley, died on May 15, 2017, at 6:00 in the evening at Ashworth Hospital, a psychiatric unit in Merseyside in North West England, where he had been detained since 1985. Brady was convicted of crimes that shocked the nation.
Brady was jailed in 1966 for murdering five children. He had buried four of his victims in graves on Saddleworth Moor, Greater Manchester. The fifth child, Keith Bennett (12), was buried in a secret location. With Brady's death the secret where Keith's body is buried is also lost. Brady took the secret with him in his grave. The horrific incident evokes pathos in readers across the world. The questions that come to one's mind are; what is this Moors Murders? Why did Brady murder the five children? What made him not disclose the location of Keith's grave? What was the whole incident all about?
Let's take a look at an incident that more than 50 years old but gives chill to the spine even today.
The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between the period July 1963 and October 1965, in Manchester, England. The victims were five children, identified as Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans. Aged between 10 and 17, four of these children were sexually assaulted. While the dead bodies of four of the victims were discovered, the details about the fifth dead body, that of Keith Bennett, are still unknown. And now, with Ian's death, the truth is buried with him.
On June 16, 1964, Keith, who was then 12-years old, was on his way to his grandmother's house in Manchester when Ian Brady's partner-in-crime Myra Hindley lured the little boy into her car and drove him to the Moors. Keith is the only victim whose remains are undiscovered. Just a few years ago, Keith's mother Winnie Johnson who passed away in 2012, spent years fighting to find her son to give a Christian burial.
In a video that surfaced recently in the public domain, Winnie is heard pleading Brady to tell her about her son Keith's grave location. In the video, she says, "I want Brady to know that I've got cancer and if he has any decency or respect for himself and me, he will tell me where Keith is before anything happens to me. Brady, I'm wanting you to tell me where Keith is before anything happens to me." Unfortunately, the mother, who was battling cancer, died soon after recording this video.
The full details of the horrific crimes done by Brady and Hindley did not come to light until their confessions in 1985. The first victim of their barbarity was Pauline Reade, a 16-year old girl who lived in Hindley's neighborhood. On 12 July 1963, Pauline disappeared while on her way to dance at the British Railways Club in Gorton, Manchester. She became Brady's victim of "perfect murder," as Brady told Hindley. After Hindley had offered a lift to Pauline, she took her to the moor on the pretext of finding lost gloves. Innocent Pauline agreed to accompany her. When Brady arrived at the spot, Hindley asked Pauline to go with Brady in the moors as she waited for them in the van. After half-an-hour, Brady returned to the van and took Hindley to the spot where Pauline lay dying. Brady had raped the young girl, before slitting and slicing her body. He went to fetch a spade to bury Pauline's dead body.
On November 23, 1963, Hindley approached 12-year-old John Kilbride at a market in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, and offered him a lift home. Hindley was accompanied by Brady, who told Kilbride that he would give him some sherry, but they would have to make a detour on the Moor first. Kilbride was sexually assaulted by Brady, who also slit the young boy's throat with a six-inch serrated blade before fatally strangling him to death with a piece of string.
On hearing Brady's death, John's brother Terry Kilbride, now 63, told The Sun, that he felt "numb" when he heard that Brady was killed. Responding to The Sun, Terry said, "It's a lot to take in. It's been years and years of anguish and pain for us and the families of the victims. But nothing will change. He's dead, but we will have to still live with the nightmare that he left behind. He's ruined our lives all these years, and he'll still ruin it even though he's gone. I feel numb. He was a murderous psychopath. There are no other words to describe what he was, a complete lunatic. Good riddance. I don't drink, but I'll have a pint."
The fourth victim was a 10-year-old girl, named, Lesley Ann Downey, who was present at a fairground on Boxing Day, 1964. When Brady and Hindley found Downey standing alone, they approached her and deliberately dropped some of the shopping they were carrying close to her. They then asked her to help her 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 killed. 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 Edward Evans, 17-year-old apprentice Engineer, at Manchester Central Railway Station. He and invited Evans to his home at Wardle Brook Avenue in Hattersley, Cheshire. When Evans reached Brady's home he beat him to death with an axe.
These murders shook the nation. The duo was sent to jail for life. Myra Hindley died in prison in 2002. Now Ian has joined Myra in hell. He was suffering from cancer and succumbed to the disease last evening. An unnamed source said, "He was allowed to die with dignity, something he failed to offer his poor victims." Brady escaped the death sentence as death penalty was abolished just months earlier and was handed three life sentences.
The murderer - Brady was born in Glasgow in 1938 and attended Shawlands Academy. His childhood background was violent and adversely impacted his mental development. He was neglected by his mother and was raised by foster parents in the Gorbals - Glasgow's slum. Due to parental neglect, Brady indulged in petty crimes. He continued his criminal activities and became a teenage alcoholic.
Later, Brady in an attempt to "better himself" – built a library of books on Nazi Germany, sadism and sexual perversion. He met Myra Hindley at the same company in Manchester where he was working as a stores clerk. Brady impressed her by reading out to her Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf.
It is not clear if Brady took inspiration from the life of Adolf Hitler, the German dictator, who too had a violent childhood and was responsible for the killing of six million Jews across Europe during the Second World War. The spine chilling murders by Brady tell us the importance of family, parenting and socialization. Had Brady lived a normal childhood would he still be a gory killer? There are a lot of children who have not lived a normal childhood, do they all find recourse to murder? No! So, what happened to Brady is not the norm. However, it is important for parents to sensitize their children and engage with them at all levels.