Brady and Hindley: Genesis of the Moors Murders

Brady and Hindley: Genesis of the Moors Murders

by Fred Harrison

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The shocking true crime story of child murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, Great Britain’s most horrific serial killers.

During the early 1960s, just as Beatlemania was exploding throughout the United Kingdom, a pair of psychopathic British killers began preying on the very young, innocent, and helpless of Greater Manchester. Between 1963 and 1965, Ian Brady and his lover and partner, Myra Hindley, were responsible for the abduction, rape, torture, and murder of five young victims, ranging in age from ten to seventeen years old. The English press dubbed the grisly series of homicides “the Moors Murders,” named for the desolate landscape where three of the corpses were eventually discovered.
Based in part on the author’s face-to-face prison interviews with the killers, Fred Harrison’s fascinating and disturbing true crime masterwork digs deeply into Brady and Hindley’s personal histories to examine the factors that led to their mutual attraction and their evolution into the UK’s most notorious pair of human monsters. It was during these interviews that new details about the killers’ terrible crimes surfaced, compelling the police to reopen what was arguably the most shocking and sensational homicide case in the annuls of twentieth-century British crime.
With a new introduction by the author, meticulously researched and compellingly written, Brady and Hindley is the definitive account of Britain’s most hated serial killers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504036757
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 05/03/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 111,021
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Fred Harrison is a graduate of the Universities of Oxford and London. He was chief reporter for the Sunday People when he secured the jail cell confession of Ian Brady. During the 1990s, he worked in Russia as a consultant on how to transform the wrecked command economy. Harrison was the only economist to give a ten-year warning to the Blair government in Britain that house prices would peak in 2007, to be followed by depression. He is currently director of the Land Research Trust, London. He is the author of Brady and Hindley: Genesis of the Moors Murders and As Evil Does.
Fred Harrison is a graduate of the Universities of Oxford and London. He was chief reporter for the Sunday People when he secured the jail cell confession of Ian Brady. During the 1990s, he worked in Russia as a consultant on how to transform the wrecked command economy. Harrison was the only economist to give a ten-year warning to the Blair government in Britain that house prices would peak in 2007, to be followed by depression. He is currently director of the Land Research Trust, London. He is the author of Brady and Hindley: Genesis of the Moors Murders and As Evil Does. 

Read an Excerpt

Brady and Hindley

Genesis of the Moors Murders

By Fred Harrison


Copyright © 1987 Fred Harrison
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-3675-7



It was not an auspicious Sunday. Cold westerly winds had bellowed up the Clyde during the night, and the news vendor outside the gate of Rotten Row Maternity Hospital had repeatedly to stamp his feet on the frost-encrusted pavement to keep his blood circulating. The front page headline of the Sunday Pictorial attracted most attention: "Mona Tinsley's Spirit Led Her Slayer to Gallows". The police, desperately trying to solve the brutal murder of a 10-year-old girl, resorted to the use of a spiritualist to help them to track down the killer, Frederick Nodder.

Margaret Stewart, a 28-year-old tearoom waitress, gave birth to her illegitimate son on January 2, 1938. She christened him Ian Duncan Stewart. He was never to know his father. The unmarried mother rented a room in Caledonia Road, in the Gorbals, a tough inner city slum in Glasgow. But within a few months she realised that she could not cope with both a baby and a job. She advertised the need for someone to nurse her son, and Mrs May Sloan responded. She and her husband John loved children: they had two sons and two daughters of their own, all of them older than Ian. Between them they provided the little stranger with the security of a clean home, a brown-stone tenement in Camden Street.

Ian grew tall, thin and sallow. He was intellectually bright, but reluctant to apply himself to the full at Camden Street Primary School. He joined in the rough-and-tumble of street games, but he was shaping up into a lonesome character. He knew he was different. He did not know why; it was just a feeling that, somehow, he did not belong. He emphasised this apartness for the first time at Sunday school. The teacher asked: "Does everybody believe in God?" "No," came the reply from the sole dissenter. Ian was 5-years-old. Looking back on that incident, he identified it as the first occasion on which he chose to differentiate himself from his peers.

Ian's early experiments in cruelty were no different from the behaviour of many children who take delight in making animals suffer. He threw cats through windows to see if they could survive 30-foot falls and he killed his share of birds. But the little boy was not yet beyond the pale.

He was eight-years old when he suffered his first trauma. He was walking along one of the cobbled streets near home on a cold and frosty morning. His attention was attracted by a commotion, and he ran to see what the excitement was all about. Behind a gathering crowd was a sight of suffering that left its mark indelibly printed on the boy's emotions. A giant Clydesdale, which was pulling a drayman's cart, had slipped on the cobbles and had broken a bone. It was in agony. Ian felt helpless as the majestic beast appealed to him for relief from the searing pain: it stared at him, screaming silently through two large pools of water-filled eyes. Ian could not stand the sight of the stricken beast. He ran away, tears streaming down his cheeks.

The overriding emotion in Ian Stewart's early boyhood years was one of a strange emptiness. The Sloan family kept him warm and well-fed, and life revolved around the routines of school and play, seasonal festivities and pocket-knife adventures in the streets. The tenement blocks marked the territorial boundaries of his world, protecting his body and yet, in some indefinable way, imprisoning his soul. Then, during his ninth year, Mrs Sloan announced a treat: the family was going to the country for the day. She packed sandwiches, and they set off for the hills around Loch Lomond. It was the fatal turning point in Ian Stewart's life.

The boy was entranced by the vast open space. He felt the mystical calls of nature all around him, and he wondered. He knew instantly that he had an affinity with whatever was out there, beckoning him, trying to liberate his soul. He felt nature's power pulsing around him as he climbed, a solitary figure, higher up the hillsides. He stood motionless for an hour as the strength of nature coursed through his body. The howling wind and the thorny heather, the clouds bellowing through the heavens – this was where Ian belonged. It was a spiritual experience, the origins of the boy's pantheism, which affirms the unity of the gods with nature itself.

Intuitively, the boy knew that he was not one of the Sloans. They succoured him, but theirs' was not his natural home. Now he had found the spiritual comfort he needed, which filled the emotional vacuum of his childhood. The formative events started to come thick and fast.

When Ian reached the age of 12, his dog became ill. He prayed to God that his pet would not die. His prayers went unanswered, which convinced Ian that there was no personal God. A year later, he discovered that he was born a bastard. It was the crushing news that confirmed that he was an outsider, and he turned his back on society. He sought fulfilment in petty crime, and escaped the realities of life in the fantasy of the cinema. House-breaking and burglary did not pay: he was caught and brought before the juvenile courts. His behaviour was treated as the tear away misdemeanours of a working class lad from the slums, pranks out of which he would grow with the passage of time.

Then, one day, he was at the end of his school career. He scanned the job advertisements in the local Press, and finally found one that looked promising. He mounted his bicycle outside the Sloan's house in Templeland Road, Pollock, an overspill estate on the outskirts of Glasgow, and rode through the Hillingdon housing estate on his way to an interview. As he turned a corner, Ian felt giddy. He dismounted, and stood in the doorway of a newsagent's shop. His head was spinning. He supported himself by leaning against the newsagent's window. And there it was, a green, warm radiation, not unattractive to the young man who clutched his head to try and steady himself. The features were unformed, but still recognisable. Ian knew that he was looking at The Face of Death. He did not know, on that rain-swept day in Glasgow, that this experience was destined to become the focus of his private cult; that the souls of innocent children would be sacrificed to The Face of Death. But he instantly knew that his salvation was irrevocably bound to its demands. "I'll do it a favour, and – like it will do, in the end – it will do me favours." The bond with death was fused by that green radiation.

One of Ian's first jobs was butcher's assistant. He saw the sharp knife being wielded dispassionately against flesh and bone. What could be done to dead meat could be done to live flesh: on at least one occasion, he joined a gang of youths to carve up a 16-year-old boy with knives.

The fantasy of life as an outcast from a society that he despised now consumed his thoughts. He was going to be the Master criminal. In the meantime he settled for small-time housebreaking expeditions. He fell foul of the police on several occasions. After one sortie, a boy made the mistake of informing on him. Years later, when he moved to Manchester, he told the story of his revenge. He boasted that he had murdered the boy and buried him on a bomb-site in the Gorbals. Nobody believed him. The world was yet to learn that Ian Stewart was a young man who did not lie.

He was due for his third term of probation for house-breaking and theft a few weeks before the age of 17 when officialdom struck its first deep blow. Ian could stay out of prison if he went to live with his mother in Manchester.

Mrs Sloan was bewildered at the way in which Ian had turned out. He was now beyond her control, and she agreed to his departure. The youth had no alternative, and his mother, Mrs Brady – she had moved south and married by this time – accepted her son into her home in December 1954. It was a traumatic experience for Ian. The welcome from his natural mother did not compensate for the loss of his familiar surroundings in Glasgow. He retained an affection for the Sloan family, and Scotland would forever remain his home territory. For now, however, he was a misfit in an English city, a gangly youth with a broad accent from north of the border and poor prospects.

Ian was searching for an identity. Like other youngsters at this age – let alone one who found himself in a strange environment – he needed to define his role in society and discover his unique space in the universe. Emotionally, he was rootless. But to start with, he had to establish himself with a new name: Brady. He appeared to settle down quickly, working as a porter at the Smithfield market until he was arrested on January 10, 1956, for stealing lead seals. Borstal "training" took the form of two years being locked away with the criminal fraternity, learning some of the advanced tricks of the lock-picking trade.

His first stop was a camp of wooden huts at Hatfield, Yorkshire. At the end of his first year, however, he got drunk on home-brewed hooch and was transferred to the tighter security of a borstal in Hull, on the east coast. Here, he was interviewed by a psychiatrist, who rejected him as unsuitable for National Service.

Psychiatrists now say that, by the age of 17, Ian Brady was psychopathic. His personality had set into a hard, cold mould that was empty of all human feeling. But the inadequate state of psychiatric knowledge at the time meant that the personality tests to which the youth was subjected were incapable of predicting that he constituted a risk to society and was in urgent need of corrective therapy. Even today, medical science cannot offer a satisfactory explanation for the way in which Brady's personality began to disintegrate in his middle teens. All we can say is that the unique combination of genetic, social and environmental influences provided the necessary ingredients.

In retrospect, we can see the direction in which the formation of Brady's character was going. According to one confidential psychiatric report, written many years later:

"At the time of his sentence he felt that this was a time of deep crisis in his life and that in some way a decision had been made. He felt increasingly cut off from other people in the emotional sense – he could no longer feel concern for them or feel warmly towards them. He retained affection for his foster family.

"He found an affinity for literature of a sadistic nature and had sympathy with fascist ideology and Nazi practices. He says he was exhilarated by their loss of feeling, as it appeared as a liberation or freedom but at the same time he was distressed."

In captivity, society could have studied Brady carefully. By anticipating the kind of behaviour that could reasonably be expected of a psychopath, appropriate controls and remedial help could have been provided. This opportunity was lost, however, and – a generation later – the same criticism can be levelled at the way dangerous people are allowed to slip through the nets that are supposed to protect society from the mass killers of children.

Before his release from borstal, Brady carefully filed away a list of names of inmates whom he thought would be useful to him in his career as a big-time crook. He made sure that he had a contact in every major town in the north of England. He needed access to people who were experts in safe-breaking, or driving getaway cars. He returned to Manchester on November 14, 1957, armed with the knowledge of some slick tricks that would help him to get rich quick. But he was not yet ready to go into top-gear in his chosen profession. Brady had a restless mind that needed educating. He needed a philosophy that would give direction to his life. It was while he was in this suggestive frame of mind that he visited the public library at Longsight, soon after his return to Manchester. There, he borrowed the alluringly titled Crime and Punishment.

In 1865 Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881) wrote what was to become one of the great Russian classics. It was a story about Raskolnikov, a penniless student in Moscow who conceived a plan to get money: kill the old woman usurer who charged high rates of interest for the money she loaned to the needy.

Murder? "Listen," Raskolnikov told Sonia, "I wanted to become a Napoleon – that's why I killed the old woman. Well, do you understand now?"

Sonia did not fully understand the meaning of the words she heard. Was Raskolnikov really telling her that he had murdered an old woman? So Raskolnikov patiently explained:

"You see, what happened was that one day I asked myself this question: what if Napoleon, for instance, had been in my place and if he had not had a Toulon or an Egypt or the crossing of Mont Blanc to start his career with, but instead of all those splendid and monumental things, there had simply been some ridiculous old woman, the widow of some low-grade civil servant, who had, in addition, to be murdered to get the money from her box (for his career, of course). Well, would he have made up his mind to do it if there was no other way? Would he too have felt disgusted to do it because it was far from monumental and – and wicked, too? Well, let me tell you, I spent a long, long time worrying over that 'question', so that in the end I felt terribly ashamed when it occurred to me (quite suddenly, somehow) that he wouldn't have felt disgusted at all and that indeed it would never have occurred to him that it was not monumental. In fact, he would not have understood what there was to be so squeamish about. And if he had had no other alternative, he would have strangled her without the slightest hesitation, and done it thoroughly, too. Well, so I, too, hesitated no longer and – and murdered her – following the example of my authority. And that's exactly how it was. You think it's funny? Well, yes, the funny part about it, Sonia, is that that's exactly how it was."

For Ian Brady, the warped logic that Raskolnikov employed to justify murder was a perfect fit for his crippled personality. Here, in black and white, articulated by one of the greatest authors of all time, was the creed that washed away the lingering doubts about the morality of murder. Evocatively presented by the Russian master, the Napoleonic thesis was one of the last pieces to be fitted into the fatal jigsaw of experiences that shaped Ian Brady's behaviour.

Brady was experiencing what psychiatrists call "a profound affective change" of the sort that can be found in people suffering from schizophrenia. This means that he was rapidly losing the capacity for normal human emotions. He could not feel sorry for people; pain caused no anguish in his soul. He was, in his own mind, superior to those who allow their feelings to dictate their behaviour – feelings that prevent mere mortals from inflicting pain on others. He was now in the Napoleonic mould, and nothing – least of all common morality – could stop him. Kill, if necessary: there are no constraints on The Great Ones.

Both psychologically and socially, Ian Brady was marooned on an island of private emotions, the architect of fantastic deeds. He despised men who accepted self-imposed limits to their behaviour, limits which were ultimately dictated by the elites who manipulated people for their own ends. Morality, he learned from his study of Nazi philosophy, was relative; the victor decided what was acceptable behaviour, and the vanquished were not entitled to appeal for protection from universally valid principles of truth and justice.

Death was Ian Brady's constant companion. It lurked in his head, and it found its brutal expression in the backstreets, where he clubbed people to death. These were random acts of homicide which gave him no spiritual satisfaction. They were products of a deep torment, the result of a loss of self-control.

But he knew that, one day, he would convert his homicidal acts into deeds of monumental proportions. That would happen when he was ready to escape from the dark shadows of his mind and intrude on the real world. All the essential elements were in place for his venture into immortality. His character was deformed: there had been no paternal strong hand to pull him back from the abyss, no natural family to bond him to the warmth and security that a child needs. He became introspective in thought, secretive in behaviour, and Raskolnikov provided the philosophy that would one day enable him to match Napoleon himself.

And he had discovered his spiritual home. He was liberated from the torments in his soul by the open spaces of nature. He had moulded his character against the granite rocks of the Scottish highlands. It was on a trip to Glencoe, in Argyllshire, that the boy discovered what he perceived to be the mystical qualities of Rannoch Moor. The Face of Death lived here. The root of the word "moor" is generally held by scholars to be connected with the word meaning "to die". So the word was applied to dead or barren land, a perfect description of Rannoch Moor. The highly acidic waters, in pools and streams on plateaux generally between 1,200 feet and 2,200 feet above sea level, are poor in basic ions, especially calcium. This, felt Ian, was where he was free of the troubles of the world, where he could soothe his mind and escape the petty constraints of the society that had abandoned him at birth.


Excerpted from Brady and Hindley by Fred Harrison. Copyright © 1987 Fred Harrison. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

  • Cover Page
  • Introduction
  • Part One: Genesis
    • Chapter 1 The Psychopath
    • Chapter 2 The Street Fighter
    • Chapter 3 The Gorton Girls
    • Chapter 4 Folie à Deux
  • Part Two: Consecration
    • Chapter 5 The Dance
    • Chapter 6 The Death
    • Chapter 7 Myra’s Curse
    • Chapter 8 Hand of Fate
  • Part Three: The Cult
    • Chapter 9 Homicide as Ritual
    • Chapter 10 The Killing Creed
    • Chapter 11 The Missing Murder
    • Chapter 12 The Baptism
  • Part Four: Confession
    • Chapter 13 The Trial
    • Chapter 14 Spirits Apart
    • Chapter 15 Parable of Mektoub
    • Chapter 16 The Monster Cried
  • Image Gallery
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author
  • Copyright Page

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