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EDITIONS
Friday, 15 November, 2002, 16:15 GMT
Moors murderer Hindley 'gravely ill'
Myra Hindley
Hindley has been in hospital for some time
The health of Moors murderer Myra Hindley, who has been in hospital with a chest infection, has deteriorated.

Hindley, 60, was taken to West Suffolk Hospital at Bury St Edmunds with a suspected heart attack at the beginning of the month.

She was admitted again on Tuesday with respiratory problems and is said to be gravely ill.

Hindley, who became a devout Roman Catholic while in prison, has been administered the last rites by a priest and also visited by a chaplain.


She struck me as a very emotionless, very cold person... there were no really genuine signs of remorse

Mark Leech
The Moors murderer - who had become a hate figure - is being kept in a separate room with three prison guards.

Hindley also suffers from angina and osteoporosis and was being held in nearby Highpoint Prison in Suffolk.

She was jailed for life in 1966 for murdering two children with her lover Ian Brady, and has since confessed to killing two more.

Hindley has made a number of legal bids for freedom, but has been told she will never be released from Highpoint.

She suffered a suspected heart attack earlier this month and was found collapsed in her cell at Highpoint, it was reported.

It was also reported that Hindley was being given free nicotine patches in an attempt to stop her 40-a-day smoking habit.

Abuse

Brady and Hindley's crimes of sexual abuse, torture and murder of children shocked the nation.

Lesley Ann Downey, 10, John Kilbride, 12, Keith Bennett, 12, and Pauline Reade, 16, were all sexually assaulted before their deaths at the hands of the couple.

The victims
Lesley Ann Downey, 10
John Kilbride, 12
Keith Bennett, 12
Pauline Reade, 16
Edward Evans, 17
Their bodies were buried on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester.

The pair's final victim was 17-year-old Edward Evans, who was lured from a gay bar to the home shared by Hindley and Brady.

He was murdered in front of Hindley's 17-year-old brother-in-law, who alerted the police.

Biographer Carol Ann Davies said Hindley had been hugely influenced by "psychopathic" Brady and was known to love children before they met.

Even after the killings began, "she loved him so she stayed with him", Ms Davies told BBC News.

Successive home secretaries including David Blunkett have always said that in Hindley's case, a life prison sentence should mean life.

But in October the House of Lords began hearing a case which could overturn politicians' rights to set minimum sentences for criminals.

Hunger strike

The Law Lords heard that Mr Blunkett should fall into line with recent European rulings and accept that tariffs should be set by the judiciary.

That would put Hindley's fate in the hands of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf.

Brady, now 64, is currently being held at the high security Ashworth Hospital on Merseyside.

He has failed in several legal attempts to be allowed to starve himself to death.

Brady, now 64, is on permanent hunger strike
For the past three years, he has remained on hunger strike, and the hospital authorities have been feeding him through a plastic tube.

Mark Leech, editor of the Prisons Handbook and the inmates' newspaper ConVerse, spent three hours with Hindley in her cell at Durham jail in 1997.

He said: "She struck me as a very emotionless, very cold person... there were no really genuine signs of remorse.

"I recognise that she's changed, become a Christian and got a degree.

"But what she did over a two-year period was horrific and if someone who tortured and murdered five children doesn't deserve to die in jail, who does?"

But in 1999, Hindley's prison therapist Joe Chapman said Hindley had admitted her own guilt and become genuinely remorseful, even if in public she still tended to blame Brady.

"I think Myra was evil then but is not evil now," he said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Janes Hughes reports
"Her condition is extremely bad"

Click here to go to Manchester
See also:

15 Nov 02 | UK
15 Nov 02 | UK
13 Nov 01 | England
28 Feb 00 | UK
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