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Monday, December 8, 1997 Published at 15:45 GMT

Special Report: Myra Hindley

The Brady letter

The Moors murderer Ian Brady has sent a letter to the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, to coincide with the High Court appeal against a ruling that his accomplice, Myra Hindley, should never be released. Writing from the Ashworth top security mental hospital, Brady appears to back the Home Secretary's decision that a life sentence should mean life in Hindley's case.

The Moors murderers were sentenced in 1966 for the killings of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, 17. In 1987, Hindley confessed they had also murdered 12-year-old Keith Bennett and Pauline Reade, 16, and buried their bodies on Saddleworth Moor near Manchester.

Below is the text of Brady's letter, apart from three sections omitted for legal reasons:

"Dear Sir,

Despite having contributed a brief factual statement, dated 31st Oct 97 (copy enclosed), to the Home Secretary in the continuing annual debate re whether my co-defendant, Myra Hindley, should be released, commentators and journalists still press me for further elucidation.

The answers to the variegated questions put are discoverable in the aggregate three decades of copious public and official files, though no individual has yet possessed the necessary acumen to interpret them with comprehensive accuracy and consistency. Therefore, I'll concisely clarify, reductio ad absurdum, some of the additional pertinent questions posed, avoiding the legal, moral and theological sophism of others.

(1) The pivotal factor of our relationship. First accept the determinant. Myra Hindley and I once loved each other. We were a unified force, not two conflicting entities. The relationship was not based on the delusional concept of folie a deux, but on a conscious/subconscious emotional and psychological affinity. She regarded periodic homicides as rituals of reciprocal innervation, marriage ceremonies theoretically binding us ever closer. As the records show, before we met my criminal activities had been primarily mercenary. Afterwards, a duality of motivation developed. Existential philosophy melded with the spirituality of death and became predominant. We experimented with the concept of total possibility. Instead of the requisite Lady Macbeth, I got Messalina. Apart our futures would have taken radically divergent courses.

(2) The reason why the trial judge made a distinction between Myra Hindley and myself. Before entering the witness box, I instructed both her counsel and my own to ask me specific questions designed to give the fullest opportunity of providing a cover for Myra. This managed to get her off on one murder charge. I also told her to adopt a distancing strategy when she went into the witness box, admitting to minor crimes whilst denying major. When, upon my advice, she appealed against sentence on the grounds that she should have been tried separately, Lord Chief Justice Parker denied the appeal, stating that, far from being disadvantaged by being tried with me, it had been to her great benefit as all my evidence had been in her favour. For twenty years I continued to ratify the cover I had given her at the trial whilst, in contrast, she systematically began to fabricate upon it to my detriment. Therefore, when I learned from the Panorama programme this week that she was now claiming I had threatened to kill her if she did not participate in the Moors murders, I considered that the lowest lie of all. The fact that she continued to write several lengthy letters a week to me for seven years after we were imprisoned contradicts this cynical allegation. Perhaps her expedient demonomania now implies that I exercised an evil influence over her for seven years from my prison cell three-hundred miles distant? In character she is essentially a chameleon, adopting whatever camouflage will suit and voicing whatever she believes the individual wishes to hear. This subliminal soft-sell lured the innocent and na_ve. As for the parole board, I advised her to build on three pillars: educational studies, powerful contacts and religion. She did. I myself have never applied for parole and never shall, which is why I can afford the luxury of veracity and free expression.


(5) Myra's apparent offer to undergo hypnosis to aid recollection. When I advised that it should be drug-induced hypnosis (Sodium Pentothal, which corrodes subconscious defence mechanisms), she dropped the idea.


Add to this the published fact that, (a) her seven years of coded letters are in the hands of my solicitors, (b) an autobiography I wrote many years ago lies in a vault and is to be released after my death or until I instruct otherwise.

In the aforementioned Panorama programme, former Home Office Minister A. Widdicombe stated there are twenty-three prisoners in the UK who will never be released. Why has the public heard so little of them? In this and other special hospitals run by prison warders there are also patients no-one has heard of, who have been rotting behind bars for forty and fifty years for relatively minor offences. That puts the present loud debate over Myra Hindley in proper perspective, and crystallises the reason why I have long advocated UK prisoners and patients in special hospitals should have access to voluntary euthanasia.

I would wish this statement to be published in full, no matters raised being taken out of proper context, distorted or sensationalised.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Brady"

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