Even among serial killers, Ian Brady is a particularly nasty specimen, who harboured a love for the Third Reich and brutally killed five young innocents over a period of a year around Manchester in an attempt to commit the “perfect murder”.
Born in Glasgow in 1938 to a single mother, Brady was adopted by another couple, and he had several run-ins with the law in his youth. After threatening his then-girlfriend with a flick knife, he was placed on probation on the condition that he live with his mother, by then in Manchester.
Three months later, he was sent to prison after being caught stealing from the fish market he worked in. He was said to have a short temper, and read books including Teach Yourself German and Mein Kampf.
In 1961, Hindley joined the company Brady was by that point working for after being released from prison, and her infatuation with him led her to be wrapped up in his delusions, she later said. By 1963, he was talking about orchestrating a murder, and by July 12 that year he had taken his first victim.
As well as Keith Bennett, he took the lives of Pauline Reade, 16, John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17. It was Evans’ death, on October 6, 1965, that would lead to Brady’s eventual capture.
That evening, he and Hindley had picked Evans up from Manchester Central train station and took him back to their home. Brady then sent Hindley to fetch her brother-in-law David Smith.
He later told police that after entering the house, he heard screams before entering the living room, where he saw Evans hacked into two pieces with Brady standing over him with a hatchet in his hand. He witnessed the final blow to the head.
After playing along with Brady and Hindley for fear of losing his own life, Smith phoned the police the next day. When police found Evans’ body in the spare room, they arrested Brady on suspicion of murder.
Brady and Hindley were both sentenced to life prison, which was made clear would see them never leave prison. Brady died of lung disease at Ashworth Hospital on May 15, 2017. An inquest found that he died of natural causes.