The Nightmare Begins
"People put this aura around Brady that he doesn't deserve...He's a paedophile. He's a child murderer. He's a coward. Brady's nothing."
The megalomaniacal Brady had attempted to recruit 17-year-old David Smith. Instead, Smith would report the couple to the police and become the key witness for their prosecution:
“I think Brady thought he’d got another convert to his cult.”
-Jean Richie, Author
Brady had believed that because of David’s violent past, he’d found a kindred soul. And when in April 1965 David’s six month old baby died unexpectedly, Brady thought he was vulnerable enough to be converted to his belief system. He ‘groomed’ David in exactly the same way he had Hindley. He gave him the same books and even gave him essays to write to show he’d understood his reading list. And he had David do surveillance on the Electricity Board showroom for a robbery that never happened. Brady took him for shooting practise on the Moors. And both couples often picnicked there. It was only later that David would realise they’d sit and cavort on the graves of the couple’s victims.
Brady believed he’d made himself his right hand man and thought a shared murder would seal their relationship.
But the bloody bludgeoning to death of a 17-year-old in the couple’s front room did exactly the opposite.
Horrified and terrified by the Evans murder, David told his wife, Hindley’s sister, everything. Maureen and he went to a public phone box armed with a carving knife for protection. They rang the police and didn’t leave the box till they came. Maureen accompanied David to the police station on 7 October 1965. David poured out the horror he’d witnessed at Hyde Police station. He wasn’t just doing his public duty. He was scared he would become the couple’s next victim.
The police went to Brady’s home and upstairs found Evan’s body and the murder weapon. Brady denied the murder was pre-meditated. He said an argument had broken out between him, Evans and David and initially denied Hindley’s involvement. And at first, because of David’s criminal record, they were reluctant to believe him over Brady:
“David Smith, I always feel, was vilified. He was vilified by the people of Manchester, who refused to believe he hadn’t been involved in other killings. People walked out of pubs if he came in, nobody would speak to him, and that kind of thing. David Smith’s a hero, in my eyes, because David Smith did what Myra should have done at the beginning.”
Jean Richie, Author
It’s only when the police started trawling through Brady’s library of books on murder and sexual perversion that they realise Brady may be responsible for more than one killing.
And in his wallet they found sheets of paper and a code with plans on how to dispose of Evan’s body on the Moors. The reason Brady hadn’t was because he’d hurt his ankle during the attack on Evans. Just 24 hours after his arrest the police had enough evidence to charge Brady with murder.
But David’s allegations of previous murders seemed impossible to prove. Then the police also found the name ‘John Kilbride’ written in Brady’s handwriting in his notebook. The boy had been missing for two years.
Brady had dreamt of committing the perfect murder. But he had left damning circumstantial evidence. Brady denied any involvement in the schoolboy’s disappearance. The police didn’t have enough to charge him but it was enough to convince them that David had been telling the truth.
They started questioning Brady about Keith Bennett and the other suspected victims.
The naked body of Lesley Ann Downey was found on 10 October 1965, followed eleven days later by the body of John Kilbride.
The police charged both Brady and Hindley.
But despite intensive police searches of the Moors there was little evidence of other crimes.
So the police re-interview David. David recalled being asked to do surveillance for a robbery. But all the incriminating notes to do with it were packed away in two suitcases. David didn’t know where the suitcases were but did know that Brady liked to frequent railway stations.
The police phoned all the left luggage railway stations.
They tracked down the suitcases to Manchester’s Central railway station:
“I found a photograph of a little girl, and she had a scarf tied round about her mouth, and she was naked. That really was the Pandora’s Box, if you like."
Ian Fairley, Former Detective Chief Superintendent
As the police don’t have any audio equipment, they took the reels to BBC Manchester.
First the body of Lesley was discovered and then John Kilbride. But his body was too decomposed to ask the family to identify him. Instead, they took the remaining shoe Brady hadn’t taken from the make-shift grave.
Brady and Hindley would be prosecuted for the murders of Edward Evans, Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride
There were still two missing: Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett. But escalating costs meant the police couldn’t prosecute for these two killings.