Ian Brady letters: Inside the mind of the Moors Murderer - BBC News
Given that he and Myra Hindley had committed the most shocking crimes of modern But ultimately they prompted more questions than answers. . fascinated by the dynamics of the relationship between Brady and Hindley. MOORS murderers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady's deeply disturbed relationship has been laid bare in a series of private letters. So what do the. Evil: Ian Brady who killed five children with Myra Hindley between In Hindley and Brady confessed to murdering Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett , .. Zany Star, 33, reportedly been in a secret relationship with Zany, 31 Colton Underwood dodges questions about his virginity ahead of.
She would not permit him to visit her and had come to see him as a liability. She wrote to me while I was making a BBC documentary on her case for freedom: In general, the film represents Longford fairly, but in the end it's a drama, not a documentary. Factual details and the balance of relationships are distorted, notably between Brady and Hindley - to Hindley's advantage. This matters still, in particular to the family of the last missing victim, Keith Bennett.
To them, this is an unresolved case, and Hindley might have done more to lay it to rest had she not been so preoccupied with her own image and chances of parole. After Hindley's death I was passed her personal papers in the hope that they might help locate the body of Keith Bennett. It was thought her papers might provide a clue. I don't yet know if that will prove to be the case, but the documents do shed light on the secrets behind the Moors murders and on the true nature of Hindley's relationship with Longford.
In letters home to her mother Nellie, Hindley relates how, when they first met, she sat and listened to Longford's account of his conversion to Catholicism. This must have taken some doing. A rejection of Christianity and its role in "subjugating" the working class, lay at the heart of her relationship with Brady. Nevertheless, Hindley sought common ground. Longford particularly admired the Franciscans - and she had been baptised and confirmed in the monastery church of St Francis in Gorton, east Manchester.
McCooey thinks it would be wrong to say Longford was duped by her.
Rather than eschew publicity, he courted it. A close friend of Hindley's told me that this decision was to have disastrous consequences for her: He got the Sun to come along and photograph him going through the gates. Until then the story had started to fade away - his involvement kept it on the front pages. Longford knew everyone from the prime minister down.
He'd helped Beveridge lay the foundations of the welfare state and been a minister in two Labour governments. She was delighted when he was made a Knight of the Garter.
If anyone could arrange for her to see Ian again, surely it had to be Frank? This hope, and her attachment to Brady, survived for some years. But the drip-drip of disappointment took its toll and in Hindley wrote to Brady to tell him it was all over.
The Moors murders 50 years on: how Brady and Hindley became an awful 'celebrity' template
Longford's role was now no longer to secure inter-prison visits - it was to get her out of prison altogether. Hindley began to attend mass every week. Longford was convinced that the reversion to her childhood faith was genuine. But in a letter to her mother, Hindley confessed that, while she had agreed to attend mass, she doubted she would "see the light" again. The press, informed by Longford of her renewed faith, pursued the story.
He had just left Holloway after six years as the prison's priest. He told the reporter Colin Lawson, "Lord Longford said to me when he had seen Myra on one occasion, 'Has she not changed a great deal? Hasn't her personality changed? Kahle had his doubts about her religious conviction, but none about the effect the coverage would have: The former Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, William Palfery, said that "do-gooders" like Longford were living in cloud- cuckoo-land, and called for the return of hanging.
It was a pattern that was to repeat itself over the next three decades. Longford's wife, Elizabeth, was at first deeply opposed to his involvement with Hindley.Ian Brady: From Method to Madness
It was an attraction of opposites. Astor encountered Hindley across a chasm of class, inheritance and fortune. Blessed with luxury, comfort and privilege, he had been brought up at Cliveden in the shadow of his mother, Nancy Astor, a dominant, unconventional and pioneering woman. For her part, Hindley's conviction at Chester in was simply the grim climax to a blighted life.
Her role as Ian Brady's accomplice had transformed her into an object of supreme fascination, especially once it became clear that she was intelligent, and vulnerable to remorse and the idea of redemption through the renewal of her Roman Catholic faith. Hindley's capacity for enthralling her supporters remains a disturbing theme in her correspondence with Astor.
What Myra Hindley's letters say about her relationship with Lord Longford | UK news | The Guardian
The eminent QC Helena Kennedynow a scion of the progressive establishment, was a young defence lawyer when she represented Hindley in court. She retains a vivid memory of the smartly dressed, dark-haired woman who could have been "an English literature teacher in a good secondary school.
Hindley loved to read, and loved Middlemarch," Kennedy remembers. She always had a strong sense of the horror of what she had done. The other important figure was her "confessor", Peter Timms, a prison governor turned priest, who considers her prison treatment "a scar on the judicial system".
If public opinion was partly to blame for this, Hindley's case was certainly not helped by Longford, who was prone to unfortunate public utterances. Hindley, said Longford, was "a delightful person", adding that "you could loathe what people did, but should not loathe what they were, because human personality was sacred, even though human behaviour was very often appalling". Longford and Astor had known each other since Oxford.
Their paths had often crossed in the beaten ways of liberal postwar Britain, and they shared an interest in prison reform. Astor was agnostic, verging on atheist, Longford a devout Roman Catholic. Both were fascinated by the idea of redemption. Here, in Myra Hindley, was apparently a perfect case study: Early in the s, dismayed by the adverse publicity Longford was getting, Astor stepped in. He was an intensely shy, soft-spoken, man, but capable of decisive, occasionally ruthless, action.
Now, according to his widow Bridget, "David said to Frank [Longford]: Frank was always interested in publicity in a way that David really wasn't. Hindley, replying to "Dear Mr Astor", seemed to open her heart. His public journalistic and his private, philanthropic impulses became hopelessly blurred. After their first exchange, he wrote that, "Incidentally, you write very well.
Have you begun writing your thoughts? I think you should, if only to exercise the gift you've got. But she's not ordinary: Unsurprisingly, he, who believed in the unconscious guilt of the community, began to evolve a theory about the extremes of public hatred towards Hindley. As he put it in one letter: Towards the end ofthe past returned with a vengeance, as it periodically did throughout Hindley's long incarceration.
She received "a heartbreaking letter" from Winnie Johnson, the mother of Keith Bennett, who wrote that "not knowing whether my son is alive or dead is literally a living hell I am on bended knee begging you to end this torture and finally put my mind at rest. She consulted Astor about how to handle the press backlash. Astor, to encourage her, replied that, "The way you run your life under your circumstances is an extraordinary achievement I won't say spiritual, because I don't know what that means.
Inaddressing the complexities of this project, Astor wrote, "This book should be the story of your personal pilgrimage or odyssey. In the course of writing your own testament, you should incidentally answer all the questions in the public's mind, but only incidentally, not as your main theme.
That theme I feel should be your innocence, your fall and your redemption…" Various literary advisers, including Elizabeth Longford and a reluctant Diana Athill, were mobilised to help shape the manuscript. Hindley responded by submitting hundreds of pages of childhood memories — almost a million words — but never confronting the unbearable reality of the killings.
In some frustration, Astor wrote to Timms that it was "impossible for [Hindley] to write about the serious troubles in her life, beginning with her meeting with Brady. Her long account of the minutiae of a Lancashire girls's everyday life makes very wearisome reading.
If it was offered as a book, it would be a disaster. Often Astor's promotion of Hindley's rehabilitation was fiercely rebuffed behind the scenes.
When he tried to place the sale of Hindley's life story with literary agent Michael Sissons, his five-page proposal was returned with Sissons's obvious repugnance.
Arnold Goodman, a political advisor and establishment fixer of the s, wrote to Astor that the Hindley campaign was "one of the rare instances where I do not feel totally enthusiastic about one of your causes". The relationship with Hindley took on a ritualistic quality, through the cycle of Astor's prison visits. I feel we are weaving such a close web of friendship with you that our visits have gradually taken on a family atmosphere. I hope you feel the same. Hindley also met Astor's wife, Bridget.
Mrs Astor has vivid memories of Hindley's life as a long-term prisoner. She was very impressive. She also had a very good sense of humour. There was nothing creepy about Myra. She was very matter-of-fact. She knew her crimes were terrible and she didn't pretend otherwise.
She remained, however, a powerful and highly intelligent character who could bend the prison's organisation to her will.
She came to learn that her every move was tabloid fodder. Fleet Street was a jungle in which "the story", true or false, a cocktail of blind quotes and unsourced gossip, was everything.
Myra Hindley and David Astor: a complex relationship revealed in letters
Innocuous-seeming correspondence invariably turned out to have been arranged by the Daily Mirror or the Sun. In her cell, Hindley developed a routine of studied normality, circumscribed by her limited interaction with the other inmates, meetings with famous visitors, establishment liberals such as Merlyn Rees, Ludovic Kennedy and Cardinal Hume, and occasional visits from her family. She listened to Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, Kaleidoscoperead improving books and did the crossword.
It was, she wrote, "a strange kind of paralysis". Hindley also found consolation in a succession of prison relationships. Bridget Astor insists that Hindley was "not a lesbian", and Helena Kennedy agrees.
Inthe woman Hindley called "the love of my life", Trisha Forrester, also became the object of Astor's patronage, bringing an awkward dimension to a complicated relationship.
For a while Trisha and her collie Jacob occupied the top-floor flat in the Astor's London home. Astor's support for Hindley had many facets. There was his interest in her education, her Open University degree, her reading and writing. Once Bridget had been introduced, the Astors sent clothes and make-up. From time to time there was speculation about Hindley getting a new identity and moving abroad, possibly to France, Australia or Vancouver.
Today, the relocation of lifers on parole and the adoption of new identities is commonplace. The interminable discussions about the campaign to secure Hindley's freedom were always wrecked on an immovable obstacle: Astor himself never lost hope in her ultimate redemption. Until you can somehow find a convincing way of describing that, people will be puzzled and confused.
On her side, Hindley wrote, "You are much loved" and sent him a birthday card with kisses from herself, her lover and the dog, Jacob. Astor reciprocated with declarations of "admiration" for her courage, fortitude and patience. His support for Hindley occasionally became a matter for hostile debate. Inthe Daily Star reported: The elderly toff has agreed to bankroll her High Court action…" Astor's defence was always: Inwhen Astor justified his continued financial support of Hindley, Janie Jones, a one-time singer jailed for supplying call girls, who had become friends with Hindley in prison, published The Devil and Miss Jones.