Moors murders

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
Moors Murderers.jpg
October 1965
Ian Duncan Stewart
Myra Hindley

Brady: (1938-01-02)2 January 1938
Hindley: (1942-07-23)23 July 1942
15 November 2002(2002-11-15) (aged 60)
15 May 2017(2017-05-15) (aged 79)
Cause of deathHindley:
Bronchial pneumonia
Cor pulmonale caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Other namesThe Moors Murderers
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment (whole life tariff)
Span of crimes
12 July 1963 – 6 October 1965
CountryUnited Kingdom
Date apprehended
7 October 1965
11 October 1965

The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around Manchester, England. The victims were five children aged between 10 and 17—Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans—at least four of whom were sexually assaulted. Two of the victims were discovered in graves dug on Saddleworth Moor; a third grave was discovered there in 1987, more than twenty years after Brady and Hindley's trial. The body of a fourth victim, Keith Bennett, is also suspected to be buried there, but despite repeated searches it remains undiscovered.

The police were initially aware of only three killings, those of Edward Evans, Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride. The investigation was reopened in 1985, after Brady was reported in the press as having confessed to the murders of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett. Brady and Hindley were taken separately to Saddleworth Moor to assist the police in their search for the graves, both by then having confessed to the additional murders.

Characterised by the press as "the most evil woman in Britain",[1] Hindley made several appeals against her life sentence, claiming she was a reformed woman and no longer a danger to society, but was never released. She died in 2002, aged 60. Brady was declared criminally insane in 1985 and confined in the high-security Ashworth Hospital. He made it clear that he never wished to be released, and repeatedly asked to be allowed to die. He died in 2017, in Ashworth, aged 79.

The murders were the result of what Malcolm MacCulloch, professor of forensic psychiatry at Cardiff University, called a "concatenation of circumstances".[2] The trial judge, Mr Justice Fenton Atkinson, described Brady and Hindley in his closing remarks as "two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity".[3]


Rolling hills covered in grass
Saddleworth Moor, viewed from Hollin Brown Knoll. The bodies of three of the victims were found in this area.

The full extent of Brady and Hindley's crimes did not come to light until their confessions in 1985, as both had until then maintained their innocence.[4] Their first victim was 16-year-old Pauline Reade, a neighbour of Hindley's who disappeared on her way to a dance at the British Railways Club in Gorton, Manchester, on 12 July 1963.[5] That evening, Brady told Hindley that he wanted to "commit his perfect murder". He told her to drive her van around the local area while he followed behind on his motorcycle; when he spotted a likely victim he would flash his headlight, and Hindley was to stop and offer that person a lift. Brady and Hindley provided different accounts of the murder.[4]

Driving down Gorton Lane, Brady saw a young girl walking towards them, and signalled Hindley to stop, which she did not do until she had passed the girl. Brady drew up alongside on his motorbike, demanding to know why she had not offered the girl a lift, to which Hindley replied that she recognised her as Marie Ruck, a near neighbour of her mother. Shortly after 8:00 pm, continuing down Froxmer Street,[6] Brady spotted a girl wearing a pale blue coat and white high-heeled shoes walking away from them, and once again signalled for the van to stop.[4] Hindley recognised the girl as Pauline Reade; a friend of her younger sister, Maureen.[7] Reade got into the van with Hindley, who then asked if she would mind helping to search for an expensive glove she had lost on Saddleworth Moor. Reade said she was in no great hurry, and agreed. At 16, Pauline Reade was older than Marie Ruck, and Hindley believed that there would be less of an outcry over the disappearance of a teenager than there would over a child of seven or eight. When the van reached the moor, Hindley stopped and Brady arrived shortly afterwards on his motorcycle. She introduced him to Reade as her boyfriend, and said that he had also come to help find the missing glove. Hindley claimed Brady took Reade onto the moor while Hindley waited in the van. Brady returned alone after about 30 minutes, and took Hindley to the spot where Reade lay dying. Her throat had been cut twice with a large knife. The larger of these wounds was a four-inch incision across her voice box, and the collar of Reade's coat had been deliberately pushed into this wound.[8] He told her to stay with Reade while he fetched a spade he had hidden nearby on a previous visit to the moor, to bury the body. Hindley noticed that "Pauline's coat was undone and her clothes were in disarray ... She had guessed from the time he had taken that Brady had sexually assaulted her."[4] Brady's account differed from Hindley's. He claimed that Hindley was not only there at the scene, but that she assisted him with the sexual assault on Pauline.[9] Returning home from the moor in the van—they had loaded the motorcycle into the back—Brady and Hindley passed Reade's mother, Joan, accompanied by her son, Paul, searching the streets for Pauline.[10]

Accompanied by Brady, Hindley approached 12-year-old John Kilbride in the early evening of 23 November 1963, at a market in Ashton-under-Lyne and offered him a lift home on the pretext that his parents would be worried about him being out so late. With the added inducement of a bottle of sherry, Kilbride readily agreed to get into the Ford Anglia car that Hindley had hired. Brady told Kilbride that the sherry was at their home, and they would have to make a detour to collect it. On the way he suggested that they take another detour, to search for a glove he said that Hindley had lost on the moor.[11] When they reached the moor Brady took Kilbride with him while Hindley waited in the car. Brady sexually assaulted Kilbride and attempted to slit his throat with a six-inch serrated blade before fatally strangling him with a piece of string, possibly a shoelace.[12]

Twelve-year-old Keith Bennett vanished on his way to his grandmother's house in Longsight, Manchester, early in the evening of 16 June 1964,[13] four days after his birthday. Hindley lured him into her Mini Pick-up—which Brady was sitting in the back of—by asking for the boy's help in loading some boxes, after which she said she would drive him home. She drove to a lay-by on Saddleworth Moor as she and Brady had previously arranged, and Brady went off with Bennett, supposedly looking for a lost glove. Hindley kept watch, and after about 30 minutes or so Brady reappeared, alone and carrying a spade that he had hidden there earlier. When Hindley asked how he had killed Bennett, Brady said that he had sexually assaulted the boy and strangled him with a piece of string.[14]

Brady and Hindley visited a fairground on 26 December 1964, in search of another victim, and noticed 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey standing beside one of the rides. When it became apparent that she was on her own, they approached her and deliberately dropped some of the shopping they were carrying close to her, before asking for the girl's help to 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, perhaps strangled with a piece of string. Hindley maintained that she went to fill a bath for Downey and found her dead (presumably killed by Brady) when she returned. In Chris Cowley's book Face to Face with Evil: Conversations with Ian Brady, Brady states that it was Hindley who killed Downey. The following morning Brady and Hindley drove with Downey's body to Saddleworth Moor,[15] where she was buried, naked with her clothes at her feet, in a shallow grave.[16]

On 6 October 1965, Brady met 17-year-old apprentice engineer Edward Evans at Manchester Central railway station and invited him to his home at 16 Wardle Brook Avenue in Hattersley, Cheshire, where Brady beat him with an axe and strangled him to death.[17]

Other Languages
italiano: Moors murders
Simple English: Moors murders
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Moors ubistva
svenska: Moors Murders