Hope in Search For Moor’s Victim’s Body


THE key prosecution witness who put Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley behind bars is close to finally identifying the spot where schoolboy Keith Bennett was buried.

 A file will soon be sent to Greater Manchester Police with a plea to start a new search at a specific location, 47 years after the murder on remote Saddleworth Moor.

David Smith, 63, made many trips to the moor with the serial killers. At the time he was going out with Hindley’s younger sister Maureen, but they had no idea four children were buried near the area where they enjoyed picnics.

Mr Smith is currently studying video images and photos taken by Alan Bennett, Keith’s brother. He is narrowing down the spot where he believes diggers could find the remains of Keith, who was 12 when he vanished in 1964. The boy had been lured to the moors by Hindley and killed by Brady.

The development comes after Mr Smith published a book, Witness, in June. For the first time, he tells the story of his courtship of Maureen Hindley and their marriage.

Mr Smith had no idea that during 1963 and 1964 Brady and Myra had murdered four children and buried them on the moor, near Manchester. He only realised how dangerous they were in October 1965, when psychopath Brady axed 17-year-old Edward Evans to death in front of him in the family home.

Mr Smith went to the police and detectives began to unravel the horrors. After they found the bodies of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and 12-year-old John Kilbride, he became the key prosecution witness in the 1966 trial. Brady, now 73, was found guilty of three murders and Hindley of two. She died in 2002.

In the mid-Eighties the pair finally admitted killing Keith and 16-year-old Pauline Reade, whose remains were found on Saddleworth in 1987. Police abandoned the search for Keith’s body because they needed detailed information on where he had been buried.

Mr Smith agreed to go back to the moor, but says police took him to the wrong area. Mr Bennett said last night: “The pictures we took and sent to David have already stirred memories, including those of an area used for picnics and shooting practice with pistols.

“David told us he had never been approached in such a way before and therefore his memories of that spot have remained dormant. He had never even been taken to that area by the police, despite their belief that Keith is buried in that area, knowing Brady and Hindley had taken David and Maureen there after Keith’s murder.”

Author Carol Ann Lee, who wrote the book with Mr Smith, said: “I am hopeful that the co-operation between Alan and David will at least lead police to the place where Keith lies.

“His poor mother Winnie deserves to be able to fulfil her wish to give him a Christian burial.

“Soon a file will go to the police which will say X marks the approximate spot where Keith was buried and that should persuade them to conduct another search, hopefully the last.”

I hope that this is not just a way for Smith to sell books. Ms. Winnie Johnson has been through so much and she really needs Keith’s body in order to get closure.

Brady has already played with this poor woman’s head and heart.

In the almost half a century since Keith Bennett was killed, his mother, Winnie Johnson, has written to Brady many times asking for his help in recovering her son’s body.

She has renewed her plea this week because she has been diagnosed with inoperable cervical cancer. Now aged 77, she wants to bury her son before she succumbs to the disease.

She has filmed a short DVD in which she reveals to Brady that she has cancer and appeals directly to him to help her find her son’s remains.

“I’m doing it in the hope he will respond,” Mrs Johnson said. “The most important thing is to find Keith before the cancer beats me.

“He knows where Keith is but I think he enjoys having that last bit of power — and if I find Keith he’ll have nothing left.”

Mrs Johnson has sent hundreds of letters to Brady over the years, and doesn’t hold out much hope that he will respond this time.

In 2006, Brady wrote back, saying he had “clarity” over where Keith was buried, and several meetings with a solicitor for Mrs Johnson ensued, but came to nothing.

  1. Do I detect some cynicism Psycho Watcher?

  2. ‘I hope that this is not just a way for Smith to sell books’

    That was the first thought that came into my head !!!

  3. Loon, I guess I am a bit cynical when it comes to certain situations. I guess it just seems a bit ‘convenient’ that his memory is coming back to him now.

    duncanr, sad isn’t it?

    • Selective memory until a book deal seems the best way to make money these days.

  4. I followed the whole Hindley case as a kid despite the fact those murders happened long before I was born. Keith’s body has never been found and I feel sorry for his family have go through such an ordeal until now.

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