A letter from the Moors Murderer, Ian Brady , in which he advises a young pen pal away from a life of crime and to focus on his studies instead. Here, Brady almost seems to show genuine concern and kindness for the boy. The letter reads:
Thank you for your letter. Now I want you to read this letter very carefully to ensure you fully understand the important points I intend to make. I’ve told you repeatedly in previous letters that crime is a mug’s game, and that you can earn more by training for a skilled job, as you are presently doing, getting good results from your courses and exams, which I tried to assist you with. I spent most of my life in prison advising other prisoners to get out and keep out. There’s nothing romantic about crime, it’s hard unrewarding work even for the criminals who are clever. An amateur would be caught or sold out immediately. Seeing cases in headlines only gives the impression of excitement, while the people behind the headlines rot for decades in tiny cells. If you find ordinary life and freedom boring at times, you can’t imagine how much worse it is in prison. If you could imagine it, you’d soon lose any interest in crime and criminals. Try to imagine sitting in a cell for forty years, while your friends outside are enjoying themselves. I get the impression that you may have written to other prisoners. If they have ever suggested that crime is an intelligent occupation, they are lying simply to comfort themselves. You’ve as much chance of becoming a successful criminal as winning the lottery. The majority of successful criminals have also spent most of their lives behind bars, flash when they win, but never mentioning when they lose. I’m talking from 36 years of experience of criminals remember.
And for me, well my example says it all. I’m already a dead man walking. What’s to be admired about having death as a sole ambition? What’s even interesting about that? You’re young, free, and have everything to look forward to. Forget crime and criminals entirely. Even the Krays spent most of their lives in prisons. So did the Train Robbers, I met them in prison and they were broken men. They would’ve chosen different lives had they been able to see the future. I am weak now and also have flu, so I’m losing all interest in the outside world and have nothing left to teach you or anyone else, except the futility of crime. So I’m beginning to say goodbye to all the people I write to, including you. I enjoyed our letters and the many intelligent questions you have asked - much more than many other people I write to. Simply guide your interested intelligence in a more positive direction. My life is over, long ago. It’s important that you do not believe my stopping writing to you is something personal. It isn’t. I’m simply tired with the outside world in general. It has no relevance to me as I will never see it again. The crucial thing is that you forget all about crime and criminals and get on with your life in a positive manner. Once you commit a crime and are caught, you forfeit all the many benefits of society.
It is also important to realise that your innocent letters to me would get you into a great deal of trouble if certain people outside found out about it. That alone could ruin your life. Understand? Destroy all my letters and simply remember the good advice I’ve given.
There’s no need to answer this letter. I wish you all the best. Thanks for writing.
Best wishes, Ian Brady