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.”
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.
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.
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.’
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)
Woman - You are all right. Hush, hush. Put it in your mouth - hush and shift that hand.
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.
Woman - In your mouth. Hush, hush. Shut up or I’ll forget myself and hit you one. Keep it in.
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.
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 - No. Tell me. Child - Please God. Man - Tell me. Child - I can’t while you’ve got your hands on me.
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) (Footsteps) (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.]
This is the grave of Lesley Ann Downey. At 10 years old on 26 December 1964 She was abducted from a funfair in Ancoats by Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley where she was taken to their home to be tortured and murdered before being buried on Saddleworth moor.
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 from inside the house of The Moors Murderers, where the final two murders of 10 year old Lesley Ann Downey and 17 year old Edward Evans took place, as opposed to taking place on Saddleworth Moor.
Moors Murderer Ian Brady dies aged 79, taking secret of where he buried Keith Bennett, 12, to the grave
Moors Murderer Ian Brady has died after spending more than five decades behind bars.
The bedridden 79-year-old killer was being held at a high-secure hospital in Merseyside after torturing and killing five children with partner Myra Hindley.
His death, hours after he was urged to “do the right thing” and reveal where the last of his child victims is buried, means he takes some of his secrets about the horrors to his grave.
Brady was jailed for the killings of John Kilbride, 12, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, 17, in 1966.
He went on to admit the murders of Pauline Reade, 16, and 12-year-old Keith Bennett.
Glasgow-born Brady had been held at Ashworth High Secure Hospital since 1985 and died at 6.03pm on Monday.
A spokesman said the serial killer, who used the name Ian Stewart-Brady before his death, had been on oxygen.
Brady was not found dead in his room in the Merseyside unit, the spokesman said, but he was unable to confirm if anyone was with him when he died, adding: “Quite possibly. I don’t know.”
Terry Kilbride, the brother of victim John, said he will still have to deal with the “nightmare” Brady has left behind.
He told the Sun: “It’s a lot to take in. It’s been years and years of anguish and pain for us and the families of the victims.
"But nothing will change. He’s dead but we will have to still live with the nightmare that he left behind.
"He’s ruined our lives all these years and he’ll still ruin it even though he’s gone. I feel numb.”
Mr Kilbride added that there were no other words to describe Brady apart from “a murderous psychopath”.
The crimes of Brady and Hindley - who died in prison in 2002 - shocked the nation as details of how the pair snatched children off the street, abused and tortured them to death were recalled during their trial at Chester Assizes.
Brady escaped the hangman’s noose as the death penalty was abolished just months earlier and was handed three life sentences.
In 2013 Brady asked to be moved to a Scottish prison so he could not be force fed, as he could be in hospital, and where he could be allowed to die if he wishes.
His request was rejected after Ashworth medical experts said he had chronic mental illness and needed continued care in hospital.
In February he was refused permission to launch a High Court fight to have the lawyer of his choice representing him at a tribunal where the decision would be reviewed.
Former police officer Norman Brennan, who represented the family of victim Lesley Ann Downey, told Newsnight about the “grief and torment” he saw on the faces of her mother and father.
He told the programme: “To know that your daughter was lost, alone and murdered and then actually her death was recorded, the grief can never ever be etched from your mind.
"Those two individuals, Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, they didn’t just destroy five young children’s lives.
"For their relentless appeals and false hopes that they gave the families for over 50 years destroyed all of the families as well, even to this day.”
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.
Ian Brady obituary: Convicted killer notorious for the depravity of his crimes
It was half a century ago that Ian Brady and Myra Hindley brutalised and killed five young people in acts so cruel that they have ever since been associated with the most unspeakable depravity.
The partners in mindless murder buried four of their victims, one of them just 10 years old, in a sparsely populated area of the Pennines in Lancashire in what were known as the Moors Murders.
Their victims, three boys and two girls aged between 10 and 17, were abused before they died. In some cases Brady and Hindley later returned to their unmarked graves and, smiling, posed for photographs.
There was a particularly pitiless aspect to their murder of a 10 year old girl, Lesley Ann Downey, whose brother described her as “almost like a porcelain doll – we always used to call her our little doll.”
They tormented the child, but before killing her made a tape-recording of her final moments of life. “It hurts me,” she pleaded. “I want to see mummy.”
For many years Brady and Hindley prolonged the agony of bereaved parents by refusing to reveal where bodies were buried. It was only decades later that they agreed to point out locations on Lancashire’s Saddleworth Moor.
But the body of one 12 year old boy has never been discovered, Brady repeatedly brushing aside the pleas of his ageing mother.
Brady’s death came after half a century in which he was held first in prison and later in high-security psychiatric units. All through his imprisonment he was completely devoid of remorse.
A criminologist who interviewed him concluded: “He would kill again without any thought for anyone who gets in his way. For him it’s like swatting a fly, which is how he regarded the children he murdered.”
Myra Hindley, who died in 2002, campaigned for years to be released, but Brady did not, instead pressing to be allowed to kill himself.
There were many calls for his wish to be granted, but the authorities reacted to a decade-long hungerstrike by having him involuntarily fed on a daily basis. At the same time, successive home secretaries ruled that he should never be released.
Originally known as Ian Stewart, Brady was the son of an unmarried Scottish woman who gave him up to foster parents living in the tough Gorbals district of Glasgow. Known from an early age as a bully who picked on younger children, he sadistically tortured cats and dogs.
As a youth he was in trouble with the law for offences such as housebreaking and was first placed on probation and later sent to a borstal. He went through a variety of jobs as a teaboy, messenger and labourer. He also read books on violent themes by the Marquis de Sade and Hitler.
When he met Myra Hindley he was 22 and she was 18. They both worked in clerical jobs at a small chemicals firm on the outskirts of Manchester, where they were both regarded as reasonably intelligent and not out of the ordinary.
She had been raised in poverty in Manchester by parents who, it was said, often beat her. Until she met Brady she was regarded as a normal teenager who was religious and, with dreadful irony, loved children.
Apparently impressed by his reading habits, she was immediately attracted to him, writing in her diary: “I hope he loves me, and will marry me some day.” The exact nature of their relationship was to be the subject of much speculation over the decades, centring on whether Brady terrified her or whether she was a willing participant in their crimes.
Their killing spree began in July 1963 when 16-year-old Pauline Reade vanished on her way to a disco. Four months later 12-year-old John Kilbride vanished. The following year Keith Bennett, who was 12, disappeared, and in December 1964 Lesley Ann Downey, who was 10, was abducted by Brady and Hindley from a funfair.
The disappearances were at first regarded by police as mysteries, probably unrelated, since the bodies were buried and no clues could be found.
The police finally caught up with them in October 1965 when, in his own house, Brady strangled 17-year-old Edward Evans after repeatedly striking him with a hatchet. This time there was a witness, Hindley’s brother-in-law.
When he contacted police the following day they found the corpse in the house along with the murder weapon. Detectives also found left-luggage tickets which led them to suitcases containing naked photographs of Lesley Ann Downey together with the tape recordings of her final moments.
Large-scale searches of Saddleworth Moor uncovered the bodies of Lesley Ann and of John Kilbride.
Brady and Hindley pleaded not guilty to all charges against them when they went on trial at Chester Assizes in April 1966, but the evidence against them was overwhelming.
The court heard the harrowing tape of Lesley Ann Downey being tortured before she was killed and buried. On it Hindley was heard by turns cajoling, soothing and threatening the terrified child. A court reporter fainted.
It took the jury less than three hours to convict both of killing Lesley Ann and Edward Evans. Brady was also found guilty of murdering John Kilbride, while Hindley was convicted as an accessory after the fact.
Since the death penalty had just been abolished the two escaped execution, instead being sentenced to life imprisonment. The judge described them as “two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity”.
In other comments he drew a distinction between the two, declaring: “Though I believe Brady is wicked beyond belief without hope of redemption, I cannot feel that the same is necessarily true of Hindley, once she is removed from his influence.”
During their first years in prison Brady and Hindley exchanged letters, but by 1972 their relationship had gone sour. In 1985, after a long period of illness, he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and was transferred from prison to psychiatric hospital.
He had, as Lesley Ann Downey’s mother, Anne West, remarked, “at least the decency to go mad.”
A few years later first Hindley and then Brady admitted they had killed Keith Bennett and Pauline Reade. She harboured hopes of her eventual release and believed this would help her cause.
They were taken separately to the moor by police, where the body of Pauline Reade was found. But that of Keith Bennett was never recovered, either in this or in later searches.
The Crown Prosecution Service considered taking Hindley and Brady back to court, but decided it was not in the public interest to do so.
Unlike Hindley, Brady never sought parole, and in fact made it clear he wished to die in prison as quickly as possible. He tried to starve himself to death by going on a hungerstrike which lasted more than a decade but was fed via a nasal tube.
He said of hospital staff: “I request and expect nothing from the vermin here except a coffin, and yet I am politically force-fed as they can’t leech a living from dead bodies.”
When Hindley fell ill he complained bitterly: “Myra gets the potentially fatal brain condition whilst I have to fight simply to die.”
While it had been widely accepted that Brady was the prime mover in the Moors murders, Hindley was the more detested of the pair, often being described as the most hated woman in Britain.
Opinions differed on whether she had been a mere puppet in the murders or a willing participant, and in 1998 the two engaged in a bitter slanging match on this point.
In a newspaper interview she claimed she had acted entirely under duress, declaring of Brady: “He used to threaten me and rape me and whip me and cane me. I would always be covered in bruises and bite marks. He threatened to kill my family. He dominated me completely.”
This enraged Brady, who retorted that she was a manipulative liar who had “happily” taken part in the five killings and needed no coercion from him.
Over the years he rejected the periodic impassioned pleas from Winnie Johnson, mother of Keith Bennett, to help locate her 12 year old son whose body has lain on Saddleworth Moor for half a century. Spurning her appeals he wrote to her curtly in 2009: “This is my last word on the matter”. Johnson died on 18 August 2012.
In his final years his body was described as skeletal, with rotting teeth and failing eyesight. But a photograph of him showed he still possessed the same cold staring gaze he had in the 1960s.
The serial killer had reportedly been ill for some time and had been receiving palliative care.
Brady died without revealing the location of where the last of his child victims was buried, despite desperate requests from the family.
He died as he lived, devoid of remorse, mercy or compassion.
A police van carries Myra Hindley and Ian Brady from court after both were found guilty of 1965 torture murders of five children aged between 10 and 17—Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans.
The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around what is now Greater 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.
The murders are so named because two of the victims were discovered in graves dug on Saddleworth Moor; a third grave was discovered on the moor in 1987, more than 20 years after Brady and Hindley’s trial in 1966. The body of a fourth victim, Keith Bennett, is also suspected to be buried there, but despite repeated searches it remains undiscovered.