Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder on the Moors: The Ian Brady and Myra Hindley Story

Birds of A Feather

Myra Hindley, mugshot (CORBIS)
Myra Hindley,
mugshot (CORBIS)

For Myra, their first meeting was the beginning of an "immediate and fatal attraction." While others described Brady as morose and sullen, Hindley saw him as silent and aloof, characteristics that she thought were "enigmatic, worldly and a sign of intelligence." He was different from any of the boys she had known. Compared to Brady, the likes of Ronnie Sinclair were dull, naïve, and unambitious. Every night, she would write in her diary of her intense longing for Brady, a longing that would remain unfulfilled for some time. As she fluctuated from "loving him to hating him," Brady remained steadfastly disinterested for a year.

Ian Brady, mugshot (CORBIS)
Ian Brady, mugshot

At the office Christmas party, Brady, relaxed by a few drinks, asked Hindley for their first date. It was to be the beginning of her initiation into his secret world. That first night he took her to see The Nuremberg Trials. As the weeks went by, he played her records of Hitler's marching songs and encouraged her to read some of his favourite books — Mein Kampf, and Crime and Punishment, and de Sade's works. Hindley happily complied. She had waited for so long for something different and now here it was. Her inexperience and hunger left her incapable of distinguishing which of her new experiences were healthy and those that were dangerous.

Brady became her first lover and she was soon totally besotted with him, soaking up all of his distorted philosophical theories. Her greatest desire was to please him. She even changed the way she dressed for him, in Germanic style, with long boots and mini skirts, and bleached hair. She allowed him to take pornographic photographs of her, and of the two of them having sex. With such a devoted audience, Brady's ideas became increasingly paranoid and outrageous, but Hindley was without discernment. When he told her there was no God, she stopped going to church, and when he told her that rape and murder were not wrong, that in fact murder was the "supreme pleasure," she did not question it. Her personality had become totally fused with his.

Family, friends and colleagues quickly noticed the changes in her. At work she became surly, overbearing, and aggressive, and began to wear "kinky" clothes. Her sister Maureen testified in court that, after meeting Brady, Myra no longer lived a normal life with dances and girlfriends, instead she became secretive and claimed she hated babies, children and people.

Early in 1963, Brady put Hindley's blind acceptance of his ideas to the test. He began planning a bank robbery and needed her to be his get-away driver. Immediately, Hindley began driving lessons, joined the Cheadle Rifle club and purchased two guns. The robbery was never carried out, but Brady's purpose had been fulfilled. Myra had shown herself willing. Brady knew she was ready to cement their relationship.

In Brady's mind he was like Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, he had "reached the stage where, whatever came to mind, get out and do it...I led the life that other people could only think about." Dostoyevsky's novel had become for Brady, not an exploration of the destructiveness of unrestrained ego, but a justification for, and ennobling of his own degraded fantasies.

On the night of 12 July 1963, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley took their first victim, sixteen-year-old Pauline Reade.


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