Skip to main content

Once Upon a True Crime Episode 2: The Moors Murders by Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham

Four of Britain’s best-known crime writers turn detective in a brand-new series Once Upon a True Crime, exclusive to Crime + Investigation.

Featuring Peter James, Denise Mina, Mark Billingham, and Douglas Skelton, the show investigates the real-life murders that inspired some of the acclaimed authors’ most famous novels.

In the second episode, which aired on 2nd May, best-selling author Mark Billingham revisits the shocking, so-called Moors Murders in and around Manchester between 1963 and 1965.

Billingham delves into the story of two of Britain’s most infamous serial killers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, whose killing of five children became renowned as the Moors Murders. Their twisted relationship influenced his best-seller Their Little Secret which features his award-winning, fictional Detective Tom Thorne.

The tale of the serial child killers who murdered their victims brutally, sexually assaulting at least four of them, is one that continues to haunt Billingham and the nation. Billingham revisits the bleak Saddleworth Moor where the remains of John Kilbride, Lesley Ann Downey, and Pauline Reed were found. Despite numerous searches of Saddleworth, the whereabouts of the body of 12-year-old Keith Bennett remains a mystery to this day.

Sentenced to life imprisonment, Brady and Hindley were masters at staying in the public eye even behind bars. Astonishingly, the pair were allowed to communicate whilst imprisoned and they both also corresponded with journalists and supporters in the outside world.

Mark Billingham shares the chilling letter he received from Brady whilst incarcerated and unravels the couple’s twisted relationship, from loving devotion to bitter hatred.

The second episode of Once Upon a True Crime is now available to stream on Crime + Investigation PLAY.