Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Thursday, 12 May 2005 11:09 UK

Obituary: Myra Hindley

Myra Hindley
Hindley lost her battle for parole

Moors murderer Myra Hindley died in hospital following a chest infection on 15 November 2002, at the age of 60.

For many years, Myra Hindley was depicted by the tabloid press as "the most hated woman in Britain".

The crimes committed by Hindley and her lover, Ian Brady, shocked the nation and became the benchmark by which other acts of evil came to be measured.

On 6 May 1966, at Chester Assizes, Hindley and Brady were jailed for life after a 15-day trial.

Notorious case

They were convicted of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey, aged 10, in 1964, and Edward Evans, aged 17, in 1965.

Brady was also convicted of the murder of 12-year-old John Kilbride, and Hindley was found guilty of being an accessory.

Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride were both strangled. Edward Evans was attacked with a hatchet and strangled.

The case was made even more notorious by the tape-recording played to the trial of Lesley Ann Downey pleading for her life.

The killings soon became known as the "Moors murders" because the bodies had been buried on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester.

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in an early snapshot
Hindley was infatuated with Brady

In 1987, Brady and Hindley confessed to two further murders - those of Pauline Reade, aged 16, and 12-year-old Keith Bennett.

Searches conducted on Saddleworth Moor led to the discovery of Pauline Reade's body but Keith Bennett's body was never found.

The director of public prosecutions decided a prosecution of the two cases would not be in the public interest.

Hindley was born in Crumpsall, a Manchester suburb, in 1942.

Years later she spoke of the tyrannical violence of her father, Bob, a building labourer.

She left school at 15, learned how to type and within three years went to work at a small chemical firm.

There she met Brady, who was working as a stock clerk.

He had a minor criminal record with stretches in borstals and Strangeways Prison in Manchester.

While inside, he began his fixation with Hitler and the writings of the Marquis de Sade.

Pair captured

Until then, Hindley had been, by all accounts, a perfectly normal girl, with strong religious feelings.

She loved children and animals and was much in demand as a babysitter.

She was highly romantic and became infatuated with Brady.

She wrote in her diary: "I hope he loves me and will marry me some day."

Keith Bennett
The body of Keith Bennett was never found

When they became lovers, Hindley was prepared to do anything Brady asked.

So in July 1963, he persuaded her to lure 16-year-old Pauline Reade up to the moors.

Pauline was killed and Hindley helped Brady to bury her body.

In November 1963, the couple drove to the market at Ashton-under-Lyne, where 12-year-old John Kilbride did odd jobs for stallholders.

As it became dark and foggy, Hindley asked him if he wanted a lift. It was the last time he was seen alive.

Brady and Hindley tried to involve other people in their activities, but one of these, Myra's brother-in-law David Smith, eventually caused their capture.

He called the police after he witnessed the murder of Edward Evans.

Brady's fate

Ian Brady was moved from prison to a high security hospital in 1985.

He has recently called for a public hearing to determine whether he should still be detained in a mental institution.

But he has repeatedly told the BBC he has no desire to be freed and will never seek parole.

Myra Hindley
Supporters said she became 'a good woman' in prison

Hindley, however, pursued a long campaign for parole, with the support of the late Lord Longford, who visited her frequently in prison.

In 1998, Appeal Court judges upheld the decision by the former home secretary Jack Straw that Hindley should stay in prison until she died, unless there were "exceptional" reasons to review the tariff.

They dismissed arguments by her lawyers that Mr Straw and his predecessors had acted unlawfully when they imposed a "full life tariff".

At the Appeal Court, Lord Justice Judge said Hindley's 1987 confession had revealed a "much greater level of involvement" with Brady than she had previously admitted.

Hindley's supporters argued that she had shown remorse since going to prison, where she became a devout Roman Catholic.

She had obtained an Open University degree in humanities and had become a "good woman", they said.

Hindley took her case to the House of Lords in 2000, but again failed, when five law lords ruled unanimously that Mr Straw's decision had been lawful and justified.

'Wicked and evil'

Just two days after the original trial, the judge who sentenced Hindley said: "Though I believe Brady is wicked beyond belief without hope of redemption, I cannot feel that the same is necessarily true of Hindley once she is removed from his influence."

Myra Hindley
Hindley studied for a degree

But in 1994, Hindley wrote that she was "wicked and evil" and had behaved "monstrously".

She said: "Without me, those crimes could probably not have been committed."

Much of the debate about the fate of Myra Hindley focused on her relationship with Brady.

At her trial, evidence was produced that she had been subjected to threats, violence and intimidation by him.

Though Brady and Hindley exchanged love letters in their first years in custody, later he said she was a manipulative liar who was as committed to murder as he had been.

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