Child-killer Ian Brady — who, aided by his girlfriend Myra Hindley, committed one of the 20th century’s most horrifying and notorious serial murder sprees — died in May at age 79. But his body has not yet been disposed of and now, more than 52 years after Brady committed his final murder, the families of his young victims are again being put through emotional torment as they wait to learn what will become of the sadistic psychopath’s remains.
Between 1963 and 1965, Brady — with Hindley as his accomplice — abducted, tortured, sexually abused, and finally murdered five children ranging in age from 10 to 17 years old. The killings became known as “The Moors Murders” because Brady and Hindley buried the bodies of their victims in shallow graves on Saddleworth Moor, a large tract of rural, undeveloped land in the northwest of England, outside of Manchester.
According to biographers, Brady at an early age decided that he was superior to the rest of the human race and that other people were “maggots.” By his early 20s he had begun dating Hindley, and the couple quickly descended into violent sex and a fixation on pornography. Soon after they started their twisted relationship, Brady told Hindley that he wanted them to experience “supreme pleasure,” which to Brady meant the rape, torture, and murder of innocent victims.
Hindley died in 2002 of smoking-related respiratory failure after 36 years behind bars. She maintained throughout her life that Brady coerced and blackmailed her into taking part in the murders and that she did not directly participate in killing the five children. But Brady told a biographer that Hindley was, in fact, an enthusiastic participant in the sickening crimes — which included tape-recording the screams and pleas of their 10-year-old victim, Leslie Ann Downey as Brady tortured her.
In fact, Brady took two and possibly three photographs of Hindley standing or sitting at the graves of their victims on the moor. In one photo, Hindley is seen holding a puppy as she gazes down at the grave of 12-year-old schoolboy John Kilbride, who was raped and strangled by Brady on November 23, 1963. The photo led police to locate the boy’s body in 1965.
But another photo, of Hindley sitting on what police believe to be the grave of Keith Bennett — also 12 years old when Brady and Hindley murdered him — was less useful. Keith’s body has never been found, despite extensive searches by police and by the boy’s mother herself. Even on his deathbed earlier this year Brady, who never displayed any remorse for his crimes, refused to reveal where he buried the 12-year-old’s body.
According to reports in the British media, Brady stated his wishes for his funeral shortly before he died on or somewhat before May 16 of lung ailments at a high-security psychiatric hospital.
Those wishes included that his body be cremated to the soundtrack of a classical music piece, the Fifth Movement of Symphonie Fantastique by 19th-century French composer Hector Berlioz — a composition intended to invoke a Satanic ritual. The piece, titled “Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath,” is by the composer’s own description meant to portray “a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind” and a “diabolical orgy.”
Brady then demanded that his ashes be scattered over Saddleworth Moor, the same location where he buried the bodies of his child victims. The demands have left surviving members of his victims’ families outraged.
“My little sister didn’t get to choose how she was buried, so I can’t see why that evil swine should have any say in what happens to him,” said Terry West, the brother of Leslie Ann Downey. “If I had my way, I would just flush his ashes down the toilet.”
Alan Bennett, brother of Keith Bennet, said that he hoped Brady’s ashes would be “bricked up by the bin shed” — that is, taken out with the trash — at the psychiatric hospital where he was confined for years.
A judge in England ruled this week that playing the “Satanic” classical music requested by Brady at his cremation would cause “legitimate offense” to the victims’ families, and ruled out playing of the Berlioz symphony. The judge ruled that Brady would be cremated in a no-frills procedure, but the ultimate fate of his cremated body would not be publicly revealed for at least one week after the event.
Local authorities overseeing Saddleworth Moor have petitioned the court to prevent Brady’s ashes from being spread there — and funeral directors in Brady’s native Glasgow, Scotland, have refused to take custody of the child-killer’s remains.
[Featured Image by William H Alden/Getty Images]