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Myra Hindley: An icon of evil

Hindley: Britain's longest serving female prisoner
Hindley: Britain's longest serving female prisoner

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start quoteWhat I was involved in is etched into my heart and mind and my conscience will follow me to my dying dayend quote
-- Myra Hindley, 1997
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FACT BOX

1942: Myra Hindley born in a Manchester suburb, four years after Ian Brady.

1963: Pauline Reade, 16, disappears (July), followed by John Kilbride, 12 (Nov).

1964: Keith Bennett, 12, disappears (June) and then Lesley Ann Downey, 10, (Dec).

1965: Edward Evans, 17, murdered (Oct). Kilbride and Downey?s bodies found in shallow graves.

May 6 1966: Brady gets life for murders of Kilbride, Downey and Evans. Hindley gets life for killing Downey and Evans and shielding Brady after Kilbride's murder.

1974: Hindley given a year's sentence over a plot to escape from prison.

1978: She is attack in prison and  needs plastic surgery to rebuild her face.

1987: Hindley and Brady confess to murdering Reade and Bennett. Reade?s body is uncovered. Bennett?s body has never been found.

1990 -- 1998: Successive British home secretaries confirm ?life means life? for Hindley.

1994: Hindley says: "After 30 years in prison, I think I have paid my debt to society and atoned for my crimes. I ask people to judge me as I am now, and not as I was then."

2002: In November she is admitted to hospital after suspected heart attack. She dies on 15th.

BURY ST EDMUNDS, England -- Moors murderer Myra Hindley spent more than half her life in prison for crimes which shocked Britain and made her a national hate figure.

Hindley, 60, and her lover Ian Brady abducted, tortured and sexually abused five children during a two-year killing spree, abandoning the bodies on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester, north west England.

The body of one victim has never been found; another was recovered in 1987 after Hindley and Brady returned with police and prison guards to the moors to identify the burial site.

Hindley was jailed for life in 1966 and made several attempts to win her freedom -- one was going through the courts when she died on Friday 15 November, 2002 -- but no British home secretary was willing to free her.

During her 37 years in jail she insisted that Brady was responsible for the murders and she, terrified of him, had to go along with him.

Hindley met Brady in January 1961, when he was working as a stock clerk in a merchandising company and she had just joined as a new secretary. They became lovers a year later.

Hindley and Brady were jailed for the sexual abuse, torture and murder of three children -- John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17. In 1987 they confessed to two more child killings -- those of Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12.

Hindley, born on July 23, 1942 in Gorton, Manchester, and Brady were arrested after police discovered John's and Lesley's bodies in shallow graves on the moor.

The investigation had been triggered by a tip off from Hindley's brother-in-law, David Smith, who witnessed the murder of Edward Evans in October 1965.

Damning tape

On 27 April 1966, Hindley and Brady were brought to trial at Chester Assizes where they pleaded not guilty to all charges.

During the trial, a tape recording of Lesley screaming, crying and begging for her life was used as evidence. Police identified two adult voices threatening the girl as those belonging to Brady and Hindley.

Hindley always said that her role in the murders was to abduct the children, and that she did not take part in the killings or sex attacks.

But all appeals to release Hindley were met with great hostility.

When the then-Home Secretary Michael Howard confirmed Hindley's life tariff in 1997, she responded: "Nobody but myself can be fully aware of (my crimes') heinousness.

"What I was involved in is etched into my heart and mind and my conscience will follow me to my dying day."

Her supporters argued that crucial mitigating factors about Brady's influence over her were not taken into account at the time of her trial.

In 1998 she alleged she had been sadistically abused by Brady, who had threatened to kill her mother, grandmother and sister if she did not participate in the murders.

She said he took pornographic photographs of her to blackmail her with and claimed there were pictures which showed her body naked and bruised.

Campaigners declared her a reformed character, a devout Roman Catholic who had found her God, turned to education and who was suffering for her sins.

Brady, with whom she severed relations several years into their sentences, and who by contrast made no efforts to secure parole, seemed determined to thwart Hindley's own bid for freedom.

He wrote to ministers in 1997 claiming she was as committed to murder as he was and dismissing suggestions that she was an unwilling accomplice.

Hindley, who attained an honours degree in humanities during her time in prison, insisted that she no longer posed a risk to society.

But the public always remained unconvinced and Hindley died as she had lived for more than three decades -- as a prisoner.



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