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Moors murders

The Moors murders is the name given to a series of child murders in the United Kingdom carried out by Myra Hindley and her lover Ian Brady, from 1963 to 1965. The two abducted, sexually abused, tortured and finally murdered several children. The children were killed and buried on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester, and hence the case is known as the Moors Murders.

Their victims were Pauline Read, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey, and Edward Evans.

The Moors Murderers have not been released from prison, in part because of massive public revulsion against their crimes, arguably driven to some extent by the British tabloid press. Despite a long-running appeal for her release by Lord Longford, who also campaigned for the rehabilitation of several other offenders, Hindley died unreleased. Brady is still being kept alive in spite of his desire to starve himself to death.

The legal issue of who is allowed to set the release date for prisoners sentenced to "life imprisonment" is unlikely to be resolved until both Hindley and Brady have died. The issue is uncomfortable for a Western democracy, where the executive is constitutionally separate from the judiciary. In 2000, an appeal by Hindley to the House of Lords was rejected; she appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In May 2002 in another case, the ECHR overruled the power of the British government to keep a life inmate in jail after he had served his minimum sentence. The much higher profile Hindley case was expected to raise significant difficulties for the government; Hindley's death can be seen as convenient for them.


  • Myra Hindley: Inside the Mind of a Murderess, Jean Ritchie, Paladin 1991, pbk. ISBN 0586215638
  • The Moors Murders: The Trial of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, Jonathan Goodman, David & Charles 1986, ISBN 0715390643
  • Beyond Belief: the Moors Murderers, Emlyn Williams, Pan 1992, ISBN 0330020889

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