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The Crimes

Crime Files

The Crimes

“Rape is not a crime, it’s a state of mind, murder is a hobby and a supreme pleasure.”            -Ian Brady's notebook


On the night of 12 July 1963, 16-year-old pretty Pauline Reade became Brady and Hindley’s first victim. Pauline was on her way to a local dance. Hindley persuaded her to get in her car. She said she needed help finding a lost glove and offered to give her some music records if she did. Hindley drove Pauline to Saddleworth Moor. Brady followed on his motorbike.According to Brady, Hindley joined in with the sexual abuse and torture that followed.Brady first raped Pauline. She was beaten and stabbed. He then went behind her and cut her throat so hard it looked to Hindley like she’d been decapitated. And then they buried her.On returning, they carefully washed the car down to remove any forensic traces. The murder weapon and all their clothes were burned.But instead of this cementing the killer’s relationship, Brady cooled to Hindley. He started visiting a gay pub in Manchester, the Rembrandt.When he decided he needed to kill again, he brought Hindley a music record, ’24 hours from Tulsa.’ The purchase of records would become part of their pre-murder ritual.Brady told Hindley he wanted to go for someone younger. Pauline had put up too much resistance. 


Four months later, on the Saturday afternoon of 23 November 1963, 12-year-old John Kilbride disappeared from the vicinity of the marketplace in Ashton-Under-Lyne. The eldest of four brothers, his family described him as a pleasant lad, often to be heard singing and whistling. Photos of the boy in his school uniform show him with a hint of a cheeky smile.“I had this terrible feeling that something had happened to him right away because he wasn’t the kind of boy who would leave home for any reason.”-Mother of John KilbrideHis family never saw him again.Brady raped him and then killed him. After killing John, Brady shook his fist at god. His sense of elation quickly evaporated. All his years of intellectual rejection of the idea of an omnipotent being were shown to be a joke as his own instinctual reactions demonstrated he believed in one.Brady returned to their car with one of John’s shoes. As with a lot of other evidence, Brady would later burn it.When John’s grave was finally discovered, it was partly through his remaining shoe that his family would be able to identify their missing John.Smiling, swaggering photos of Hindley and Brady above their victim’s graves would reveal the boy’s final resting place.“...they subsequently take photographs of Hindley on the grave where John Kilbride has been buried. And this is the first real example I can think of where trophies are taken. The photograph becomes a trophy.”Professor David Wilson, CriminologistThe photos were also grave markers for Brady. He would develop the photos back home in his dark room.


On 16 June 1964, 12-year-old Keith Bennett disappeared whilst on the way to his grandmother’s house. Again, Hindley had lured him into her car and driven him to the Moors.Brady took Keith to a gully next to a stream. He then raped the 12-year-old boy. After, he strangled him. The pair buried his body.Keith’s disappearance wasn’t noted until the next day. A massive police search revealed no clues.Brady was methodical. He has a forensic checklist to go through for each murder. He would brush down coats to remove fibres and afterwards, he would count every button.The authorities thought the disappearances ‘unrelated’.“One of Brady’s loves was Nietzsche, and Nietzsche, of course, is famous for writing about man and superman. Here’s Brady, having committed three murders of three children, in the local community, and has not been caught. He must have thought of himself as being all-powerful. He’s not just a man – he’s superman.”Professor David Wilson


On the afternoon of Boxing Day, 1964, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey disappeared from a local fairground, and again a huge police effort, bolstered by volunteers, unearthed no clues as to her whereabouts. Inevitably, her stepfather came under suspicion.In fact, Lesley had been snatched from the fair and taken back to Hindley’s house.‘DAD WILL YOU TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF ME

Lesley was bound and stripped. Naked, she was made to pose for pornographic photos. Earlier, Brady had set up his lights to take the best shots possible. He’d also hidden his tape recorder under the bed. After they’d taken the photos, they then told her that they would kill her. With the tape recorder, they captured her heartrendingly begging for mercy. In desperation, Lesley called Brady ‘Dad’. It had no effect.According to Hindley, Brady then strangled her.And despite the commotion, no one reported anything:“We heard shouting. Then we heard boys and girls screaming. But of course I thought it was just boys and girls larking about.”Next door neighbour of Brady and Hindley 


The Brady and Hindley home where the couple killed Lesley was in Hattersley. This Manchester suburban overspill area was the “epitome of respectable working class suburbia.’ There were barely any tower blocks. The new brick builds rented for £3 a week. It was popular with the recent Caribbean immigrant families, some of whom lived on the couple’s street, Wardle Brook Avenue. Their house was as non-descript and innocuous as the next.And the couple mixed with the neighbours just enough not to raise suspicions. Brady liked wine and to play the piano. He seemed aloof to neighbours and he kept himself to himself. But his garden improvements and DIY upgrades to the house suggested he was good for the neighbourhood.They’d interact with the neighbours occasionally when one or the other would walk their black and white dog, the aptly named ‘Puppet’. They went onto the Moors with nearby neighbours Carol Waterhouse and her brother and another child neighbour, Patricia Ann Hodges. Despite repeated trips with them to the Moors, these children weren’t harmed. They remember Myra as ‘sociable and bubbly’ whereas Brady was more withdrawn. They gave them sweets and made them feel the centre of attention.The couple used to go to work together and return in their van. They took it in turns to walk the dog at night.The only visitors neighbours saw was Hindley’s sister and her husband, David Smith. Brady had debated with Hindley whether they should kill David. Instead, they decided to draw him into their world.Brady, already an alcoholic, was now becoming even more arrogant. He boasted of his actions to David. As David had a police record for violence Brady probably felt he was in safe company. David questioned whether Brady could follow through on his claims. Brady offered him a demonstration.


The couple’s last victim was the smartly dressed 17-year-old Edward Evans. On 6 October 1965 Brady and Hindley drove to Manchester Central Station. Edward had just been to see Manchester United play. Unusually, it was Brady that lured in Edward. This was because Edward was gay. The apprentice engineer agreed to drive back to the couple’s semi-detached home.

But Brady wanted his new acolyte, David, to witness him in action. So he sent Hindley to collect him.Inside the couple’s home, in their front room, Brady repeatedly bludgeoned Evans with an axe.Evans asked for his mum as the blows rained down. Brady is so excited by the kill that he initially doesn’t realise he’s hurt his ankle. The frenzied attack continues and after fourteen blows, Evans skull split open.Brady then strangled him with a piece of electrical flex.He did it all in front of David:“That’s it, it’s the messiest yet.”Brady to Hindley after murdering Evans.Brady told David how the Moors were their other playground and preferred graveyard.Brady joked with David about a time when they’d been digging a grave for one of their victims and a policeman had confronted Hindley about what she was doing.Fearing a similar fate if he revealed his disgust, Smith helped Brady clean up and take the body upstairs.After scrubbing away the blood, the three sat and had tea. David calmly sat with the killers for hours. When he thought it safe, he suggested he’d go home. He casually walked out the door. Only when he knew he couldn’t be seen by Brady and Hindley, did he run all the way home.

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