Moors Murders – 1963-1965

By | December 19, 2016

“It’s the messiest yet. It normally only takes one blow”


The iconic images of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, issued at the time of their arrest


The most chilling murders of the 1960s still reverberate today. Myra Hindley and her boyfriend, Ian Brady, committed such vile acts that their names have become bywords for evil incarnate.

Hindley began work at Millwards, a chemical firm, on 16 January 1961 and at the office Christmas party on 22 December became involved with a colleague Ian Brady, a 23-year-old, illegitimate Scotsman with an interest in Nazism, Nietzsche and the Marquis de Sade. Hindley dyed her dark hair peroxide blonde to please her new boyfriend.

Two years later, on 12 July 1963 Hindley lured 16-year-old Pauline Reade, whom she knew, into Brady’s car and drove the teenager to Saddleworth Moor. Hindley told the innocent child that she had lost a glove and promised her records if she would help find it. Brady arrived on a motorbike and raped Pauline before cutting her throat. They buried her body on the moor. On 23 November 1963 they kidnapped and murdered 12-year-old John Kilbride and buried him on the moor too. On 16 June 1964, four days after his 12th birthday, they abducted Keith Bennett. He, too, was raped, murdered and buried on the moor. On 26 December 1964 they kidnapped 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey. Brady took pornographic photographs of the little girl and then they taped themselves torturing her. Then Brady raped Lesley Ann and either he or Hindley strangled her to death.

The couple began to think they were invincible and boasted about their foul deeds to family and friends. They told Hindley’s brother-in-law, David Smith, who did not believe them. On 6 October 1965 Hindley took Smith to their house at 16 Wardle Brook Avenue, Hattersley, and there he witnessed them butcher 17-year-old homosexual Edward Evans.

Brady said, “It’s done. It’s the messiest yet. It normally only takes one blow.” Smith went to the police and the pair was arrested. At their trial at Chester Assizes they tried to blame Smith but the evidence was overwhelming and both were convicted of murder on 6 May 1966 and sentenced to life imprisonment. The trial judge had ordered all women to leave the court while the Lesley Ann Downey tape was played.


Saddleworth Moor, off the A635, Oldham, Lancashire; 16 Wardle Brook Avenue, Hattersley, England


Friday 12 July 1963-Wednesday 6 October 1965


Ian Brady has stated that he never wants to be released from prison. Myra Hindley had several lesbian affairs while incarcerated and mounted many bids for freedom. All were turned down. She died of a heart attack on 15 November 2002, aged 60. The bodies of Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride were recovered from Saddleworth Moor on 16 October and 21 October 1965 respectively. Pauline Reade’s body was found on 1 July 1987. The body of Keith Bennett has never been found. In the autumn of 1987 16 Wardle Brook Avenue was demolished.

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