Moors murders: a timeline in pictures

By Ian Jones, MSN news editor Rex Features
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Key events in the story of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley's murder of five children

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley killed five children in and around Greater Manchester in the early 1960s. Four of the victims' bodies were buried on moorland in the south Pennines, leading to their crimes being dubbed "the Moors murders". Three of the bodies were later found by police, but a fourth, Keith Bennett, remains undiscovered. This picture, taken by Brady, shows Hindley on Saddleworth Moor: location of the graves of four of the people they killed. Click through for a timeline in pictures of the Moors murders.

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12 July 1963: Pauline Reade disappears

Pauline Reade, 16, was a neighbour of Myra Hindley and a friend of her younger sister Maureen. She disappeared on her way to a dance at the British Railways Club in Gorton on 12 July 1963. Earlier in the evening, Ian Brady had told Hindley that he wanted to "commit his perfect murder". The pair persuaded Reade to help them search for an expensive glove Hindley said she had lost on Saddleworth Moor. Once there, Brady disappeared with Reade, leaving Hindley alone. Half an hour later Brady reappeared, and the pair then returned to where Reade lay dying, her throat cut. They buried her on the moor using a spade Brady had hidden nearby on a previous visit.

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23 November 1963: John Kilbride disappears

Brady and Hindley's second victim was 12-year-old John Kilbride. The pair picked him up early in the evening of 23 November 1963 at a market in Ashton-under-Lyne, offering him a lift home and the promise of a bottle of sherry. They then drove to Saddleworth Moor, again using the pretext of searching for Hindley's lost glove. Once there, Brady sexually assaulted Kilbride before strangling him with a piece of string.

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16 June 1964: Keith Bennett disappears

Keith Bennett, 12, disappeared on his way to his grandmother's house in Longsight during the early evening of 16 June 1964. Hindley lured him into her car on the pretext of asking for the boy's help in loading some boxes. Brady was waiting in the vehicle. They then used the excuse of looking for a lost glove to drive to Saddleworth Moor, where Brady sexually assaulted and killed Bennett.

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26 December 1964: Lesley Ann Downey disappears

Brady and Hindley's fourth victim was 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey. The pair approached her at a funfair on Boxing Day 1964. They dropped some shopping, asked her to help them pick it up and carry it to their car, and then invited her to help them take the packages home. Once inside, Downey was undressed, gagged, and forced to pose for photographs before being raped and killed. It is not clear who killed Downey, though Brady has always insisted it was Hindley. The following morning the pair drove to Saddleworth Moor and buried the body.

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6 October 1965: Edward Evans disappears

On 6 October 1965 Brady met 17-year-old apprentice engineer Edward Evans at Manchester Central railway station. He invited the teenager to his home, then beat him to death with an axe. The incident was witnessed by Hindley's 17-year-old brother-in-law, David Smith, the husband of her younger sister Maureen. Smith had agreed to meet Brady the following day to discuss how to dispose of the body, but instead reported the killing to the police.

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15 October 1965: the search begins

Brady was arrested on 7 October 1965, the day after the tip-off, when police visited his house and discovered Edward Evans' body. Hindley was not charged as an accessory to the murder of Evans until four days later. A large collection of photographs was discovered in Brady's house, many of which seemed to have been taken on Saddleworth Moor. Police began their search of the moor on 15 October 1965.

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21 October 1965: bodies are found

A neighbour of Brady and Hindley was able to direct police towards an area of Saddleworth Moor near the A635 known to be a favourite of the pair. On 16 October, police searching this part of the moor found bones and clothing belonging to Lesley Ann Downey. On 21 October, the decomposing body of John Kilbride was discovered. The same day, Brady and Hindley appeared at Hyde Magistrates' Court charged with Lesley Ann Downey's murder.

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22 November 1965: Brady held in police custody

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were held in police custody prior to their court appearance. At a committal hearing on 6 December Brady was charged with the murders of Edward Evans, John Kilbride, and Lesley Ann Downey, and Hindley with the murders of Edward Evans and Lesley Ann Downey, as well as with harbouring Brady in the knowledge that he had killed John Kilbride.

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8 December 1965: David and Maureen Smith give evidence

David and Maureen Smith were among those to give evidence during the hearing. The proceedings lasted 11 days and took place in front of three magistrates in Hyde. At the end of the hearing, Brady and Hindley were committed for trial at Chester Assizes.

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6 May 1966: Hindley and Brady given life imprisonment

The trial began on 19 April 1966 and lasted 14 days. Both Myra Hindley and Ian Brady pleaded not guilty. On 6 May, Brady was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of John Kilbride, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans. Hindley was convicted of killing Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans and shielding Brady after John Kilbride's murder, and also jailed for life.

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20 November 1986: the search resumes

Twenty years after the trial, police resumed their search for the bodies of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett. In 1985 Brady allegedly confessed to Fred Harrison, a journalist working for the Sunday People, that he had been responsible for the murders of Reade and Bennett. In 1986 officers returned to Saddleworth Moor, and in December Myra Hindley herself was taken to the moor to identify possible locations. Then in February 1987 Hindley confessed to her involvement in all five murders. Brady confessed soon afterwards. Pauline Reade's body was found on 1 July 1987. Keith Bennett's body has never been discovered. Myra Hindley died from bronchial pneumonia caused by heart disease, at the age of 60, on 15 November 2002. Ian Brady remains in the high-security Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside. He began a hunger strike in 1999 and has been force fed through a tube ever since.