Belfast Telegraph

Ian Brady a monster beyond compare

Editor's Viewpoint

Ian Brady was a bogeyman, to many people the very personification of evil. Along with Myra Hindley he killed five children in the 1960s, a series of crimes which shocked the UK in those more innocent days and which even after the passage of 50 years still stands as the very definition of depravity.

Brady's lack of remorse and his unwillingness to give any clues to where the body of one of his victims, Keith Bennett, was buried, made him in the eyes of the public a prisoner beyond the pale.

Yet, almost inevitably, there will be some who will seek to mitigate his crimes by citing his troubled youth in his native Glasgow. Lord Longford, famously, campaigned for Hindley's release but she died in prison in 2002.

However, the sheer horror of their crimes mean that Brady and Hindley should be remembered purely with revulsion.

Instead our sympathies must remain with the surviving relatives of the children who were murdered.

The notoriety of Brady and Hindley meant they could never get on with their lives as the killings and the perpetrators continued to make headlines over the decades, especially in the continuing search for the body of Keith Bennett on the infamous Saddleworth Moor, where the remains of three of the other victims were found.

People in Northern Ireland will be familiar with the anguish of Keith's family as searches were conducted over the years. That grim cycle of hope and despair was an uncanny echo of the search for those people murdered and secretly buried by republicans and who became known as the Disappeared.

Keith's mother, Winnie Johnson, died in 2012 without ever having a body to bury, just like the mother of Seamus Ruddy, whose remains were found in France last week.

In a separate case, the mother of Lisa Dorrian, a young woman believed killed by loyalist paramilitaries and secretly buried, passed away without ever knowing what exactly happened to her.

Brady's crimes may have occurred more than half a century ago, but their effects are still felt by the bereaved to this day. He could have eased their anguish but never did.

A callous, unrepentant killer, he still maintained an element of control over the lives of the bereaved families, affecting their lives in ways that we will never fully know.

He may have revelled in his notoriety, but in reality he was a banal misfit who preyed on the innocent. That should be his only epitaph.

Belfast Telegraph

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