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All Posts, True Crime

Author guest post: Chris Cook

The Moors Murderers

The time was 06:10am on 7th October 1965. Police received a call from a man, clearly in distress, saying that he needed the police to come and pick him and his wife up from the phone box he was calling from on the Hattersley Estate, Manchester. When a police car arrived, the couple emerged from bushes next to the phone box and identified themselves as David and Maureen Smith and asked the policeman to take them to the station.

He handed over a knife and screwdriver that he had armed himself with and explained that he was only carrying them for his and his wife’s protection and that he would explain everything once they were safely at the station.

On arrival, David Smith explained that he had witnessed a teenager murdered before his very eyes the previous evening by his brother-in-law. The man was called Ian Brady. He explained to senior detectives how his wife’s sister, Myra, had called around late the previous night to speak to her sister and that at the end of the conversation Myra asked him to walk her home as the streetlights were out and that she had enticed him by offering the incentive of some miniature wine bottles.

He walked Myra home, a walk of less than five minutes, and upon entering the house followed Myra into the kitchen to get the miniatures. Just then, a loud scream came from the living room and Myra rushed to the doorway shouting ‘Dave, help him’. He rushed into the living room and was greeted by a scene of carnage. His brother-in-law, Ian Brady, was attacking a youth with what he was able to make out as a hatchet. He stood there in complete shock as he witnessed the youth being battered around the head and upper body before having a cushion cover put over his head and a piece of flex wrapped around his neck. Brady pulled tightly until there were no signs of life.

In shock at what he had seen, and also in fear of his own life, he helped both Brady and Hindley to clear up the mess. They scrubbed the flooring and carpets as best as they could but didn’t know what to do with the body. Brady had injured his ankle in the original struggle and so didn’t want to dispose of it that night. Between the three of them, they decided that it would be best to move the body upstairs to Myra’s bedroom and that Smith would bring a pram he and Maureen had over the following night so that they could move the body to Myra’s car and then dispose of it.

Brady had drunkenly bragged to Smith previously that he had killed before and that he had buried the bodies up on Saddleworth Moor. David Smith hadn’t believed him and felt that this youth, later identified as 17-year-old Edward Evans, had been killed to prove to him what he was capable of. Smith felt that he was not also killed that night because he agreed to go along with the plan.

He eventually left the house and, as soon as he was out of sight, ran home where he arrived shortly after 03:00am. David was sick as soon as he got home and this woke his wife, Maureen. He told her exactly what had happened, and she saw the blood on his clothes. They decided that they had no option other than to go to the police. Still in fear for his life, Smith insisted on waiting until first light and armed himself with the knife and screwdriver before he and Maureen made their way to the phone box.

Ian Brady was immediately arrested and the body of Edward Evans was found in Myra Hindley’s bedroom, just as David Smith had described. Because the detectives didn’t believe that a woman would be involved in murder, Myra was not immediately arrested. Unfortunately, this was a huge mistake on the part of the detectives as it left her free to destroy key evidence.

As the police delved deeper into the case, it soon became apparent that Ian Brady had written the name of a missing child, John Kilbride, in a notebook. Believing what Smith had told them about Brady telling him that he had killed before and buried bodies on the moor, police looked through photographs in Brady’s photo album and found some pictures of moorland scenes and strange poses by his girlfriend, Myra. On one, she was clearly looking down at her feet at what looked like a possible grave site.

Police tried to locate this area and eventually looked at a place called Hollin Brown Knoll. Whilst searching, a young policeman happened to notice what looked like a bone protruding out of the ground. When excavated, it was discovered that this was a body of a young girl, and not John Kilbride. Detectives looked through their files and discovered that there were missing children from the Manchester area over the previous few years – among them were the names Pauline Reade, Keith Bennett and Lesley Ann Downey.

Back at the house detectives discovered a left luggage ticket for Manchester Railway Station and there found two suitcases. Upon opening them they discovered lots of incriminating evidence, including tapes which had recorded the torture of Lesley Ann Downey. On these, Myra’s voice could clearly be heard and she was then arrested.

This book gives the full story of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley’s lives before they met, their lives together and the full depravity of their crimes. This story is told in unbelievable detail and my second book: ‘Convicting the Moors Murderers: The Arrest, Trial and Imprisonment of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley’ is to be released in early 2023 and will contain never before seen letters, photographs and prison reports of the couples lives in prison. It will also give you, the reader, the full story of Myra Hindley’s attempted prison break in 1973 and the finding of Pauline Reade’s remains in 1987.

The Moors Murderers is available to order here.