Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Graham Young, the St. Albans Poisoner

A Meeting of Minds: Ian Brady and Graham Young

Ian Brady
Ian Brady
Due to the notoriety of his case, Graham Young lived in constant fear of being poisoned by fellow inmates while in Parkhurst. But one person in whose company he felt relatively safe was the Moors Murderer Ian Brady. In 2001, Brady won a long battle for the right to publish a book 'the Gates Of Janus," in which he offers his insider's view on a number of serial killer cases. One of those chosen for this rare accolade was his old friend Graham Young.
Gates of Janus
"Gates of Janus"
"He sometimes grew a Hitler moustache," remembers Brady, "fastidiously trimming it with a razor until the skin around it was red raw and the prison staff had to stop him." He tells of playing Chess with Young on a daily basis, with Young favoring the black pieces, "likening their potency to the Nazi SS." Brady claims he always beat him. The pair bonded over their shared fascination with Nazi Germany.
Dr. Josef Mengele
Dr. Josef Mengele
The bisexual Brady even sounds positively amorous when he describes how Young shared the "boyish good looks" of a mutual idol, Dr. Josef Mengele. However, he also reports that Young was "genuinely asexual," and suggests that this was another example of him exercising power over 'the herd." "Power and death were his aphrodisiacs," he asserts. Brady suggests Young was, like him, something of a Nietzschian in outlook, obsessed with proving himself superior to 'the common herd." Am I a unique individual or simply a common insect? Do I possess the courage to act autonomously, against man and god? The serial killer unfortunately perceives that the only real way to distance himself from the banality and senility of the herd is to exercise free will of the most extreme kind – by killing others. Of Young's flamboyant performance in court he writes:
Hermann Goering
Hermann Goering
He probably likened himself to Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, routing the allied prosecutors and dominating the proceedings at the Nuremberg trials. Or could that simply be Brady's warped and rather ludicrous fantasy? He viewed his destiny in Wagnerian terms and would sit in his miserable, almost bare cell as though it were the Berlin Bunker, listening rapturously to Gotterdammerung, a doomed figure with his grandiose dreams in ruins. When depressed...he had the dejected stoop of Hitler in his final days. Bear in mind while reading this that Brady would probably find parallels with Hitler and Nazi Germany in an episode of The Waltons. The Moors Murderer reports that the only music Young liked were Jeff Wayne's "War Of The Worlds" and "Hit The Road Jack" by Ray Charles, and he would amuse himself by reading obituaries of the great and the good in The Times of a morning. He also fantasizes that Young killed himself. Possibly he commended 'the poisoned chalice" to his own lips, in a final gesture of triumphant contempt. Or could it have been a final gesture of wanting to kill himself? He concludes the chapter by pointing out that Graham's "relatively modest use of thallium" was nothing compared to its usage during the first gulf war, in which American forces bombarded the enemy with thallium-tipped shells. Had Graham lived to see it, this would have brought a cynical smile to his thin pale lips, and a mischievous sparkle to his dark eyes. Finally, Brady concludes, in all seriousness, "It was difficult not to empathies with Graham Young." Okay, time for your medication, Mister Brady.
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