Moors murderers found guilty
It was ‘the end of innocence’ in the eyes of some commentators. The trial of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady for a series of vile murders of children and young people on the eastern side of Manchester was a graphic demonstration of the depravity man – and woman - is capable of, the first such case reported in grisly detail by press and television in a Britain that otherwise since the start of the decade had been enjoying a return to peace, prosperity and a cultural boom. Parents suddenly worried about their children playing outside, kept a closer eye on them, fearful of similar horrors happening to their loved ones.
The pair killed 16-year-old Pauline Reade; Keith Bennett and John Kilbride, both 12; Lesley-Ann Downey who was just 10; and 17-year-old Edward Evans. Their modus operandi involved Hindley luring the victims to a place where Brady could kill them, or sexually assault and then kill them, his preferred method being strangulation with a string or bootlace, though he enjoyed using a knife on some, and his last victim had his brains dashed out with the flat of an axe. The dead bodies were buried on the moors near Saddleworth , close to Oldham .
The protracted death of 10-year-old Lesley-Ann Downey they photographed and tape-recorded, mocking her as she was assaulted. Her poor mother had to identify her daughter’s voice on the tapes for legal reasons, hearing her beg for mercy, pleading to be allowed to go home to her mother.
Crowds at the trial held in Chester would have gladly lynched the evil couple, heavy police presence being required to avoid this. They attempted to blame Hindley’s brother-in-law, David Smith, who had been tricked into witnessing the murder of last victim Edward Evans, but it was he who alerted the police once he got away from Brady and Hindley.
Both were sentenced to life for the murders of the three cases where the bodies had been found – the first two victims were denied by the killers for many years afterwards. In spite of the ridiculously naive view of Lord Longford who campaigned for the release of Hindley as a reformed woman, though she for a long time refused to give details of the locations of graves and for years denied her active and willing involvement in the disgusting crimes, she died in prison aged 60.
Brady spent 19 years in ordinary prisons before being found criminally insane. He has said he does not ever wish to leave prison; it is to be hoped he never has the chance.
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