Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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

Update of the Ian Brady Story

The BBC Online Archive also reports that whie Myra Hindley was lodging her 1997 appeal, her partner in crime, Ian Brady, wrote a letter to Home Secretary Jack Straw in support of keeping Hindley in jail for the rest of her life.

The letter also provided Brady with the opportunity to "clarify certain points."

The following are extracts from that letter published in full on BBC Online:

On Their Relationship

"First accept the determinant. Myra Hindley and I once loved each other. We were a unified force, not two conflicting entities. The relationship was not based on the delusional concept of folie à deux, but on a conscious/subconscious emotional and psychological affinity. She regarded periodic homicides as rituals of reciprocal innervation, marriage ceremonies theoretically binding us ever closer. As the records show, before we met my criminal activities had been primarily mercenary. Afterwards, a duality of motivation developed. Existential philosophy melded with the spirituality of death and became predominant. We experimented with the concept of total possibility. Instead of the requisite Lady Macbeth, I got Messalina. Apart our futures would have taken radically divergent courses."

On His Influence Over Her

"The reason why the trial judge made a distinction between Myra Hindley and myself. Before entering the witness box, I instructed both her counsel and my own to ask me specific questions designed to give the fullest opportunity of providing a cover for Myra. This managed to get her off on one murder charge. I also told her to adopt a distancing strategy when she went into the witness box, admitting to minor crimes whilst denying major. When, upon my advice, she appealed against sentence on the grounds that she should have been tried separately, Lord Chief Justice Parker denied the appeal, stating that, far from being disadvantaged by being tried with me, it had been to her great benefit as all my evidence had been in her favor. For twenty years I continued to ratify the cover I had given her at the trial whilst, in contrast, she systematically began to fabricate upon it to my detriment. Therefore, when I learned from the Panorama programme this week that she was now claiming I had threatened to kill her if she did not participate in the Moors Murders, I considered that the lowest lie of all. The fact that she continued to write several lengthy letters a week to me for seven years after we were imprisoned contradicts this cynical allegation. Perhaps her expedient demonomania now implies that I exercised an evil influence over her for seven years from my prison cell three hundred miles distant? In character she is essentially a chameleon, adopting whatever camouflage will suit and voicing whatever she believes the individual wishes to hear. This subliminal soft sell lured the innocent and naive. As for the parole board, I advised her to build on three pillars: educational studies, powerful contacts and religion. She did. I myself have never applied for parole and never shall, which is why I can afford the luxury of veracity and free expression."

On Her Campaign for Release

"In the aforementioned Panorama programme, former Home Office Minister A. Widdicombe stated there are twenty-three prisoners in the UK who will never be released. Why has the public heard so little of them? In this and other special hospitals run by prison warders there are also patients no-one has heard of, who have been rotting behind bars for forty and fifty years for relatively minor offences. That puts the present loud debate over Myra Hindley in proper perspective, and crystallizes the reason why I have long advocated UK prisoners and patients in special hospitals should have access to voluntary euthanasia."

The Right to Die

In October 1999, Ian Brady, housed at the high-security Ashworth Psychiatric Hospital, went on a hunger strike stating that he would rather die than "rot slowly" in prison. After initially refusing all food he was force fed with a tube by hospital staff. The following December he collapsed and was taken to another hospital to undergo tests. It was the first time he had been outside Ashworth Hospital since his admittance in 1985.

A staff member told BBC, "The tests showed no cause for concern and Mr. Brady will continue to be re-fed at Ashworth Hospital."

Following the release of the story, Brady wrote another letter to the BBC, in which he stated his intention of taking legal action over the hospitals decision to force-feed him.

Earlier he had been transferred to a higher security ward after hospital staff discovered a metal bucket handle taped under a sink in a laundry room and believed it could have been used as a crude weapon.

The letter also detailed his allegation of being assaulted by a squad of male nurses and strip-searched. Part of the letter said: "I prefer to die healthy rather than rot slowly for their vested interests and expediency." He also said that he had spent 35 years in captivity and was destined to die in "some garbage can".

Robin Makin, Brady's solicitor, told the press, "Certainly he wants the right not to be force-fed and, if he chooses, the right not to eat and then to die. He wants the right to starve himself to death, but I cannot say anything more than that about his state of mind."

Lawyer Stephen Grosz added, "Anyone of sound mind who is not a minor can starve themselves or kill themselves otherwise. It is still illegal to aid and abet suicide."

One major impediment to Brady's fight for the right to die is the fact that he was diagnosed as being mentally ill which may have a detrimental affect on his fight for the right to refuse medical treatment.

The article in BBC Online Archive further explains the legal ramifications:

"Under English law, a competent adult can refuse medical treatment. In the case of Brady, his lawyers argue re-feeding, which is sometimes also known as force feeding, is a medical treatment in response to his self-imposed starvation. The 1993 case of Tony Bland, the Hillsborough victim who existed in hospital in a persistent vegetative state, established feeding could be seen as medical action. Given this, the case falls to Brady's mental capacity to refuse treatment and foresee the consequences of his actions."

Fighting Back

In March 2000, Brady wrote another letter to a Liverpool news agency in response to a BBC program in which Hindley stated she was "overwhelmed by Brady's powerful personality." She also stated that she only took part in the killings "out of twisted love for Brady because she was emotionally immature and unsophisticated."

Brady's letter states: "Myra is a chameleon who simply reflects whatever she believes will please the person she is addressing. She can kill in cold blood or rage. In that respect we were an inexorable force."

The letter also accuses Hindley of indulging in "destructive delusion and absurdity."

"She has stooped to new depths, alleging I coerced her to serially murder by use of drugs, rape, blackmail, physical violence and practically every other crime in the book. All the concrete evidence against her has been jettisoned in favour of transparent mendacity and evidential amnesia," he wrote.

He told how Hindley had claimed she had committed her crimes out of love for him and stated; "Now she maintains she acted out of hate for me - a completely irrational hypothesis by any standards in the context of serial homicide."

In March 2000, Brady's appeal for the legal right to starve himself to death was refused by Britain's High Court. The judge, Mr. Justice Maurice Kay, "supported arguments made on behalf of the hospital that they were legally justified in force-feeding Brady because his decision to go on a hunger strike was related to his mental condition."

On hearing the decision, Brady said he would still continue with his hunger strike, despite the ruling. In a five-page letter to BBC News, he wrote, "The judicial review was a political farce. The judge was only concerned with not setting a rational precedent. The whole show was cosmetic. Pinochet [was] not fit to stand trial; I [am] not fit to die. A great country for dictators and Nazi war criminals. All evidence and common sense on my side was disregarded. I clearly stated my sole objective was/is death and that I had made no demands or negotiations, and ended up requesting that I be returned to prison to continue the death strike, as prisons do not force-feed. I continue the death strike doubly resolved and justified."

He also complained about the security measures at the court where he claims he spent three hours a day in a bare police cell waiting for the hearing to begin.

Brady later instructed his lawyers to pursue the complaints either by appeal or by legal challenge to the European Court of Human Rights. "In either case I want more psychiatrists brought in as further witnesses to my competence. If anyone believes I am bluffing, they need only call it by halting the force-feeding. I wanted a life in captivity, denied. I wanted death in captivity, denied. Obviously I am simply to be stored. Events of the past six months of this death strike, culminating in the politically-orchestrated judicial review, merely confirm and reinforce my initial assessment and resolve to die. Let the public decide who is telling the truth."

In September 2000, Brady launched a new appeal against the decision. He was in fine form. "At this year's judicial review, an eminent psychiatric consultant testified that I had a firmer grasp of reality than the Ashworth medical authorities. The past year has proved that my decision to die was — and is — valid, rational and pragmatic. I have not the least doubt or regret. I merely wish to die. I receive no medical treatment other than force-feeding."

He went on to attack the hospital system. "Patients have been stored in Ashworth for countless decades at massive public expense, despite having committed no crime or merely trivial offences. Why are such innocuous patients being left to rot in a top-security hospital in the first place? The principle by which Ashworth operates to justify itself is crude and simple. It is the self-fulfilling prophesy. Apply a label. Put the monkey in a cage. Keep poking it with a stick. When it eventually reacts, interpret the reaction as justification of the label."

A spokesman for Ashworth Hospital later said, "We cannot comment on the treatment of individual patients, or their complaints," but confirmed that Brady was still being fed against his wishes, describing his condition as "comfortable".

In April 2001, Brady's lawyers applied for a court order to try to stop doctors force-feeding. For over 500 days, Brady had been fed liquid food through a plastic tube inserted through his nose and into his throat. Two weeks prior to the application for a court order, he pulled the tube out and doctors made plans to reinsert the tube against Brady's wishes, an action that Brady's lawyers consider "unlawful." After removing the feeding tube, Brady was accepting only black coffee or tea with saccharine tablets and water.

At the beginning of last year, Brady went to court in Liverpool to try to establish his right to die but lost the case and doctors at Ashworth were told they did have the power to feed him against his wishes.

In June 2001, the court order preventing Brady from being force-fed was refused. Following the decision, {BBC Online} reported: "Ashworth Hospital commissioned an independent investigation, conducted by Professor David Sines of London's South Bank University. Professor Sines concluded the hospital was right to transfer Brady and had acted correctly in deciding to feed him."

The Book Deal

In August 2001, it was revealed that Brady stood to earn £12,000 for a book about serial killers. The book, which examines the psychology of serial killers including Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, but makes no mention of Brady's crimes.

The decision to publish the book, titled The Gates of Janus, has been condemned by many, including the families of Brady's victims.

A spokesman for the publishers defended their decision saying: "Brady considers the idea of good and evil and believes that people should be able to do what they want. It is very persuasive."

Colin Wilson, a prominent author and criminologist, also defended its publication saying he had "persuaded Brady to write the book to provide an insight to criminologists into the why people kill."

Wilson also stated that Brady has already written his own autobiography. He said the manuscript is in a solicitor's safe and Brady has given instructions that it is not to be published until after his death.



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