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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 10 February, 1999, 13:14 GMT
Moors murder mother was 'incredible'
Ann West: Wanted to die knowing Hindley would stay inside
The mother of one of the Moors murder victims has died after a long battle against liver cancer.

Ann West's daughter Lesley Ann Downey was killed by Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, after abducting her on Boxing Day 1964.

Mrs West, 69, died at her home in Fallowfield, Manchester, on Tuesday.

She was at the centre of the campaign to ensure Hindley remained behind bars, and fellow relatives of her victims have described her as an inspiration.

Police search for bodies buried on the Lancashire moors
Danny Kilbride, younger brother of victim John Kilbride, said: "I have known her really well over the years; we fought for the same thing.

"When I last saw Ann she told me she hadn't long left, and we all knew that, and she asked to carry on the fight.

"This has only made me more determined than ever to carry it on, to ensure their memories live on and that Myra Hindley is never released."

Winnie Johnson, whose 12-year-old son Keith Bennett was also killed, described Mrs West as an incredible woman.

Meanwhile, Lyn Costello and Dee Warner from Mothers Against Murder and Aggression said they were "privileged" to have known her.

"She was an incredible and brave woman," they said.

"We will remember Ann with love and pride and send our deepest sympathy to her husband Alan, her children and grandchildren."

Tapes and photos

Lesley Ann Downey was 10 years old when she was kidnapped by Hindley and Brady from a fairground in Manchester.

She was stripped, gagged, sexually assaulted and strangled before being buried in a shallow grave on Lancashire's bleak Saddleworth Moor.

Mrs West saw photographs taken by her daughter's killers showing Lesley Ann tied up and helpless in the hours leading up to her death.

She also had to listen to Brady and Hindley's tape recording of her daughter's cries for mercy.

Mrs West was adamant that it was Hindley's hands which squeezed out her daughter's final breath and had threatened to kill her on many occasions.

Vow to haunt Hindley

She also vowed to haunt Hindley from beyond the grave, saying: "I will still be a thorn in her side after I pass on, I will haunt that woman for the rest of her life."

Over the years Mrs West had used psychic Doris Stokes to contact her daughter who she believed had visited her many times.

For years she had taken valium and high-dose sleeping pills to cope with nightmares.

Her doctors said that the years of stress had contributed to the cancer which affected her ovaries, breast, bowel and liver.

Prison fight

But the illness did not stop her campaigning and in 1997 she visited a High Court hearing on Hindley's future in a wheelchair.

At the time she told BBC News she was determined that Hindley should end her life behind bars.

She said she would rest in peace if the court ensured that Hindley remains in prison.

That wish was granted last year when the court agreed with successive home secretaries who had prevented the killer's release.

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


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