Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Monday, 25 August 2008 11:51 UK

2012 Hindley image use condemned


Part of the promotional video that featured the Myra Hindley portrait

Downing Street and the mayor of London have condemned the use of a portrait of murderer Myra Hindley in a video shown at a London 2012 event in Beijing.

The painting was shown in promotional footage produced by Visit London, not the Olympic 2012 organisers.

A spokesman for Boris Johnson said the mayor was "deeply disturbed" the image had been shown. A Downing Street spokesman said it was in "poor taste".

Visit London said the image appeared fleetingly and had been shown before.

The tourism body's video was shown at a party attended by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Mr Johnson at the Chinese capital's London House to promote London's culture ahead of the 2012 Games.

The mayor is deeply concerned by the realisation that a shot of Myra Hindley was shown in a short video... and asked that it not be shown again
Spokesman for Boris Johnson

Marcus Harvey's portrait of Hindley was one of a number of pieces of art seen in the footage filmed in a gallery.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The use of this image is in extremely poor taste and it should not have been used to promote London."

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: "The mayor is deeply concerned by the realisation that a shot of Myra Hindley was shown in a short video at London House and asked that it not be shown again."

The Liberal Democrats described the decision to include the image in the video as a "regrettable choice".

The party's Olympics spokesman, Tom Brake, said: "Of all the many masterpieces that could have been used this was the most regrettable and the least inspired choice."

Moors murderer Hindley, who died in 2002, was jailed along with her partner Ian Brady in 1966 for the murders of three children between 1963 and 1964 and confessed to two others later.

Labour peer Lord Pendry, who represented the relatives of the victims, also criticised the use of Hindley's image.

Tom Pendry, former Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde in Greater Manchester, said: "It was in very poor taste and brought about by those who have no regard for people in my constituency who have suffered."

'Extraordinary decision'

Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe told the BBC she was shocked by the use of the image.

"I do find it utterly extraordinary that if we're trying to promote Britain, we should do so with an image of an mass child murder.

"Somebody somewhere has taken an extraordinary decision that I don't think brings any credit on the country at all."

There has never been a complaint made about the video up until this point
Visit London

In a statement, Visit London said Harvey's Hindley artwork appeared only "fleetingly" in the three-minute video of London.

It continued: "The video is not for general public use and has been used many times over the last few years to show to the tourism trade.

"There has never been a complaint made about the video up until this point.

"However, if any offence has been caused, we will withdraw it from use with immediate effect."

The painting, made from children's handprints, was vandalised while on display in the Royal Academy in 1997.

The pair 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.

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

London takes over as Olympic host
24 Aug 08 |  London 2012
Obituary: Myra Hindley
15 Nov 02 |  England

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific