New picture of Myra Hindley wearing ‘killing’ gloves could solve mystery of where Keith Bennett lies buried

New picture of Myra Hindley wearing ‘killing’ gloves could solve mystery of where Keith Bennett lies buried

Those shiny black gloves look chillingly immaculate – and the Moors
murderer later admitted to police she wore them when involved in a
killing or burying a body

Darren G Rae
Myra Hindley photographed mid sixties allegedly on Saddleworth Moor
Darkness: Shot was taken at night

Seated on a wall in the dead of night, her coat marked with dirt,
this is Myra Hindley in an image that could ­finally ­pinpoint a
murdered child’s lost body.
Those shiny black gloves that catch the light look chillingly immaculate.
Moors murderer Hindley later admitted to police she wore them when involved in a killing or burying a body.
It means the previously unseen ­photograph, taken by her partner-in-evil Ian Brady , could be a twisted memento of crimes that shocked Britain.

Missing: Murdered Keith Bennett, 12, has not been found

It was uncovered by researcher Darren Rae, who
believes it could solve the 50-year-old mystery of where victim Keith
Bennett lies buried on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester.
said: “There is no other example of a night photo of them. I’ve
analysed the picture with a lot of people, like ­detectives and forensic
“There is mud and dirt on her coat and she’s
wearing gloves. It has been said that she tended to wear gloves when she
was burying a victim or committing a murder .”

Moors Murderer Myra Hindley
Vile crimes: Hindley and Ian Brady tortured, raped and murdered children

Hindley would also use the excuse that she had lost a glove to entice the pair’s child victims into Brady’s car.
has tracked down the location of the Hindley picture and believes it
could be crucial in locating 12-year-old Keith, the third of five known
victims, who has never been found.
He said: “It was taken
at night at a specific location. Why would you be ­taking a picture of
someone sat on a wall in the dead of night?
“I believe it
can only mean one thing – a murder or a burial in a shallow grave. It
is a possibility that the victim could have been Keith.”
Read more:
Unseen picture reveals Moors murderers in chillingly mundane scene

Going by Hindley’s clothing and hairstyle, Darren estimates the photo was taken in 1964, the year Keith was snatched.
He has pinpointed three “hot spots”, each no bigger than a tennis court, where Keith’s remains could be.
Darren has shared his information with police but they will not carry out further searches without precise details.

16 year old Pauline Reade, who went missing around 30 years ago at the time of the Moors Murders
Victim: Pauline Reade

John Kilbride, 12, whose body was found in a shallow grave on Saddleworth Moors near Manchester in 1966
Victim: John Kilbride

Lesley-Ann Downey, 10, whose body was found in a shallow grave on Saddleworth Moors near Manchester in 1966
Victim: Lesley Ann Downey

Edward Evans, 17-year-old murder victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
Victim: Edward Evans

Between July 1963 and October 1965 depraved Brady and
Hindley killed Pauline Reade, 16, John Kilbride, 12, Keith Bennett,
Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17.
The pair were jailed for life and Hindley died in 2002 aged 60. Brady, 78, is still behind bars.

Moors murderer Ian Brady
Monster: Brady

Three bodies have been recovered from the moors but
Keith’s mum Winnie died in 2012 without knowing where her son lies.
Darren also believes at least two other bodies could still be buried.
Stalker, 76, the former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester,
has backed Darren’s view that Brady and Hindley could have murdered
He also thinks they began their killing spree by abducting and disposing of tramps.
Now Darren is looking for backers and helpers to search moors. He can be contacted at

  • Darren Rae’s book, Finding Keith: The Definitive Search For Keith Bennett, is published later this year.


Why my father David Astor was right to campaign for Myra Hindley

David Astor’s support of the Moors murderer fits in with his lifetime of fighting injustice

David Astor in his office with the first Observer Magazine in 1964.

David Astor in his office with the first Observer Magazine in 1964.
Photograph: David Newell Smith for the Observer
of the most surprising statements my father made, during his long life
as a newspaper editor, philanthropist and human rights campaigner, was
contained in a private letter to Myra Hindley,
the infamous “Moors murderer”. Writing in September 1990, he compared
her imprisonment to that of another friend, Nelson Mandela, who had
recently been set free after 27 years in jail. Mandela was fast becoming
the most revered person in the world, while Hindley was probably still
the most hated woman in Britain. She had by then served almost 25 years
of an indeterminate sentence with virtually no prospect of release.

Richard Astor


Richard Astor: ‘My father had come to believe that Hindley had not only
genuinely repented but that she had, in effect, become a political

In trying to understand what lay behind this apparently strange and
initially shocking comparison, I have come to realise that it was far
from being an aberration on my father’s part. In fact it exemplifies a
principle that underpinned much of the work for which he became widely

Although it would be easier to gloss over his friendship with Hindley
and his conviction that she had a right to go free – which many still
see as the folly of an unrealistic, ageing aristocrat – I feel that
would be an injustice both to him and to his strongly held beliefs.

What follows is a paragraph of advice from my father to Hindley which
some are bound to find distasteful, as even a few of his admirers have
done: “You are bound to find the next period of time very trying. I feel
it impertinent to offer you any advice on this. But I hope you will
allow me to say that you have already made an astounding achievement
which I think is seriously comparable to that of Nelson Mandela. His
case was easier than yours in that he started on high moral ground as a
freedom fighter and his problem was to maintain that attitude through
thick and thin. You began in a deeply confused situation and had to
establish your own moral basis and from that basis build yourself up.”

Mandela wrote that he had learned much of value through enduring
long, harsh years of imprisonment. My father came to believe that
something comparable could be said of Hindley, after many conversations
during frequent prison visits accompanied by my mother: that she was
only able to survive the last arguably illegal decade or so of her
imprisonment because she too had been able to increase the strength of
her character in adverse and challenging circumstances.

Like everyone else in the mid-1960s, my father was appalled by
Hindley’s horrific crimes when they were first reported – and so he
remained. But by 1990 he had come to believe that Hindley had not only
genuinely repented of her crimes but that she had, in effect, become a
political prisoner. As with Mandela, it was the decisions of politicians
rather than the judicial system that were keeping her in jail. Over the
next decade he campaigned vigorously but in vain for her release,
incurring some of the same public mockery and private vitriol previously
dealt to his old friend Frank Longford, whose place he had taken as
champion of her case.

As a teenager, Hindley was seduced by a sadistic psychopath, Ian
Brady, with whom she became infatuated. Between 1963 and 1965, she
helped him brutally murder five children. She stood beside him at their
trial, and even after they had been separated by incarceration found it
difficult to break free of his psychological hold. Throughout her years
in prison, no serious evidence was presented to suggest she remained a
danger to the public. The goalposts through which freedom is usually
attained were, in her case, repeatedly moved. She died in jail aged 60.
At the time of the trial and long afterwards, the tabloid papers stoked
hostility towards Hindley, and many factors contributed to their
vehemence. She and Brady were arrested just a month before the abolition
of capital punishment but they were only sentenced half-a-year later,
leaving a general impression that she had somehow cheated the gallows.

Myra Hindley on a hospital visit from Cookham Wood prison in Kent in 1994.


Myra Hindley on a hospital visit from Cookham Wood prison in Kent in 1994. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

That Hindley was a woman – a potential mother – and that the victims
were so young (between 10 and 17) also gave her crimes a particular
horror. Finally, during her parole hearing, she did not break down or
abase herself in the way many wanted to see, provoking a sense that she
had been insufficiently punished and allowing newspapers to fuel further
hatred among their readers. As a result, a series of home secretaries
of both main parties, who at that time were ultimately responsible for
overseeing the justice system, found it politically prudent to treat
Hindley’s case differently from those of other life-sentenced prisoners.
Her earliest potential release date was set at 25 years, then extended
to 30 years, and it was finally decided that she should remain in jail
for the rest of her life. Her incarceration therefore ended up lasting
an exceptional 37 years, and it was only her death, in 2002, that
stopped it from being even longer.

Hindley’s situation had changed from rightful punishment for heinous
crimes to wrongful imprisonment “by popular demand”. The effect was to
override a fundamental principle of our society, which states that only
judges (not newspapers, elected politicians or popular opinion) can
decide how long a person remains in prison. It was in defence of this
principle – a crucial safeguard against mob-rule –that my father acted
and argued during his support of Hindley’s case. By understanding this, I
came to share his disquiet and admire his decision to defend that
principle in the face of the most extreme and emotionally charged

He campaigned against many institutionalised injustices over the
course of his long life. But his experiences before and during the
second world war led him to become especially watchful against the easy
complacency and reflex hatred that had guaranteed its worst atrocities.
As a teenager in Germany in 1931, he had witnessed the success of Nazi
propaganda and the beginnings of Hitler’s rise to power. He had seen how
mass hatred can be invoked via demonisation.

The two types of campaign that he came to support most passionately
focused on exactly that type of orchestrated demonisation, whether of
groups or individuals, and on unjust imprisonment. Sometimes these
causes coincided, as they did when he helped to start Amnesty
International, and during his support of Mandela throughout his long
imprisonment. Nowadays, the idea of Mandela being characterised as
demonic is almost unthinkable, but when he was first imprisoned even
Amnesty refused to support him. Because Mandela advocated violence
against South Africa’s Apartheid regime – which in turn represented him
as a dangerous terrorist – he was a problematic person for Amnesty to
champion.While there is no analogy between either apartheid or Nazism
and the various British governments that imprisoned Hindley, I feel my
father was right to recognise the omnipresent potential for the
generation of mass hatred via demonisation. In his excellent new
biography, David Astor: A Life in Print, Jeremy Lewis quotes my
father as remaining “haunted by what Hitler showed to exist in all us
ordinary people”, and convinced that “it is always unwise to regard any
person or persons as demons”. Lewis concludes that it was Hindley’s
demonisation by the tabloid press that persuaded my father to take up
her cause.

From the frenzied perception of Hindley as some sort of monster it
was a short step to the illusion that our children would be safer if she
was kept locked up. The truth, however, is that an average of two
children die every week in the UK at the hands of their parents or
carers, compared to an average of five each year who are murdered by


Could it be that excessive focus on an infamous child killer
for 37 long years may have diverted attention from the urgent need to
tackle everyday cruelty to children in our communities and family homes?


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