JACKIE POWELL, who acts as a mental health advocate for moors murderer Ian Brady, has hit out at police who arrested her at home in South Wales on Friday, seeking a sealed letter from Brady supposed to tell where he buried his 12-year-old victim Keith Bennett.
Powell, a 49-year-old mother of two teenagers, has been released on bail after being charged with preventing the lawful burial of a body. Vilified in the tabloids, she has been forced to go into hiding for fear of attack.
She told The Sunday Times that she had approached police more than two weeks ago and told them that Brady had given her three sealed envelopes, to be opened after his death. She suspected that one might have details of Bennett's resting place.
Powell claimed that police had shown little interest in the envelopes at the time. When they entered her house last week, she alleged, they manhandled her and her son. She said one officer called her "the lowest scum".
She added: “To be taken from my house in handcuffs with all the neighbours watching... it was like a movie." All her papers and computer were taken away for examination, though she claims the envelopes were not at her home but are kept in "a secure place".
Yesterday, Bennett's 78-year-old mother, Winnie Johnson, died after a long illness. She had survived her son, the only moors murders victim whose body has never been found, by 48 years. Her family chose not to make her aware of the existence of the letter as she lay terminally ill in a hospice bed.
Powell's arrest came about after the makers of a C4 documentary, to be broadcast on Tuesday night, recorded an interview with her in which she disclosed the existence of the envelopes. Producer Paddy Wivell waited ten days before passing the information to police, who waited two weeks before acting on it.
Bennett's family are said by the Mail on Sunday to be angry that action was not taken sooner. A spokesman for the family said: "The fact there seems to be such a delay from the time when police were made aware of the possible existence of this letter, to when they actually acted, will be a cause for concern for the family."
Powell was also critical of the documentary makers, accusing them of reporting the letter to drum up publicity for their programme and saying she felt "betrayed" by them. The Observer reports today that the broadcast will go ahead despite Johnson's death.
Many experts think that even if Brady has penned such a letter - and police have not yet found it - there is little chance it will actually reveal where exactly Bennett is buried on Saddleworth moor.
Brady was taken to the moor in 1987 but was claimed to be unable to find the right spot. David Wilson, a professor of criminology at Birmingham City University told The Guardian last week he is convinced Brady has no idea where the body is and is simply trying to exercise control over Johnson to gratify himself.
He said: "They stopped the investigation [in 1987] because it's quite clear he didn't have a clue where the body was. This is not about Keith Bennett, or Winnie Johnson, it's about Ian Brady." ·