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DEADLY DAMES – Myra Hindley

Myra Hindley

Myra Hindley was born in a working class suburb of Manchester in July 1942. Her father, Bob, a labourer, served the Parachute Regiment during the Second World War, He was a tyrant and used to beat little Myra regularly when she was young, but also taught her how to fight. In 1946, after the birth of her sister, Maureen, Hindley was sent to live with her grandmother, where she had a normal childhood, readying herself for formal reception into the Catholic church.

Myra Hindley and Ian Brady
Myra Hindley and Ian Brady

Later, Myra Hindley worked as a junior clerk at a local electrical engineering firm, where she ran errands, made tea, and typed. After that, She took a job at Bratby and Hinchliffe, an engineering company in Gorton. Unfortunately, only after six months of her joining the company, she was dismissed for absenteeism. In 1961 the 18-year-old Myra Hindley joined Millwards Merchandise, a small chemical distributing firm in Gorton, Manchester, where she immediately became infatuated with Ian Brady. After a year the pair began to live together at her grandmother’s house.

The couple made it a habit to watch X-Rated Blue films together and read aloud accounts of Nazi atrocities on their lunch breaks at the workplace where they met. Brady was deeply inclined to Nazi philosophy. Soon, he and Hindley began reading books on Nazi atrocities to each other. With time, Hindley also began to change. She began changing her appearance – dyeing her hair peroxide blonde and sporting short skirts and high boots.Their interests became increasingly perverse, and the pair planned bank robberies and took explicit photos of each other. But their talk soon turned more menacing, as Brady began to express about how he is obsessed to commit the “perfect murder”.

Myra Hindley
Myra Hindley

On July 12, 1963, the couple killed their first victim, 16-year-old Pauline Reade, a neighbour of Hindley’s, who disappeared on her way to a dance at the British Railways Club in Gorton, Manchester.

That evening, Brady told Hindley that he wanted to “commit a perfect murder”. He then told her to drive her van around the local area while he followed behind on his motorcycle. He also said that, when he would spot a likely victim, he would flash his headlight, and accordingly Hindley would stop and offer that person a lift. Shortly after 8:00 pm Brady spotted a girl wearing a pale blue coat and white high-heeled shoes, walking away from them, and signalled for the van to stop. Hindley knew the girl as Pauline Reade, a friend of her younger sister, Maureen. As Reade got into the van, Hindley asked her if she would mind helping to search for an expensive glove she had lost on Saddleworth Moor. Reade readily agreed and they started to proceed.

Pauline Read
Pauline Read

As they reached the Moor, Hindley stopped the van and Brady arrived shortly afterwards on his motorcycle. She introduced him to Reade as her boyfriend, and said that he had also come to help her to find the missing glove. Later, Hindley claimed that Brady took Reade onto the moor while she waited in the van. After about 30 minutes Brady returned alone, and took Hindley to the spot where Reade lay dying. Her throat had been cut twice with a large knife. The collar of Reade’s coat had been deliberately pushed into the larger wound, a four-inch incision across her voice box.

Though Hindley claimed that Brady took Reade onto the moor while she waited in the van, Brady claimed that, Hindley was not only there at the scene, but also assisted him with the sexual assault on Pauline. On their way back, they stopped at Paulin’s house and accompanied Paulins mother, Joan and her son to search the streets for Pauline.

John Kilbride
John Kilbride
Keith Bennett
Keith Bennett

In the same way as before, the couple lured their second victim, 12-year-old John Kilbride in the early evening of November 23 and the third, Keith Bennett, in the early morning of June 16, 1964. In both the cases, Hindley offered them a lift, took them to the Moor on the same pretext to search for a lost glove. In both the cases Myra Hindley waited in the car, while Brady took them out to the Moor, sexually assaulted them and killed them mercilessly.

Lesley Ann Downey
Lesley Ann Downey

The couple had been always in search of their next victim and they came across Lesley Ann Downey in a fairground on Boxing Day, 1964. They persuaded the ten-year-old for a lift and lured her back to their house. There on the upper floor, she was forced to undress, gagged and forced to pose for photographs before being raped and killed, perhaps strangled with a piece of string. There was a struggle in which the little girl screamed and pleaded to be let go — all of it caught on a harrowing tape-recording which would later be played at the trial. Brady and Hindley loaded the body of Downey in their car and drove to Saddleworth Moor in the morning of the following day. There she was buried, naked with her clothes at her feet, in a shallow grave. Later, Hindley maintained that, she went to fill a bath for the child and found the girl dead, when she returned. However, Brady claimed that, it was Hindley who killed Lesley Ann Downey.

Ian Brady with Myra Hindley and her younger sister Maureen
Ian Brady with Myra Hindley and her younger sister Maureen
David and Maureen Smith
David and Maureen Smith

Brady and Myra Hindley were very much eager to corrupt Myra’s brother- in-law, David Smith, and to recruit him in their team of human hunting. Finally, they arranged the stage for David  to witness their attack on the next victim, Edward Evans. Brady met this young, 17- year old apprentice engineer at the Manchester Central railway station on the 6th day of October, 1965. He took the opportunity, targeted Evans for his next victim  and invited him to his home for a drink. As they were relaxing over a bottle of wine, Brady sent Hindley to fetch her brother-in-law. While waiting in the kitchen, Smith heard a hell of a scream. At the same time, he heard Myra shout, “Dave, help him.” He entered the living room to find Brady repeatedly striking Evans with the flat of an axe, and watched as he then strangled  Evans with a piece of electrical cord. As Brady’s ankle was sprained in the melee, he asked Smith to help him  to wrap the body and put it in a spare room. He also agreed to meet Brady the following evening to dispose of Evans’s body. But back in his own home, he related the whole story to his wife, Maureen, who insisted him to call the police.

Edward Evans
Edward Evans

Shortly after Smith’s call, Police arrived at the back door of 16 Wardle Brook Avenue, early in the morning of the 7th October, 1965.They searched the house and found the body of Edward Evans in a locked room. On further investigation, they also found some suitcases of Brady in the left-luggage room of Manchester Central Railway Station. One of the suitcases contained nine pornographic photographs taken of a young girl, naked and with a scarf tied across her mouth, and a 13-minute tape recording of her crying, screaming and pleading for help. Later, after the police had discovered the body of her missing 10-year-old daughter, Lesley Ann Downey’s mother listened to the tape and confirmed that it was a recording of her daughter’s voice. In the house Police found an old exercise book with the name of John Kilbride scribbled on it. Many pictures taken on Saddleworth Moor were also found. After thoroughly searching some specific areas of the Moor,everything became clear.

Searchers comb Saddleworth Moor
Searchers comb Saddleworth Moor

The trial was held over 14 days beginning on 19 April 1966. As expected, Brady and Hindley denied everything and pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. On 6 May, after having deliberated for a little over two hours, the jury found Brady guilty of all the three murders and Hindley guilty of the murders of Downey and Evans. Since the Death Penalty for murder had already been abolished, the couple were sentenced to life imprisonment. Brady was sentenced to three concurrent life sentences and Hindley was given two, plus a concurrent seven-year term for harbouring Brady in the knowledge that he had murdered John Kilbride.

The home of Brady and Hindley.  The house was pulled down in the 1980s.
The home of Brady and Myra Hindley. The house was pulled down in the 1980s.

Until the end of her life in 2002, aged 60, Myra Hindley kept up the pretense that she was not to blame for any of the Moor Murders, that Brady had slowly and steadily corrupted her, that she had been an innocent drawn into all of his murderous activities and implicated in them against her will.

Dibyendu Banerjee
Dibyendu Banerjee

Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.

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