Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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

Without A Trace

Pauline Reade (victim)
Pauline Reade (victim)

Pauline Reade was on her way to a dance at the Railway Workers' Social Club on the night she disappeared. Originally, she had planned to go with her three girlfriends, Linda, Barbara, and Pat, but at the last minute, when their parents learned that there would be alcohol available, they pulled out. Determined not to miss out on the dance, Pauline decided to go alone.

At eight o'clock Pauline, dressed in her prettiest pink party dress, left home. What Pauline didn't know was that her girlfriend, Pat, and another friend Dorothy had seen her leave. Curious to see whether she would really have the nerve to go to the dance alone, Pat and Dorothy followed her. When they were almost at the Club, the two girls decided to take a short cut so they could arrive at the club before Pauline. They waited for her but she never arrived.

When Pauline had still not arrived home at midnight, her parents, Joan and Amos went out to look for her. They called the police the next morning when the nightlong search had failed to find any trace of their daughter. A police search proved to be just as fruitless. It seemed that Pauline had simply disappeared.

The second child disappeared on 11 November 1963. Twelve-year-old John Kilbride and his friend John Ryan had gone to the local cinema for the afternoon. When the film finished at 5 o'clock, they went to the market in Ashton-Under-Lyne to see if they could earn some pocket money helping the stallholders to pack up. John Ryan left John Kilbride standing beside a salvage bin near the carpet dealer's stall to go and catch his bus home. It was the last time that anyone saw John Kilbride.

A crowd of searchers combs the area, looking for signs of the missing child (CORBIS)
A crowd of searchers combs the
area, looking for signs of the
missing child (CORBIS)

When John did not return home for dinner, his parents Sheila and Patrick called the police. For the second time, a major search was conducted, with police and thousands of volunteers combing the surrounding area for any clue as to John's disappearance. No sign was found. All his parent's knew was that John didn't come home.

Six months later, another child went missing. 16 June 1964 was a Tuesday, and every Tuesday evening twelve-year-old Keith Bennett would go to his grandmother's home to spend the night. This Tuesday was no different. As his grandmother's house was only a mile away, he walked by himself. His mother watched him over the crossing and onto Stockport Road, then left him to go to bingo in the opposite direction.

When Keith didn't arrive at his grandmother Winnie's house, she assumed that his mother had decided not to send him. Keith's disappearance was not discovered until the next morning when Winnie arrived at her daughter's home without Keith. Again the police were called, and again a search was conducted, and again it seemed that a child had disappeared without a trace.

A further six months had passed before the fourth child, ten-year-old Lesley Ann Downey, disappeared. It was on the afternoon of 26 December 1964. Lesley had gone with her two brothers and some of their friends to the local fair, in Hulme Hall Lane, only ten minutes away. They had not been there too long before all of their pocket money was spent and they were bored. All but Lesley Ann left for home. A classmate last saw her, at just after half-past five, standing alone next to one of the rides.

When Lesley Ann still had not returned home at dinnertime her mother, Ann, and her fiancé Alan began to search for her. They called the police when they could find no sign of her. The countryside was searched, thousands of people were questioned and missing posters were displayed but no new leads were discovered. No one could tell Lesley Ann's parents what had happened to their little girl.

It would be another 10 months before the gruesome truth would be uncovered.

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