Morbid crime obsessives have spent a fortune buying Ian Brady's possessions and letters from murky websites in the wake of his death, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
A Northern Ireland-based collector of serial killer 'murderabilia' said a spike in sales of Brady's belongings happened hours after news broke of the death of the Moors murderer a week ago.
The collector also revealed some are hunting for the 'Ian Brady holy grail' - a letter in which he is believed to pinpoint the spot where he disposed of the body of his fourth victim, 12-year-old Keith Bennett, which still remains undiscovered.
Several of Brady's letters to his pen-pals and fans are now sold out on so-called 'murderabilia' sites which specialise in flogging items that belong to the world's most notorious serial killers.
One of the sites, named Serial Killer Ink, which sells handwritten notes from the world's most vicious murderers, is now 'out of stock' of all its Brady wares.
Other items Brady used in prison are now being traded on the murky corner of the internet known as the 'dark web', which specialises in illegal goods including weapons and drugs, and which is a haven for child pornographers and paedophiles.
Brady, who carried out a child murder crime spree with lover Myra Hindley in the 1960s, has long been a cult hero for admirers of serial killers.
The murderabilia collector we spoke to said the last week has been 'the busiest time ever' for trades in Brady's belongings and letters.
The source - who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals - said: "Ian Brady items have always been hot among collectors of serial killers' belongings, and the last day has seen a real spike in trades and expensive purchases because his death makes his belongings even more collectible and valuable. Ian's letters are now being sold like mad, as well as Christmas cards he signed and more personal items he has owned and used in prison.
"I have heard items like his toothbrushes have been bought on the dark web, but I have not splashed out on anything like that. I own two of his letters and they are worth a lot of cash."
Defending his pastime, the collector added: "It sounds morbid, but there is a huge market for these items and they are genuine collectibles. People who collect these aren't any sicker than people who like watching crime dramas on TV or who buy true crime books.
"It's all out of curiosity and can give useful insight into the human mind."
The source shockingly added collectors of murderabilia were after the 'gold dust' of secret prison letters in which Brady confesses to crimes for which he has not been convicted.
"Ian's fourth victim Keith Bennett has never been found, and collectors know a letter stating where his body is would be worth a fortune.
"The hunt is well and truly on for something like that."
Brady merchandise is not the only murderabilia for sale online. A single hair of serial killer Ted Bundy was once sold for £200.