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Moors murderer Ian Brady: I’m not insane

Child killer’s rambling, unapologetic four-hour appeal for jail move

By Jonathan Brown

Moors murderer Ian Brady denied he was insane yesterday as he recalled cooking steaks with Ronnie Kray and mingling with some of Britain's most notorious criminals during his half-century of incarceration.

In an extraordinary four-hour display, which veered between vaunting self-aggrandisement and breathtaking callousness towards his victims and their relatives, the child killer failed to express remorse for his crimes.

Throughout the long-awaited appearance at the mental health tribunal, which must decide whether the 75-year-old — now the UK's longest-serving prisoner — should be returned to a normal jail from a secure hospital, Brady repeatedly stonewalled suggestions he had a personality disorder.

Speaking in a quiet, controlled voice, his Glaswegian accent still pronounced, he hit out at “media fascination” with his past, claiming he was demonised and romanticised like Jack the Ripper, and comparing reports of the shocking killings to the Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound Of The Baskervilles and the Gothic romance Wuthering Heights.

Brady was particularly scornful of Tony Blair, whom he accused of getting rich off his “war crimes” in Iraq, while claiming he was effectively made a political prisoner by Margaret Thatcher.

Under cross-examination by the tribunal and counsel for Ashworth Hospital on Merseyside, where the tribunal is being held, Brady pedantically answered questions.

At one point he held forth on the dictionary meaning of existentialism, an idea he used to explain the motivation for what he considers his “petty crimes”.

His victims' families, who watched proceedings via video from a courtroom at Manchester Civil Justice Centre, criticised the £250,000 tribunal as a waste of money. Terry Kilbride, whose brother John was snatched in November 1963, accused Brady of revelling in the opportunity to address the outside world and suggested the money should have been used to recover the body of Keith Bennett, still missing.

Speaking in public for the first time since his 1966 trial, the killer described how he mixed freely with the Kray twins, the Great Train Robbers and members of the Richardson crime family. He said he had met spies, IRA terrorists and perpetrators of the Iranian embassy siege.

He recalled how he and Ronnie Kray were prisoners in Durham jail in the late 1960s, after a riot.

Insisting that the public fascination with him remained undimmed, he said: “After half-a-century you think there would be amelioration but they are obsessed with the case.”

He added: “You don't want to go into the reasons which are somewhat theatrical. Why are you still talking about Jack the Ripper? It is a case of the background and the fascination — all the fog, capes and the cobbled streets. The moors are the same thing — Wuthering Heights and The Hound Of The Baskervilles.”

He conceded that he had no chance of ever being released. Brady, who was wearing the nasal tube through which he has been force fed over 14 years of hunger strike, rejected claims he regularly ate food.

Brady contrasted the “negative, repressive and deliberately provocative” staff at Ashworth with his experiences in mainstream jail, where he was since his 1966 conviction before he was transferred to the hospital after his 1985 psychosis diagnosis.

Claims that he was paranoid were wrong, he said. “I was in solitary confinement for a time. I would memorise whole pages of Shakespeare and Plato and other people and recite them all to myself while walking up and down exercising in the cell. If I interact with the TV, Tony Blair or something, and comment, this is interpreted as psychosis.”

The panel is to release its final decision today which must be agreed by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

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