Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Funding for Moors victim search

Winnie Johnson, mother of murder victim Keith Bennett

A privately funded search has begun for the body of a 12-year-old boy killed by Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, it was reported.

The hunt for Keith Bennett, who was snatched as he made his way to his grandmother's house in Longsight in 1964, is taking place in the Pennine hills near Manchester.

Since police abandoned the search for the body last year, hundreds of people have donated to help pay for a volunteer search and rescue team from Wales, according to the BBC.

The police investigation is classed as "dormant", and only a major scientific breakthrough or significant piece of fresh evidence would prompt a new search. Keith's mother Winnie Johnson, 76, has been unable to hold a funeral for her son as his body has never been found, but earlier this month she paid tribute to her son at a special memorial service.

On March 5 she spoke at Manchester Cathedral in front of a large painting of her son based on the famous black and white photo of the smiling, bespectacled youngster. Breaking down in tears, she said: "I'm Keith's mother... he's there on the Moors, I want him back.

"It's very hard to do what I have done. In a way I'm proud of myself because I know each of you people are hoping for Keith to be found but nobody more than me wants him found. I will still fight for ever more until I find him and I hope I find him before I'm dead. I do wish one day he will be found."

Brady and Hindley's other child victims were Pauline Reade, 16, who disappeared on her way to a disco on July 12, 1963 and John Kilbride, 12, who was snatched in November the same year. Lesley Ann Downey, 10, was lured away from a funfair on Boxing Day 1964 and Edward Evans, 17, was killed in October 1965.

Brady was given life at Chester Assizes in 1966 for the murders of John, Lesley Ann and Edward. Hindley was convicted of killing Lesley Ann and Edward and shielding Brady after John's murder, and jailed for life. In 1987 the pair finally admitted killing Keith and Pauline.

Both were taken back to Saddleworth Moor in 1987 to help police find the remains of the missing victims but only Pauline's body was found. Hindley died in jail in November 2002, aged 60. Brady has spent the last 25 years at high-security Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside.

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