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Friday, 15 November, 2002, 20:21 GMT
Mother's fears after Hindley death
Winnie Johnson, mother of Keith Bennett
Mrs Johnson has vowed to keep looking for her son
The mother of one of Myra Hindley's victims fears her son's body will never be found now the Moors murderer is dead.

Winnie Johnson said the death of Hindley could mean the end of her 36-year search to find the makeshift grave of her son, Keith Bennett.

Mrs Johnson, of Fallowfield, Manchester, said: "I always hoped she would be able to tell me at least something of what I wanted to know and I've never given up that hope."

Hindley, whose death was announced at 1720 GMT on Friday, killed the 12-year-old in 1964 with Ian Brady and left the boy's remains on Saddleworth Moor.


The families of the victims were tormented by the idea of her ever being released

Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Topping
Hindley and Brady were taken from jail to the moors in the 1980s to help a new police hunt for the bodies of Keith and 16-year-old Pauline Reade.

Pauline's body was recovered but Keith's remains were never found and the search was called off.

"Whatever happens, I'll never give up looking for Keith and I'll keep asking Brady," said Mrs Johnson, who said Hindley had not replied to letters she had been sending her since 1986.

"I have no sympathy for her even in death. The pair of them have made my heart very hard and really I just hope she goes to hell."

Families relieved

The officer in charge of the 1980s investigation, former Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Topping, said he did not want Mrs Johnson to give up.

He told BBC News Online: "There's always hope but it does become more difficult as time goes on."

He added: "I feel that the families of the victims will find some relief in the fact that [Hindley] has passed on.

"The families of the victims were tormented by the idea of her ever being released.

Keith Bennett
The 12-year-old was killed on Saddleworth Moor
"The fact that she has passed on in prison and has served the sentence as given... I think they will find a little solace in that."

But Terry Kilbride, brother of 12-year-old victim John Kilbride, said his family had never got over the killing.

He said: "It's like a dagger. It digs in and it will still dig in even though she is dead."

The Methodist minister who counselled Hindley before her new confessions in 1987 defended her.

'Complete remorse'

Minister Peter Timms, a former governor of Maidstone jail, said: "Her part in the business has always been one of complete remorse and complete regret.

"She's always done everything she can to help the police."

He insisted the idea she knew where Keith Bennett was buried was "nonsense".

Hindley's solicitors, Taylor Nichol, said: "Those who came to know Myra, prison officials, doctors and lawyers, knew well that Myra truly repented for what she did."

Brady blamed

Biographer Carol Ann Davies blamed Brady's influence on Hindley, who was a child-loving babysitter before meeting him.

"The parents were happy to leave her for hours with their children."

But Mark Leech, editor of the Prisons Handbook, who spent three hours with Hindley in her cell at Durham jail in 1997, said: "There was no remorse whatsoever."

One implacable opponent of early release for Hindley was Labour peer Lord Pendry, former MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, who said: "I have been persuading every home secretary from the early 1970s to the present one that she should not be released, not least because she would not stand a chance of living if she got out."

And although Hindley is now gone, Greater Manchester Police confirmed they "would always investigate any fresh evidence that might lead us to the location of the body of Keith Bennett".


Click here to go to Manchester

Key stories

The Moors murderers

Who was Hindley?

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See also:

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