Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Moors Murders victim remembered

Winnie Johnson, mother of Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett
Winnie Johnson, mother of Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett
Moors Murderer Ian Brady has spent 25 years at high-security Ashworth Hospital
Moors Murderer Myra Hindley died in jail in 2002

The "lost" victim of the Moors Murders is to be be remembered at a special memorial service more than 45 years after he was abducted and killed.

Keith Bennett's mother Winnie Johnson, 76, has said she always wanted to give him a "proper Christian burial" but the body of the 12-year-old, who vanished on a summer's day in 1964, is the only one of the five victims not to be found and still lies somewhere on Saddleworth Moor.

Mrs Johnson has found it hard to grieve without having said a final goodbye to her son with a funeral service. In the absence of a body, the public memorial service at Manchester Cathedral is in lieu of a funeral.

She never gave up hope of finding him and begged for help from his killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

The service comes after police, who have spent five decades searching, made one last massive effort two years ago using the latest technology to scour the Moors above Manchester. But they failed to locate the boy's remains and declared last July, without significant new information coming to light, the search was at an end.

Mrs Johnson, from Longsight, Manchester, will begin the service by lighting a candle for Keith and give a public address, titled A Mother's Perspective.

Keith was snatched by Brady and Hindley on June 16 1964, after he left home in Longsight on his way to his grandmother's house nearby. He was the third of the Moors Murderers' five child victims. Pauline Reade, 16, disappeared on her way to a disco on July 12, 1963, and John Kilbride, 12, 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 for the murders of Kilbride, Downey and Evans at Chester Assizes in 1966. Hindley was convicted of killing Downey and Evans and shielding Brady after Kilbride's murder, and jailed for life.

In 1987 the pair finally admitted killing Keith Bennett and Pauline Reade. Both were taken back to Saddleworth Moor in 1987 to help police find the remains of the missing victims but only Pauline Reade'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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