Ian Brady, notorious British serial killer, dies at 79

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"Moors Murderers" shocked UK in mid-1960s

Brady's girlfriend, Myra Hindley, died in 2002

CNN  — 

Ian Brady, who was imprisoned for sexually abusing children and killing them with his girlfriend in the mid-1960s, has died at age 79, according to the UK’s Press Association and CNN affiliate ITV News.

In a statement, a Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust spokesman confirmed that a high-profile 79-year-old patient had died.

Brady and Myra Hindley were called the “Moors Murderers” because four of their victims’ bodies were buried on the moor outside Manchester. Hindley died in prison in 2002.

The brutality of the killings, the youth of the victims and the fact that Hindley was a woman shocked the United Kingdom for years.

A police search team looks for the body of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett on Saddleworth Moor.

“Nothing in criminal behavior before or since has penetrated my heart with quite the same paralyzing intensity,” said John Stalker, former deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester.

They were jailed in 1966. Brady was convicted of sexually abusing and killing John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17. Hindley was convicted in the death of Evans and Downey. In 1987 they confessed to two more child killings – Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12.

Bennett’s body was never found, but in 2012 authorities searched anew for the grave after receiving a tip that Brady might have given details of the burial spot to one of his longtime visitors.

The Guardian reported Brady was diagnosed as a psychopath in 1985 and moved to maximum security psychiatric hospital. He went on a “hunger strike” but was force-fed, the Guardian said.

CNN’s Spencer Feingold in Atlanta contributed to this report.