Written By: Naomi
Trigger Warning: Pedophilia, Child Death, Childhood Sexual Assault
Myra Hindley was born on July 23, 1942 in Manchester, England. She was raised by her grandmother but after the death of a close friend when Myra was 15 she left school and became a Roman Catholic. Four years later at the age of 19 in 1961 she met a stock clerk named Ian Brady with whom she fell in love with.
Ian was born in Glasgow, Scotland on January 2nd, 1938 to a single mother who was forced to leave him alone for long periods of time since she needed to work as a waitress to support them. She was forced to put him up for unofficial adoption when he was 4 months old, she would still visit him often with his new family but she never disclosed to him that she was his mother but Ian quickly figured this out on his own. He was an angry child who was difficult to his adoptive parents, throwing violent temper tantrums where he would sometimes even slam his head into the wall repeatedly. He had a fascination with Nazis and was known for being sadistic and cruel, bullying smaller kids and torturing animals. Ian also started committing small crimes which resulted in him being returned at age 16 to his mother and his stepfather so he would not be charged with a custodial sentence. His obsession with Nazis continued as well as an interest in sadistic and graphic literature before returning to crime which led to him being sent to jail for burglary and petty crimes at age 17.
He was released from prison in 1957 at the age of 19 and went on to work at a Manchester Firm where he would meet Myra when he was 23. Myra was hopelessly in love with Ian and wrote in a journal for over a year about how amazing he was and how she hoped they would get married one day until he finally started to show some interest in her. He was able to pull her into his extreme political views and convinced her to read books by Hitler and other sadistic authors as well as watch graphic films. Soon Myra would dress, or undress, herself to his liking and would pose for pornographic pictures without question. She even believed Ian when he wanted to push his ideals on her further and preached to her that murder and sexual assault were the “supreme pleasure”. She became more secretive and distant from her family, to ensure that she would do as asked Ian planned a robbery and was proud when she took all necessary steps to make it happen. Ian describes this as the proof he needed to know she was his soulmate.
To test Myra’s loyalty to him, Ian planned rapes and murders, it was two years after this in 1963 when the plans would actually come to fruition and they began to claim the lives of their victims.
The first victim was 16 year old Pauline Reade, she was a neighbor of Myra’s who disappeared on the way to a dance. Ian had told Myra that he wanted to “commit his perfect murder” instructing her to drive a van while he rode his motorcycle behind her so he could look for victims and he would flash his light at her to signal for the van to stop and offer the person a lift. Myra had ignored the signal when they passed 8 year old Marie Ruck who was the neighbor of Myra’s mother, wanting to pick someone else.
They continued hunting until after 8pm when they spotted Pauline who was walking in front of them and was the friend of Myra’s younger sister Maureen. Pauline got into the van trusting Myra and offered to help when Myra mentioned she was looking for a pair of expensive gloves she had left in the Saddleworth Moor. It was later agreed that the pair picked Pauline since she was older than the first girl and her disappearance would not be as much of an outrage. When they arrived to the moore Ian arrived on his motorcycle and was introduced to Pauline as Myra’s boyfriend. There are different accounts of this murder since both Ian and Myra later claimed innocence: Myra claims that Ian went down to the Moor with Pauline while Myra waited behind in the van for roughly 30 minutes until he returned for her. She then followed Ian down to where Pauline was dying from her throat being slit in two places, Myra notes that she saw Pauline’s clothes were disheveled leading her to believe Ian had sexually assaulted the girl. Ian however recounts that Myra had been present for the entire thing and assisted Ian in sexually assaulting Pauline. They buried her in the moor and returned home in the van with the motorcycle in the back, passing Pauline’s mother and brother who were out looking for her.
Four months later 12 year old John Kilbride disappeared from the market and was never seen again. Myra and Ian had offered the boy a lift home, convincing him by saying that his parents would be worried if he was out so late and also offered him a bottle of sherry. He got into the rental car and did not ask questions when Ian told John the bottle was at home and they would need to stop to get it then that Myra had to look for a lost glove in the moor, same as Pauline. Again Ian took John into the moor leaving Myra in the car as he sexually assaulted him and attempted to slit his throat before strangling him with a piece of string or shoelace.
In June 1964 12 year old Keith Bennet also went missing on his way to his grandmother’s house, four days after his birthday. Myra lured the boy into her truck by asking him for his help loading boxes into it and then would drive him home. Ian was sitting in the back of the truck and when they reached the moor to once again look for a missing glove he disappeared with Keith for 30 minutes then returning after burying the body. When Myra asked how he had killed the boy he said he had sexually assaulted him and strangled him with string.
On an afternoon in December 1964, 10 year old Lesley Ann Downey disappeared from a fairground. Myra and Ian were visiting the fairground when they noticed her standing next to a ride, waiting to confirm she was there by herself before Myra walked towards her and pretended to drop some shopping by her so she could ask the girl to help her carry the bags to her car and to her home. When they arrived to the home Lesley was stripped and forced to pose for photographs before she was sexually assaulted and murdered. Like with Pauline’s case the accounts of this differ, Myra saying she went to run a bath for Lesley but found her dead when she returned and that she had nothing to do with the murder, Ian says that Myra had been the one to kill Lesley. They drove her body to the moore the next day and buried her in a shallow grave with her clothing at her feet.
The final murder was in October 1965, 17 year old Edward Evans, who was an engineer apprentice was approached by Ian, he agreed to follow Ian to his car where Myra was introduced as Ian’s sister. When they got back home they drank a bottle of wine and Ian requested Myra get her brother-in-law. He was led to the couple’s kitchen and told to stay there before he heard a scream and was told to come help. This is when 17 year old David Smith witnessed the killing, Edward was bludgeoned with an axe and strangled to death with string. He helped Myra move the body to a side room of the house since it was too heavy for him to move himself and Ian had sprained his ankle during the struggle with Edward. David was the husband of Myra’s younger sister Maureen and he hid his horror out of fear that he would be next since his marriage to Maureen had not gone over well with the family due to a criminal past of his own. The only person David was close to was Ian, he was fascinated with the man and his violent and unorthodox beliefs, he looked up to him which worried Myra that her position as Ian’s partner was at stake and her safety was in jeopardy if that was the case. He agreed to help dispose of the body the following day and went home, telling his wife about everything that had happened. They agreed to call the police and went to a nearby pay phone with a knife and screwdriver in hand, afraid they would be attacked by Ian. They alerted the police of the murder.
Ian was arrested shortly after the call was placed. When the officer searching the home he found the door to the room Edward was in locked, Ian originally told the police they could not access the room but later opened the door for him and told the officer that he and Edward had a fight that got out of hand. Myra was not arrested but demanded to follow the officer and Ian to the station with their pet dog. When questioned Myra would only tell police it was an accident but they had no reason to believe she had commit the murder so she was allowed to go home as long as she returned the next day for questioning. She destroyed paperwork in their home that she claims were plans for bank robberies but had nothing to do with the murders. She was finally charged with accessory to murder for her suspicious actions.
Ian told police Myra had nothing to do with the murder and was only doing what she was told, instead he claimed that he and David where the ones to commit the murder.
When police searched Myra and Ian’s home they found a book that had John Killbride’s name scribbled in it and pictures of Saddleworth Moor. 150 officers searched the moor and it is then they found the body of Lesley Ann Downey, her mother was present when they were searching and when shown the clothes she was able to identify them as her daughter’s. David had told police that Ian had packed away “dodgy” materials in a suitcase but did not know what they were but that Ian had likely stored it in a railway station. A search warrant was issued and eventually one was found under Ian’s name. It contained pornographic images of a young girl along with a 16 minute audio recording of her screaming and begging for help, Myra and Ian’s voices were audible in this recording as well. Ann Downey listened to the tape after the body of her missing 10 year old child was found and was able to confirm it was the voice of her daughter Lesley. Ian swears that he and Myra did not kill Lesley and that she had left their house alive, and that David must have killed her later.
Five days after the body of Lesley was found the badly decomposed body of John Killbride was found, identified by the clothing he wore as well.
The couple was suspected of murdering other missing kids and teens from around Manchester over the last few years but with winter fast approaching no other bodies could be located. Myra and Ian were put on trial on April 19th, 1966 where they both pleaded not guilty to the murders. In some of the photographs of the moors the police had found in their home their dog Puppet was present as a puppy. To help find the time frame of these deaths the police had the dog examined by a vet to determine the age. However, because the dog had an un-diagnosed kidney problem it died from the anesthesia which caused Myra to become furious and accuse the police of murdering her dog. It is supposedly one of the only times anyone witnessed an emotional response from her during the case.
The trial was held over 14 days until they were found guilty of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride, Ian was guilty for the murder of Edward Evans and Myra was guilty for harboring Ian knowing he had killed John Kilbride. Ian was given three life sentences and Myra was given two along with 17 years for harboring Ian with the knowledge he had killed John Killbride.
Ian was described by the judge as “Wicked beyond belief” but when describing Myra he said that when she was away from Ian she was simply a “quiet, controlled, impassive witness who lied remorselessly”
Myra continued to claim that she was innocent until 1970 when she cut all communication and contact with Ian, starting a campaign for her freedom.
But it was in 1987 that there was a public release of Myra’s full confession which was over 17 hours long where she admitted her involvement in all the murders. Police felt however that she was performing and only said what she wanted to share and nothing more. When Ian learned of Myra’s confession he agreed to also confess if the police agreed to provide him with the means to commit suicide after, a request the authorities obviously could not comply with.
Ian went on a hunger strike in 1999 in the Ashworth Psychiatric Hospital he had been sentenced to and demanded he had the legal right to starve himself to death rather than serve the rest of his life sentence but the hospital force fed him by the direction of the supreme court.
Ian continued to get attention for years and published a book in 2001 titled, “The Gates of Janus” about serial killers and the psychological profile of them which earned him just under $15,000.
Ian wrote a letter in 2006 to the mother of one of his victims complaining about his treatment in the hospital and how he was being force fed.
Ian's lawyers are holding a copy of his autobiography to publish after his death.
Myra Died on November 16th, 2002 at the age of 60 and Ian died May 15, 2017 at the age of 79.