lesley ann downey

Mrs Ann Downey watching the police search Saddleworth moors for the body of her daughter Lesley, a victim of the Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. When her body was first discovered investigators thought it was John Kilbride, another victim, but her mother identified the clothes found with the body as that of Lesley’s. 


A letter written by Moors Murderer Myra Hindley to one of the victims mothers, Ann West. 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey was one of five children killed by Hindley and Ian Brady in the 1960s. In the letter, she is pleading for the victims family to stop campaigning against her release from prison

One line reads:

“I know almost everyone describes me as cold and calculating - ‘evil Myra’ - but I ask you to believe that I find all this deeply upsetting.”

Moors murderer, Myra Hindley, was portrayed as one of the most evil female killers of all time by the British media. Hindley was so desperate to redeem her reputation as a helpless accomplice that she made several public protests, claiming that her only role in the murders was to persuade children to go down to the Moors with her and Brady, so that he could then murder them while she waited in a rented vehicle. However, a disturbing tape recording was uncovered by police: The murder of Lesley Ann Downey. The courtroom was shocked as the sound of Downey’s cries, mixed with Hindley’s aggressive threats and retorts, made it evident that Hindley had been much more than an accessory to murder.


Ann West, mother of the youngest Moors Murders victim, Lesley Ann Downey, giving an interview about the murder of her daughter. 10 year old Lesley was murdered by the notorious serial killer couple, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, on Boxing Day 1964. The day after Christmas, the young girl visited a local fairground alone, with the promise that she’d be home in time for tea. Described as kind, polite and an extremely helpful girl by her family, Lesley was unfortunately the ‘perfect’ target for Brady and Hindley to abduct. The couple asked the young girl for help with carrying some shopping to the car, with promise of a reward when they arrived at their house. Instead, Lesley was lead unknowingly in to the house to be horrifically humiliated; forced to pose for Brady to take pornographic photos, before being raped, murdered and buried on Saddleworth Moor. 

For almost an entire year, Lesley’s family had no idea what had happened to the young girl. They would  spend almost every day searching the grounds the fair had taken place and local areas, calling out her name. Lesley was the first body to be discovered on the Moors. 

Police officers digging at Saddleworth Moor during the investigation into the Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Police officers targeted their investigation there due to the discovery of a photograph of Myra Hindley on the moor with her pet dog, hoping to find the body of 11 year old John Kilbride. During this search they discovered a bone from a human arm sticking out of the peat, which turned out to be the body of another victim - Lesley Ann Downey. The bodies of both Downey and Kilbride had to be identified from items of clothing they wore, due to the extent of decomposition.


Photos taken by the Moors Murderer Ian Brady of his partner in crime and girlfriend, Myra Hindley, and their 11 year old neighbour, Patty Hodges. Patty struck up a friendship with the couple, and regularly visited Saddleworth Moor with Brady and Hindley, where they would allow her to drink wine from the bottle during picnics and country walks. On Christmas Eve, Myra and Ian took Patty up to Hollin Brown Knoll to see in Christmas Day and stayed up on the Moor until around 12:30am. After taking Patty back home, the couple returned to the Moors with blankets where they conspired their next murder. The following day, 10 year old Lesley Ann Downey was abducted from a Fair Ground, to be tortured and killed by Brady and Hindley.

In a letter written by Myra Hindley to Ann West, the mother of Lesley Ann Downey, one line reads: “I know almost everyone describes me as cold and calculating - ‘evil Myra’ - but I ask you to believe that I find all this deeply upsetting.”
10 year old Lesley was one of the five children murdered by Hindley and her lover, Ian Brady, during the 1960s. The couple became known as the infamous ‘Moors Murderers.’

Transcript of the tape with recorded murder of Lesley Ann Downey

Man - This is track four.
Man - Get out of the fucking road.
Man - Get in the fucking basket.

(sound of door banging)
(crackling noise)
(steps across the room and then a recording noise followed by blowing sound into the microphone)

Woman - (Voice quiet, unreadable)

(footsteps, light, walking across room; whispered conversation at the same time)
(speech, distant, containing word ‘upstairs’; then two footsteps)

Child - (screaming) Don’t. Mum–Ah.
Woman - (whispering)Come on.


Woman(whispering) Shut up.
Child - (pleading)Oh, please.
Child - Oh. (then faintly:) Help - oh.
Child - Help. (followed by gurgling noise)
Woman - Sh. Sh.
Woman - Shut up. Shut UP.

(Screams and gurgles)

Child - Oh. Oh. Oh. (child crying)
Woman -(whispering) Keep - and you’ll be all right.
Woman(whispering) Go on.

(Quick footsteps mounting stairs, then entering room)

(Child crying, muffled)

Man(whispering) Here.
Woman - Hush, hush. Go on.

(woman speaking, unreadable)

(Child crying)

Woman - You are all right. Hush, hush. Put it in your mouth - hush and shift that hand.

(child crying)

Woman- Put it in your mouth and keep it in and you’ll be all right.
Woman - Put it in, stop it.
Woman- If you don’t–shh.

(child crying)

Woman - In your mouth. Hush, hush. Shut up or I’ll forget myself and hit you one. Keep it in.

(Child whimpering)

Man - Put it in.
Woman(Spoken quickly) Put it in.
Man - (speaks, but words unreadable except for the word 'hand’)


Man - Put it in. Keep it in. Stop it now. Stop it now.
Woman - I’m only doing this and you’ll be all right.
Woman - Put it in your mouth. Put it in–in.

(further words spoken by the woman which are unreadable except for 'put it in’)

Woman - Will you stop it, stop it.

(womans voice unreadable)
(Child whimpering)

Woman - Shut–
Man - Quick. Put it in now.

(Child whimpering)
(retching noise)

Man - Just put it in now, love. Put it in now.

(retching noise)

Child(muffled) What’s this in for?
Man - Put it in.
Child - Can I just tell you summat? I must tell you summat. Please, take your hands off me a minute, please, please– Mummy–please.
Child- I can’t tell you.


Child(in quick sequence) I can’t tell you, I can’t breathe. Oh.
Child - I can’t–Dad-Will you take your hands off me?

(man whispering)

Man - No. Tell me.
Child -  Please God.
Man - Tell me.
Child - I can’t while you’ve got your hands on me.

(mumbling sound)

Man - Why don’t you keep it in?
Child - Why? What are you going to do with me?
Man - I want some photographs,  that’s all.
Man - Put it in.
Child - Don’t undress me, will you?
Woman - That’s right, don’t –
Child - It hurts me. I want to see Mummy, honest to God.
Man - Put it in.
Child - I’ll swear on the Bible.
Man - Put it in, and hurry up now. The quicker you do this, the quicker you’ll get home.
Child - I’ve got to go, because I’m going out with my Mamma. Leave me, please. Help me, will you?
Man - Put it in your mouth and you’ll be all right.
Child - Will you let me go when this is out?
Man - Yes. the longer it takes you to do this, the longer it takes you to get home.
Child - What are you going to do with me first?
Man - I’m going to take some photographs. Put it in your mouth.
Child - What for?
Man - Put it in your mouth.(pause) Right in.
Child - I’m not going to do owt.
Man - Put it in. If you don’t keep that hand down, I'll  slit your neck.(pause) Put it in.
Child - Won’t you let me go? Please.
Man - No, no. Put it in, stop talking.
Man - What’s your name?
Child - Lesley.
Man - Lesley what?
Child - Ann.
Man - What’s your second name?
Child - Westford. Westford.
Man - Westford?
Child - I have to get home before 8 o'clock. I got to get –(pause) Or I’ll get killed if I don’t. Honest to God.
Man - Yes.

(Quick footsteps of woman leaving room and going downstairs; then a click; then woman’s footsteps coming upstairs; then eight longer strides)

Man - What is it?
Woman - I’ve left the light on.
Man - You 'ave?
Woman - So that –(remainder of sentence unreadable)

(Child starts crying)

Child - It hurts me neck.
Man - Hush, put it in your mouth and you’ll be all right.
Woman - Now listen, shurrup crying.
Child(crying) It hurts on me –
Woman - (interrupting) Hush! Shut up. Now, put it in. Pull that hand away and don’t dally and just keep your mouth shut, please.
Woman - Wait a bit, I’ll put this on again. D'you get me?
Child - (whining) No, I – (remainder of sentence unreadable)
Woman - Sh. Hush. Put that in your mouth. And again, packed more solid.

(whispered sentences, unreadable)

Child - I want to go home. Honest to god. I’ll (further speech muffled but uninterrupted) – before eight o'clock.
Woman - No, it’s all right.
Man - Eh!

(Music commences, country-style tune followed by 'Jolly St Nicholas’, during which various non-vocal noises can be heard; then tune 'The Little Drummer Boy’ during which a voice speaks -unreadable)
(Three loud cracks, systematic, even-timed)
(Music- 'The Little Drummer Boy’ – goes fainter)
(Sounds on tape cease)
(Child sobbing frantically) 

Child: “I’ve got to get back before eight o’ clock. I got to get…or I will get killed if I don’t. Honest to god!”
Man: “Yes.”

(movement, steps, etc)

Man: “What is it?”
Woman: “I’ve left the light on.”
Man: “You ‘ave?”
Woman: “So that…”

(Child crying loudly)

Child: “It hurts me neck.”
Man: “Put it in your mouth and you’ll be alright.”
Woman: “Shut up crying!”
Child: (shrieking) “It hurts me!”
Woman: “Hush. Shut up now. Put it in and don’t dally. Just keep your mouth shut, please.”
Woman: “Wait a bit. I’ll put This on again. Do you get me?”
Child: (whining) No, I…


Woman: “Sh. Shush. Put it in your mouth!”
Woman: “And again, packed more solid…No, it’s alright." 
Man: "Eh?" 

[Three loud cracks were heard next on the tape. Brady explained that they were the sound of his Camera tripod being lowered. Mrs. Downey heard most of the Tape in court, and we can bask in her distress. Christmas music, "The Little Drummer Boy”, was the last thing heard on the Tape.]