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Notorious 1960s Murderer Returns for Moorland Search

December 17, 1986

MANCHESTER, England (AP) _ Moors murderer Myra Hindley returned to a snowy heath Tuesday and her lawyer said she wept as she helped police search for the remains of two children missing for more than 20 years.

The father of one of three known child victims murdered by Miss Hindley or her lover, Ian Brady, showed up with a kitchen knife saying he wanted to ″cut her to ribbons.″ Police sent him away.

″At one stage she was reduced to tears,″ Miss Hindley’s lawyer, Michael Fisher, said of the woman who with Brady ranks among Britain’s most notorious killers.

The couple, sentenced to life terms in 1966, tortured their victims to death and were dubbed the Moors Murderers because they buried the children on the Yorkshire Moors in northern England.

″She became completely upset for about five or 10 minutes. The search was called to a stop,″ Fisher told Press Association, the British domestic news agency, late Tuesday.

Earlier, hundreds of police, many with high-powered rifles, ringed Saddleworth Moor as a helicopter flew Miss Hindley from prison to help police who have been searching the bleak landscape with trained dogs since Nov. 20.

Manchester police Chief Superintendant Peter Topping, leading the hunt, said after nightfall, ″The operation is not yet complete and until that happens I don’t wish to make a statement.″

The search for the remains of two children who vanished in the 1960s - Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12 - was mounted after the boy’s mother wrote to Miss Hindley in prison begging her to say what happened to him.

Although neither Miss Hindley, 43, nor Brady has been charged in those cases, it has long been thought the youngsters were victims of the moors murderers.

Miss Hindley said in a statement that the mother’s letter caused her ″enormous distress.″ She pinpointed possible gravesites on maps and old snapshots of the moor.

The helicopter carrying Miss Hindley touched down in a snow flurry about one-quarter mile from where the remains of two other children - Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and John Kilbride, 12 - were found in shallow graves in 1965.

The boy’s father, Pat Kilbride, 58, said he came to the moor after hearing on television that Miss Hindley was being taken there. He said he slipped through one roadblock but was stopped at the next.

Kilbride said police turned him back but did not search him.

Producing a five-inch kitchen knife, Kilbride told reporters: ″I would cut her to ribbons if I got my hands on her. I tried my best to deal with her.

″I just want her dead. I would kill her.″

Fisher said Miss Hindley was aware of death threats but not of Kilbride in particular.

He added, however, that she has now abandoned her long-cherished hopes of getting parole.

Miss Hindley and Brady, 48, are serving life sentences in connection with three killings that shocked Britain in the 1960s.

At their trial in 1966, the jury heard a 17-minute tape-recording of Lesley Ann Downey pleading for mercy as she was being tortured and sexually assaulted. Veteran court reporters said later they had nightmares after working on the case.

Miss Hindley and Brady were convicted of killing the Downey girl and 17- year-old Edward Evans, who was bludgeoned to death in their Manchester apartment.

Brady alone was convicted of killing the Kilbride boy. Miss Hindley was convicted of sheltering her lover after the murder.

Miss Hindley was brought to Saddleworth Moor from Cookham Wood Prison about 200 miles away.

The Home Office, the government department in charge of the police and courts, said she was allowed out of prison at the request of authorities involved in the search.

″What is uppermost in our minds is that there remain mysteries about these two youngsters who disappeared without trace, and whose families have been living in anguish for 20 years,″ said Home Office minister David Mellor.

Peter Bruinvels, a Conservative member of Parliament, said he thought Miss Hindley was trying to trick the authorities into granting her parole. ″She is conning everybody and is definitely a security risk,″ he said. ″I would not blame somebody for taking a pot shot at her.″

But Home Secretary Douglas Hurd said there had been no deals with Miss Hindley and her cooperation would not help her get an early release from prison.

″There has been no bargaining and will be no bargaining on any such matter,″ Hurd said. ″She’s in custody; she’ll stay in custody,″ he said.

While in prison, Miss Hindley is said to have undergone a religious conversion and Lord Longford, a penal reformer, has long been leading a campaign for her release.

Brady, who is serving his sentence in a hospital for the criminally insane, has never sought parole or spoken to police about the murders.

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