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Monday, 18 November, 2002, 08:51 GMT
Hindley was 'changed woman'
Myra Hindley
Plans for Hindley's funeral were made some time ago
The solicitor for Moors murderer Myra Hindley says that before her death she was no longer the "icon of evil" depicted by the tabloid press.

In his first broadcast interview since her death on Friday, Andrew McCooey told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Hindley was a changed woman.

An inquest into Hindley's death is scheduled to open on Monday following the 60-year-old's death of respiratory failure in West Suffolk Hospital after 36 years in prison.

She somehow found a way back to being a human being

Andrew McCooey, Hindley's solicitor
Police have been guarding her body since then, amid concerns that someone might attempt a revenge attack or try to take photographs of the corpse.

Her death behind bars, despite her repeated pleas for parole, has been met by very little sympathy.

But Mr McCooey, who visited Hindley more than 100 times, said she had reformed and regretted her part in the deaths of five youngsters.


"She was a very quiet, gently spoken woman who truly was a changed person," he said.

"I've visited many criminals in prison over the years but she struck me as one of those few who truly are genuinely remorseful for her crimes."

Keith Bennett
Keith's body was never found
Mr McCooey said being separated from the influence of her partner in crime Ian Brady, enabled Hindley to change.

"She somehow found a way back to being a human being, and in my view an outstanding human being because she changed," he said.

Hindley, who was Britain's longest serving woman prisoner, told Mr McCooey that had she not rediscovered her faith and become a devout Catholic, she may well have killed herself.

"She accepted that humanly she could never be forgiven, but she found peace... with God," he said.

On Monday, Hindley's body will be taken back to Highpoint Prison, where she spent her last years.

The inquest, at 1500 GMT, will be overseen by Greater Suffolk coroner Peter Dean.

After the hearing - standard procedure when a prisoner dies in custody - Hindley's body can be released to relatives.

Police have refused to say when her funeral will take place, but she is expected to be cremated in Cambridge.

Mr McCooey said he would be among the 12 or so family and friends expected to attend, including her mother, who lives in a Manchester nursing home.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokeswoman urged people not to gather near Cambridge Crematorium to wait for the body, for safety reasons.

Her ashes are then expected to be scattered at an undisclosed location.

Couple's victims

Hindley's accomplice Brady, now 64, was also jailed for life and is currently being held at the high security Ashworth Hospital on Merseyside.

The pair'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, and Edward Evans, 17, were all killed by the couple.

The bodies of Lesley Ann, John and Pauline were found in moorland graves. Edward was found at the couple's home. Keith's body has never been discovered.

Andrew McCooey , Hindley's former solicitor
"Had she not met Brady she would never have committed these crimes"

Key stories

The Moors murderers

Who was Hindley?

See also:

16 Nov 02 | England
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