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Keith Bennett and the Moors Murders victims

A composite graphic of police tape wrapped around a footpath signpost. There is a background photo of Saddleworth Moor and text reading ' Moors Murders
Image Credit: | Above: A stock composite graphic containing a background photograph of Saddleworth Moor. Saddleworth Moor is the possible location of the Moors murder victim Keith Bennett.

The passage of time has done little, if nothing, to diminish the grim circumstances surrounding the murders of six children in the mid-1960s. The Moors Murders need no introduction. Myra Hindley, who died in 2002, and Ian Brady, who died in 2017, have, unfortunately, become infamous household names.

Miles of column inches have been written about the pair, but what about their victims? These are the six innocent children who lost their lives at the hands of Hindley and Brady.

Pauline Reade, 16 - Murdered 12th July 1963

Pauline was on her way to buy some cigarettes for her mum, when Hindley pulled up in a van and asked her to help locate a lost glove on Saddleworth Moor. Pauline went to school with Hindley’s sister, so she thought she was just helping out a friend.

Once on the moors, Brady raped her and slashed her throat with such force that her spinal cord was severed. Her body, still partially clothed in her pink party dress, was discovered in 1987 after Brady confessed to her killing.

John Kilbride, 12 - Murdered 23rd November 1963

John agreed to help Hindley load some boxes into a car that was being driven by Brady, after a day spent working at Ashton Market. The couple offered him a lift home. After taking a detour to Saddleworth Moor, allegedly to help search for another fictitious glove, John was raped and strangled. His body was discovered two years later.

Keith Bennett, 12 - Murdered 16th June 1964

Keith was walking to his grandmother’s house when he was presumably snatched by Hindley and murdered by Brady. Devastatingly, despite repeated searches, the body of the little boy is yet to be discovered. Police reopened the search in September 2022, after a human skull was found at a ‘site of interest’ on Saddleworth Moor.

His mother, Winnie, died in 2012 without ever being able to bury him, despite endless searching and pleas to Brady, to help with locating the whereabouts of her son’s body. A plaque in her and Keith's memory overlooks the moorland.

Lesley Ann Downey, 10 - Murdered 26th December 1964

The youngest of the murder victims comes with damning evidence that, particularly Brady, was nothing short of the personification of evil. After being snatched from a local funfair, Lesley Ann was taken to Hindley’s grandmother's house where she was undressed, gagged, and forced to pose for obscene photographs.

Hindley and Brady recorded her final moments where Lesley Ann can be heard pleading for her life. When the recording was played in court, the all-male jury, police, and even the judge broke down in tears. Her body was discovered in a shallow grave on the moor in October of the following year.

Edward Evans, 17 - Murdered 6th October 1965

Brady’s final victim, Edward Evans, was murdered in front of Hindley’s brother-in-law, David Smith. It appeared that Brady wanted Smith to become involved in the killings, as it’s been noted that Smith, like Hindley, was somewhat infatuated with the killer.

Edward had been picked up in a gay bar. When they got back to Brady and Hindley’s house in Stockport, Brady called Smith and asked him to come over.

On arrival he witnessed Brady hitting Edward over the head with a hatchet before strangling him with an electrical cable. Smith left after agreeing to help Brady dispose of the body the following morning, but instead called the police. Brady and Hindley were arrested that day.