Winnie Johnson, the mother of Moors murders victim, dies

Winnie Johnson, the mother of Moors murders victim Keith Bennett has died.

Winnie Johnson, the mother of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett, has diedPA

Mrs Johnson, who was battling bowel cancer, died peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Keith Bennett was murdered in 1964 and his body has never been found. Mrs Johnson had fought a long campaign to get her son's killer, Ian Brady, to reveal where Keith is buried.

The 78-year-old's death came just two days after police said they were investigating claims that Brady revealed the whereabouts of Keith's body in a letter to his mental health advocate, Jackie Powell.

Despite the police investigation Mrs Johnson died without finding out where her son was buried and without giving him the Christian burial she wanted so much.

In a statement for the family, John Ainley, a senior partner at Oldham-based solicitors North Ainley Halliwell, said: "Winnie Johnson, mother of the last missing Moors Murders victim Keith Bennett, has died without discovering her son's whereabouts.

"Winnie aged 78 passed away peacefully at a hospice after she had been diagnosed with cancer some years ago.

"It is a terrible tragedy and I would ask the media to respect Winnie's family's wishes to be left to grieve in private at this distressing time.

"She will be sadly missed and was much loved by her family and friends."

Mr Ainley had represented her legal interests for the last few years and has reaffirmed her beliefs that Brady still holds the key to the missing child's burial spot.

"Over the years and in all our personal meetings, Winnie has insisted Brady is the only person who could put her mind to rest and give her the chance to give Keith a decent burial before she passed away," he said.

"She was convinced Brady knew where her son was buried and she told me she wanted the search to continue to find Keith.

"Despite her personal appeals directly to Brady and via my office, Brady had persistently ignored the wishes of a grieving mother.

"She has died without knowing Keith's whereabouts and without the opportunity to finally put him at rest in a decent grave.

"It is a truly heartbreaking situation that this opportunity has now been irrevocably lost.

"Winnie's health deteriorated in the last few days. She died not knowing of the letter's possible existence but the steadfast conviction Ian Brady can resolve the situation."