Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Thursday, 22 July 2004 14:10 UK

Killer Brady loses legal battle

Ian Brady
Ian Brady has been at Ashworth Hospital since 1985

Moors murderer Ian Brady has lost a legal battle for an inquiry into his continued detention at a mental hospital to be held in public.

The Mental Health Review Tribunal ruled last September in favour of Brady, who wants to leave the hospital which force fed him during a hunger strike.

But the High Court said he was still insisting on medical confidentiality, making the tribunal's ruling "flawed".

Mersey Care NHS Trust, responsible for Brady, had brought the legal challenge.

Four years ago, Brady had unsuccessfully challenged Ashworth high security hospital's decision to force feed him after he began a hunger strike.

Twelve year old Keith Bennett
Keith Bennett, 12, was among those killed by Brady and Hindley

He had said he would rather die than "rot slowly" in the Merseyside hospital.

Mr Justice Beatson said the original tribunal ruling was based on the assumption that, as a hospital patient, Brady had waived his right to confidentiality.

But he said it was now clear he had not done so and that would have to be considered at a subsequent rehearing.

He said the tribunal had failed to consider "the real difficulties" in imposing reporting restrictions on any hearing, which may be necessary if it took place in public.

It had also not considered Brady's safety at any hearing and the level of security his attendance would require.

The trust had argued Brady's past aversion to publicity, his clinical condition and the likely adverse impact of a public hearing meant it would not be in his interests for it to go ahead.

Brady, now aged 66, was convicted in 1966 along with his former lover Myra Hindley of murdering 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey, Edward Evans, 17, and 12-year-old John Kilbride.

He was transferred to Ashworth high security hospital in 1985 and, two years later, finally confessed to murdering Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12.

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