LONDON — Ian Brady, whose murders of five children in the company of his lover horrified Britons and were viewed by generations as the distillate of evil, died on Monday night at a high-security psychiatric hospital in Liverpool, England. He was 79.
Julie Crompton, a spokeswoman for the facility, Ashworth Hospital, confirmed his death there. No cause was given. The Associated Press reported that at a court hearing in February, lawyers said Mr. Brady had been bedridden for the last couple of years and that it was “fair to say” he was terminally ill with emphysema and other ailments.
His accomplice, Myra Hindley, died at 60 in a hospital in November 2002. Despite appeals for parole, she was never released from prison.
Mr. Brady, who went on a hunger strike in 1999 and was force-fed on the orders of judges who had ruled him mentally ill, never expressed remorse for the killings, some of them involving beatings, torture and sexual abuse. He had been held at the psychiatric hospital since 1985.
Jailed for life in 1966, the couple were known as the Moors Murderers, a headline writers’ sobriquet derived from their practice of burying their victims on Saddleworth Moor, a remote and hilly area near Manchester, in northwest England. The BBC once called them “British society’s benchmark for evil.”
At the time of their arrest, in 1965, only three bodies had been found. One murder in particular, that of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey, evoked rage and revulsion when it was discovered that the killers had made a tape-recording of her pleading for her life and photographed her naked, bound and gagged. Her body was found in a shallow grave with her clothes at her feet. The recording was played in court.
The pair preyed on unaccompanied young people from July 1963 to October 1965, abducting them near a dance hall, from an open market and from a fairground. Their trial judge, Fenton Atkinson, described Mr. Brady as “wicked beyond belief, without hope of redemption.”
Even from prison the couple exerted a strong fascination, she with her attempts to depict herself as a remorseful reborn Christian, he with his hunger strike, tirades against normal society and abiding demands for the right to euthanasia.
In 2001 Mr. Brady published a book about serial killers, titled “The Gates of Janus: Serial Killing and Its Analysis,” after a high court judge, to much protest from the relatives of the dead, lifted a ban on its publication.
Addressing readers in the book, Mr. Brady wrote: “You will presently discover that this work is not an apologia. Why should it? To whom should I apologize, and what difference would it make to anyone? You contain me till death in a concrete box that measures only eight by ten and you expect remorse as well? Remorse is a purely personal matter, not a circus performance.”
Ian Brady was born on Jan. 2, 1938, in a hardscrabble slum area of Glasgow, Scotland, called the Gorbals. His unmarried mother, Margaret Stewart, was a waitress, and his father, whom she never identified by name, was a local journalist who died shortly before Mr. Brady was born.
While he initially went by the surname Stewart, he changed it to Brady when he moved from Scotland to Manchester to live with his mother and a stepfather, Patrick Brady. As a child he was described by teachers as having above-average intelligence but as lazy and prone to misbehavior.
His teenage years were marked by a series of brushes with the law on charges of house breaking and burglary, leading to his detention both in prison and in young offenders’ facilities. There he developed a close and abiding interest in the works of Hitler and the Marquis de Sade.
Mr. Brady and Ms. Hindley met when they were both working at a small chemicals company in Manchester, she as a typist and he as a stock clerk. Ms. Hindley later depicted herself as having been in thrall to Mr. Brady, who, she said after they were sentenced, had beaten and blackmailed her.
Writing from prison in 2000, he disputed that version of their relationship. “Myra is a chameleon, who simply reflects whatever she believes will please the person she is addressing,” he wrote in a letter to Liverpool-based journalists, after seeing a BBC program in which Ms. Hindley said she had been “overwhelmed by Brady’s powerful personality.”
“She can kill in cold blood or rage,” Mr. Brady said. “In that respect we were an inexorable force.”
Their first-known victim was Pauline Reade, 16, whom the pair lured onto the moors and killed in July 1963. Four months later they abducted John Kilbride, 12, from a marketplace in the town of Ashton-under-Lyne near Manchester.
On the day after Christmas in 1964, they took Lesley Ann Downey from a fairground, sexually abused her and killed her. One year later, in 1965, they sought to implicate Ms. Hindley’s brother-in-law, David Smith, by making him watch as they murdered Edward Evans, 17, with an ax. But Mr. Smith reported them to the police, bringing their killing spree to an end.
At trial, they claimed innocence. Mr. Brady was found guilty of killing John Kilbride, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans. Ms. Hindley was found guilty of murdering Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans. She was also convicted of sheltering Mr. Brady after the killing of John Kilbride.
The couple later confessed to the murders of Pauline Reade, whose body was found on Saddleworth Moor, and Keith Bennett, 12, whose remains have never been found; Mr. Brady ignored calls by the boy’s family to reveal where the body was buried.
British newspapers reported his death with grim satisfaction. The Daily Mirror, in a headline filling much of its front page on Tuesday, said, “Burn in hell Brady.”
In the 1960s, Ian Brady, a slender 27-year-old stock clerk with sharp features and a pompadour, and his girlfriend, Myra Hindley, a 23-year-old typist with dyed blond hair, were suspected of killing five children. Grisly details of abduction, torture, beatings and sexual abuse were disclosed in court, turning the couple into the most hated in Britain.
Mr. Brady died on Monday at Ashworth Hospital, a high-security psychiatric hospital in Liverpool, England, at the age of 79. Here are details about the case and the couple’s victims.
Five children were reported missing, but the bodies of just three were found by the time the couple were arrested in 1965. The killings were called the Moors murders because of the couple’s practice of burying victims on the desolate Saddleworth Moor in northwestern England.
Britons were horrified by revelations that some of the children had been tortured and molested before they were killed, and that in one instance, the couple had made a tape recording of a victim pleading for her life.
How were they caught?
By his account, David Smith, a brother-in-law of Ms. Hindley, saw Mr. Brady kill Edward Evans, 17, and helped the couple clean the body. But out of fear, he then ran home and told his wife, Ms. Hindley’s younger sister, what had happened, and the two called the police.
The arrest was made a year after Parliament abolished capital punishment in Britain, so the worst sentence the couple could receive was life imprisonment. During their trial, they showed what psychologists called no capacity for empathy.
Who were the victims?
Edward Evans, 17
In his testimony, Mr. Brady said Mr. Smith had come to him with a letter from Mr. Brady’s landlord asking for money that he owed. He said Mr. Smith had suggested “rolling a queer,” a term describing a hate crime in which a gay man would be targeted, beaten and robbed. They drove to Manchester, in northwestern England, where they met Edward at a railway station and lured him to Mr. Brady’s house in Hyde, an industrial suburb of Manchester.
When Mr. Brady tried to rob him, Edward fought back. Mr. Smith began hitting him, Mr. Brady said, an accusation that Mr. Smith denied in his testimony. Rather, Mr. Smith said, he was alone in the kitchen when he heard a “very loud, shrill” scream and ran into the living room to find Mr. Brady, Ms. Hindley and “this lad lying half on and half off the couch.” Mr. Brady kept telling Edward to stop shouting, he said, and when the boy would not, Mr. Brady picked up a hatchet and struck him until he was quiet.
Mr. Brady then wrapped a cushion cover around the boy’s head, Mr. Smith said, tied a “piece of cord” around his neck and strangled him. Mr. Smith said Mr. Brady then looked up at Ms. Hindley and remarked: “That’s it. It’s the messiest yet.”
Mr. Smith said he helped cover up the body and clean “the mess” because he was “scared stiff” and wanted only to get out of the house “in one piece.” Later, they all had tea together. When Mr. Smith got back to his flat, he and his wife called the police.
Edward Evans’s body was found in Mr. Brady’s house in October 1965.
Lesley Ann Downey, 10
She was snatched from a fairground in December 1964. Her killing was the most notorious because of the details about her death that were presented in court. Pictures of Lesley, along with books on torture, were found in a suitcase belonging to the couple, according to prosecutors. The photographs showed “a young girl in the nude in various pornographic poses,” the prosecutor said. She had been gagged with a scarf but was still wearing her shoes and socks.
The most sensational and horrifying evidence, also found in the suitcase, was tape recordings the couple had made, apparently of Lesley’s murder. Jurors heard the voices of a man and a woman, and also of a girl, believed to be Lesley, crying out for her mother and asking God to help her before she was killed.
Her body was found in a shallow grave on Saddleworth Moor in October 1965.
John Kilbride, 12
He disappeared from a marketplace in Ashton-under-Lyne, a town near Manchester, when Ms. Hindley offered him a ride home and then made a detour to the moor, where Mr. Brady sexually assaulted him and strangled him with a piece of string in November 1963.
His badly decomposed body was found in October 1965, not far from Lesley’s grave.
Pauline Reade, 16
She was abducted on her way to a disco in 1963. Mr. Brady and Ms. Hindley confessed in 1985 to murdering her, and her body was found on Saddleworth Moor.
Keith Bennett, 12
He disappeared in June 1964 while on his way to his grandmother’s house in Longsight, a neighborhood in Manchester, after Ms. Hindley asked him for help loading boxes into her car. In 1985, Mr. Brady and Ms. Hindley confessed to his murder. A letter from Keith’s mother persuaded Ms. Hindley in 1986 to assist the police in searching for his burial site on the moor, but despite an intensive search by more than 100 police officers, his remains were never found.
What happened to Myra Hindley?
Ms. Hindley said that her role in the killings was to abduct the children and that she had not taken part in the murders or sexual assaults. She was charged in the murders of Edward Evans and Lesley Ann Downey, and as an accessory in the murder of John Kilbride.
In jail, she said Mr. Brady had beaten and blackmailed her and threatened to kill her relatives if she did not help him.
The trial judge, Fenton Atkinson, said more of the blame lay with Mr. Brady than with Ms. Hindley. “Though I believe that Brady is wicked beyond belief, without hope of redemption, I cannot feel the same is necessarily true of Hindley once she is removed from his influence,” he said.
She came up for parole several times, and Lord Longford, a Labour peer famed for championing social outcasts and unpopular causes, worked for her release, saying she was “a genuinely reformed person.”
“She may have done evil things, but which one of us haven’t?” he said.
But at least one woman imprisoned with Ms. Hindley called her evil and cunning, and the mother of one of the victims told reporters that she would kill Ms. Hindley if she were ever released.
Ms. Hindley remained in prison. She once said: “I know I could be out one week before someone assassinated me. But at least I would have had a week of freedom.”
She died in 2002 of respiratory failure at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St. Edmunds in eastern England, the Prison Service said.