Hopes Rise Of Closing The File On 1960s Child Killers
MANCHESTER, England (AP) _ Hopes of finding the remains of two children missing for more than 20 years rose today after murderer Myra Hindley made a tearful return to help police search moorland where she and her lover buried their victims.
Miss Hindley, 43, led detectives in a macabre hunt for more than five hours Tuesday across northern England’s bleak Saddleworth Moor in Yorkshire.
It was the site where Miss Hindley and Ian Brady, known as the ″Moors Murderers,″ used to hold midnight picnics near the gravesites of children they had tortured to death in the 1960s.
″At one stage she was reduced to tears. She became completely upset for five or 10 minutes. The search was called to a stop,″ Miss Hindley’s lawyer, Michael Fisher, said after she was taken by helicopter back to prison.
″She was under a lot of pressures. They accumulated until she was reduced to tears,″ Fisher said.
He also said his client has told authorities she did not want to be considered for parole in 1990, her next scheduled review date.
Superintendent Peter Topping, the Manchester police chief, said Tuesday he was ″not unhappy″ with the help given by Miss Hindley and that police and tracking dogs will start a new dig. The hunt for the bodies began Nov. 20.
Britain’s newspapers today ran hazy photographs that showed members of the search group, including Miss Hindley, trudging across the snowswept moor in overalls and ski masks.
Alongside were 20-year-old photographs of Miss Hindley, then a young blonde typist, and Brady, then 28.
The couple was convicted in 1966 of the sadistic slayings of two youngsters, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17. Brady also was convicted of murdering 12-year-old John Kilbride, and Miss Hindley of sheltering him after that crime.
Police have long suspected that one or both of the murderers killed two other Manchester children who vanished around the same time, Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12.
Last fall, after Keith’s mother appealed to Miss Hindley, she broke her silence, pointed out possible grave sites on maps and agreed to help on the moors, if necessary.
A helicopter which brought Miss Hindley from Cookham Wood prison, about 200 miles away, landed near where police found the bodies of Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride in 1965.
Police put up roadblocks leading to the moor to keep away reporters, photographers and vengeful relatives. But John’s father, Pat Kilbride, slipped past one roadblock before getting turned back at another.
Armed with a knife and vowing he wanted to ″cut her to ribbons,″ Kilbride joined waiting journalists in a pub on the edge of the moor.
Apart from the personal grief of the children’s relatives, the hunt has evoked a new wave of national revulsion, morbid curiosity and lurid headlines about a couple whose depravity appalled even hardened detectives.
Jurors cried when they listened to the killers’ tape-recording of Lesley Ann sobbing and pleading for mercy as she was being tortured and sexually assaulted.
Unlike Brady, who was transferred from prison to a hospital for the criminally insane a year ago, Miss Hindley has been composed through her long incarceration. Prison visitors and ex-cell mates say she is a devout Roman Catholic, filled with remorse and, until Tuesday’s announcement, ever hopeful of parole.
Brady, apparently stung by Miss Hindley’s suggestions that he alone killed the two missing children, had until last month refused to speak to police. It is not known if he has acknowledged further killings.
Fisher, who accompanied Miss Hindley to the moor, denied speculation that she had started the new hunt in hopes of being released in 1990.
″She is purely responding to an appeal that moved her so deeply that she feels she has to help in every way she can,″ said Fisher.
″Today, she informed (authorities) she does not wish to be considered for parole in 1990,″ he said. ″The decision had been building up for some time, ever since this inquiry started.″