Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Sunday, 28 March 2010 16:29 UK

Search for Moors victim's body 'could take years'

Members of the Global Rescue Services and International Rescue Training Centre teams dig holes
A search team will dig holes for sniffer dogs to search for Keith Bennett's body

The leader of a search to find the body of a 12-year-old victim of the Moors Murderers has said the hunt could take years.

Keith Bennett was snatched by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964 as he was making his way to his grandmother's house in Longsight near Manchester.

A team of volunteers started a fresh search of Saddleworth Moor on Saturday.

The head of the team said there were potentially 19 sites that have been earmarked for the team to scour.

They are also examining a new location near the village of Greenfield.

'Not promising anything'

David Jones, director of the International Rescue Training Centre in Wales, who is leading the search, said it could take 12 months to investigate the area as it was so large.

"If we're looking at all the sites we've been given, we could be here for months, years - it just depends which area we're given and where we can locate a body," he said.

Keith Bennett
Keith Bennett was last seen on his way to his grandmother's house

Keith's mother Winnie Johnson, 76, was on site as the search by the team from Global Rescue Services began.

The search leader, who met Mrs Johnson for the first time last week, said: "I've told her I'm not promising anything and we're just going to do what we can."

They are relying on evidence from witnesses who have come forward with information they hope could find the youngster's remains.

Police abandoned the hunt last year and the investigation is now classed as 'dormant', with only a major scientific breakthrough or significant piece of fresh evidence able to prompt a new search.

'Looking for closure'

The project is to be funded by money from hundreds of private donors, but Mr Jones said his team is made up of volunteers.

Mr Jones explained why he decided to take on the challenge.

Myra Hindley and Ian Brady
Hindley and Brady confessed in 1987 to killing Keith

"We've had jobs like this in the past," he said.

"It gives our dogs work in this specialist field and the dog-handlers more knowledge of working these sites. Also at the end of the day we're looking at closure for Mrs Johnson."

Keith Bennett was the third of the Moors Murderers' five young victims.

Pauline Reade, 16, disappeared on her way to a disco on 12 July 1963, and John Kilbride, 12, was snatched in November of that year.

Lesley Ann Downey, 10, was lured away from a funfair on Boxing Day 1964 and Edward Evans, 17, was killed in October 1965.

Brady and Hindley confessed in 1987 to killing Keith.

Hindley died in jail in November 2002, aged 60. Brady has spent the past 25 years at the high-security Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside.

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