Ian Stuart Brady, British multiple murderer. 1938 -

"Pardon me for being unchristian here, but maybe we tell him he can die once he tells us where Keith Bennett is. Until that is accomplished, carry on force feeding him. He was good at torture, wasn't he?"
quoted from a poll on http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/659520.stm

Ian Brady is still one of the most notorious of Britain's mass murderers. Convicted of four murders, but with others to his name, he tortured and killed a number of children with his sidekick Myra Hindley. Together, they became known as the Moors Murderers, after the location of their victims' bodies, in Saddleworth Moor.

He was born Ian Stewart, on 2nd January, 1938, to waitress Margaret Stewart. His father, who Margaret never identified, died some months before his illegitmate son was born. As his mother struggled to bring him up, he was sent to foster parents in the tough Gorbals area of Glasgow, seeing his mother only on her Sunday visits. An intelligent yet quiet child, he was admitted to the prestigious Shawlands Academy, a school for more gifted kids. He never realised his full potential, becoming lazy and difficult.

Demonstrating some of the classic early signs associated with serial killers, he tortured and maimed both animals and other children "for fun", as he once put it. Despite his high intelligence, he began a campaign of petty crime (housebreaking and burglary), and in 1954 was sent to live with his natural mother and her husband, Patrick Brady, in Manchester. To help him "fit in", he assumed her husband's surname and tried to conceal his Scots accent. He began reading the works of de Sade and similar authors, and soon continued his life of crime, for which he was sent to a Borstal home for a two-year sentence. By this time, he had also begun his fascination with Nazi thought and behaviour.

A Relationship made in Hell

Following his release from Borstal in November 1957, his family observed the changes in him. He had become quieter and even more brooding than ever, traits which did not make it easy for him to find work. After a period of unemployment and labouring work, he landed a job in a supply company in 1959. Soon afterward, the firm took on a new secretary, Myra Hindley.

Hindley was immediately attracted to him, but Brady resisted her charms for a year before inviting her on a date - the film of the Nuremberg Trials. Following this, Hindley read whatever Brady put in front of her - Nazi literature, sadistic pornorgraphy, anything. They quickly began a relationship which would culminate in the torture and murder of upward of six youngsters. She bleached her hair, dressed in black boots and miniskirts and succumbed to his sexual desires, including sadomasochism and pornographic photography.

Brady clearly had plans. They planned a bank robbery, even down to buying guns and getting Hindley through her driving test. The plan fell through when Brady failed in his resolve. In any event, the scene was set. Hindley would do his bidding, whatever that may be.

Murders most foul

Brady was already a sadist. He had visions of himself as the new De Sade, and Hindley as his willing accomplice. Not content with humiliating and abusing her, he wanted other, unwilling flesh, innocent victims.

On the 12th of July, 1963, 16-year-old Pauline Reade was on her way to a dance when she was abducted by the pair. Her body was not recovered until 1987 from Saddleworth Moor. Pauline was the first of five known victims. The police carried out searches and a house-to-house enquiry, to no avail.

The 11th of November 1963 was the next awful date in their diary of murder. John Kilbride (aged 12) and a friend went to see a film in Ashton-Under-Lyne. Following this they went to earn some pocket money by helping the market traders pack up. John went to catch his bus, and his friend was the last to see him. When he did not return home for his dinner, his parents called the police. Thousands of volunteers helped in the search for clues, but none was found.

Keith Bennett was 12 when he disappeared on 16th of June, 1964 on his way to visit his grandmother, a mile from his home. His mother had seen him cross the main road near their house, confident that he would simply spend the night. Keith never arrived. His grandmother simply assumed that he hadn't set out, and so the alarm was not raised until she arrived at her daughter's house the following morning, without Keith. Again the police were called, but again, the search was fruitless.

Lesley Ann Downey was ten years old when she vanished on the 26th of December, 1964. She went to the local Christmas fair with her two brothers. Once their money ran out, her brothers went home, but Lesley stayed on. She was last seen at five thirty by a schoolfriend. Her mother began a search for her, accompanied by her fiance. After being unable to find her, they called the police. A depressingly familiar pattern showed itself again. Thousands helped in the search for clues, posters were seen everywhere, but Lesley was gone.

Their undoing

Like so many before them, the murderers were to make a fatal mistake. The pair had moved in with Hindley's grandmother in September 1964, and Brady needed to boast of his exploits. He felt that Hindley's brother-in-law, David Smith could be drawn in to their exploits, and told him what they had done. Smith was incredulous, and so Brady decided to prove that he was indeed capable of murder.

The murderous couple had now moved into a new house in Hattersley, near Manchester. On the 6th October, 1965, Brady picked up a 17-year-old gay man, Edward Evans. He took Evans to his house and invited Smith over. In front if Smith's horrifed gaze, Brady took an axe and proceeded to smash Evans' skull in. Smith was mortified, but decided that his best course of action was to go along with the pair for appearance' sake, even to the point of helping them to clear away the remains. Only after this was he able to leave.

The following day, he and his wife called the police, who made their way to the Moors Murderer's house. Here they found Evan's body, wrapped in a blanket in the bathroom. The pair were arrested, and the house searched. Evidence of other murders led them to search the Moor. On the 16th October 1965 they began their search, in areas which the pair were known to frequent. What they found were the remains of Lesley Ann Downey.

The worst was yet to come. Among evidence taken from the house was a left luggage ticket. The luggage they found contained gruesome and damning evidence of their activities. The suitcase contained photographs of a young girl, naked and gagged. A tape recording of a young girl pleading for mercy, with voices in the background, identifiable as those of Brady and Hindley. Lesley's mother identified her daughter's voice from the grim fifteen-minute recording. The pair were guilty.

John Kilbride's remains were found on 21st October 1965, and so when the pair came to court, they were charged with three murders. Amazingly, they both maintained a "not guilty" plea, and yet the evidence was overwhelming. They also tried without success to implicate Smith. Brady was found guilty on all three counts of murder, Hindley to two (in addition, she was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact in the case of John Kilbride).

Both were sentenced to multiple terms of life imprisonment, which both are currently serving.


Pauline Reade's body was recovered on 1st July 1987. Physical and personal evidence points to the sexual abuse, rape and murder of these five children. Brady claims four other victims, but no evidence has been uncovered. Keith Bennett's remains have never been located.

Brady is still serving his three life sentences, and is currently being held in a high security hospital in Ashworth, in Merseyside. His cohort Hindley has now died. He is currently on hunger strike and has asked the High Court to permit him the right to die. He is currently being force-fed. His book The Gates of Janus: Serial Killing and its Analysis, was released in 2001, but was banned by the British government.


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