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UPDATE: Police say Moors Murderer has NOT revealed victim's burial place

But they are investigating the possibility that information could be contained in a letter written by Brady to one of his victim’s mothers.

Moors murderer Ian Brady
Moors murderer Ian Brady
Image: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Updated 8.25

POLICE IN ENGLAND are investigating the possibility that convicted murderer Ian Brady may have revealed where he buried one of his victims, 12-year-old Keith Bennett.

Greater Manchester detectives said in a statement that they received information at the end of last month that led them to believe that the 74-year-old gave details of the whereabouts of his victim’s body to one of his long-term visitors at the psychiatric hospital he is serving his life sentence in.

It has been claimed the details are contained in a letter written by Brady to Keith’s mother Winnie Johnson. He left instructions that the letter should not be opened until after his death.

A number of documents have been seized from an address in South Wales and a woman has been arrested.

The 49-year-old woman was detained on suspicion of preventing the lawful burial of a body. According to The Guardian, Brady’s legal advocate Jackie Powell is the woman being held by police. Citing sources, the report says she was detained for allegedly failing to reveal pertinent information. She remains in custody and searches of Ashworth hospital and a private address in south Wales continue.

Powell was appointed Brady’s legal advocate under the Mental Health Act in 1999.

Brady, and his accomplice Myra Hindley, kidnapped, tortured and killed five children between 1963 and 1965. The horrendous acts would become known as the Moors Murders. Both were handed down life sentences for the murders of three of the children – Lesley Ann Downey (10), John Kilbride (12) and Edward Evans (17).

The pair only admitted to killing 16-year-old Pauline Reade and 12-year-old Keith Bennett, whose body is the only one to never have been discovered, in 1987. They were never prosecuted for those crimes.

The 12-year-old disappeared on 16 June 1964 while on his way to his grandmother’s house in Longsight, Manchester.

After being jailed for life in 1966, Brady was declared criminally insane in 1985 and removed to the high-security Ashworth hospital on Merseyside. He has refused food for the past 12 years and has been fed through a tube.

Hindley, who admitted to driving the car used to take the children to the moors, was given a life sentence and died in prison in 2002. She was 60.

“The Moors murders cast a long and dark shadow over the history of our region but in 2009 we reluctantly concluded there was no longer an specific information to identify new search areas and the investigation to find Keith entered a dormant stage,” head of investigative review Martin Bottomley said this morning. ”However, we have always stressed this is a case that will never close.”

Bottomley added that he wanted to be “explicitly clear” that Ian Brady “has not revealed to police the location of Keith’s body”.

We are looking at the possibility, and at this stage it is only a possibility.

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The senior official asked for the media to respect the victim’s family and revealed that Keith’s mother Winnie Johnson, who has campaigned relentlessly for further searches for her son’s body, is very ill.

Full statement from Greater Manchester Police:

Greater Manchester Police is currently investigating allegations that Ian Brady may have disclosed the whereabouts of Keith Bennett’s body.

On 30 July 2012, the Force received information that led officers to believe that Ian Brady had recently given details of the location of Keith Bennett’s body to one of his long-time visitors.

It was claimed that Brady had written a letter to Keith’s mum Winnie Johnson that was not to be opened until after his death.

Officers in Greater Manchester Police’s Cold Case Unit have made inquiries to try to verify accuracy of this report and have since had extensive contact with both Ashworth Hospital and Keith’s close family.

As a result, warrants obtained under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act were executed at Ashworth Hospital and a private address in South Wales on Thursday 16 August 2012.

A 49-year old woman was arrested in South Wales on suspicion of preventing the burial of a body without lawful exercise and has been bailed pending further inquiries.

A number of documents were seized from the address in south Wales and are currently being examined.

Martin Bottomley, Head of Investigative Review of Greater Manchester Police’s Major and Cold Case Crime Unit, said: “The Moors murders cast a long and dark shadow over the history of our region but in 2009 we reluctantly concluded there was no longer any specific information to identify new search areas and the investigation to find Keith entered a dormant stage.

However, we have always stressed this is a case we will never close. We have been, and always will be, open to pursuing any new lines of inquiry that arise from significant scientific advances or credible and actionable information.

I want to be explicitly clear about this: Ian Brady has not revealed to police the location of Keith’s body.

What we are looking at is the possibility, and at this stage it is only a possibility, that he has written a letter to Keith’s mum Winnie Johnson which was not to be opened until after his death. We do not know if this is true or simply a ruse but we clearly have a duty to investigate such information on behalf of Keith’s family.

Since Keith was so cruelly taken away all those years ago, our thoughts have always been with his family as they try to come to terms with what happened. All they want is to finally be able to lay Keith to rest. What I would ask is that the media respect their privacy at this time. Winnie herself is very ill and continued speculation about this letter will only cause the family more upset.

I would ask that we are allowed to examine all the evidence we have recovered and determine whether or not this letter actually exists.

A mother’s campaign

Keith’s mother Winnie Johnson has spent years campaigning for renewed searches for her son’s body. In 2010, a privately-funded search began on Saddleworth Moor but nothing was turned up.

Last month, ahead of a planned tribunal into Brady’s application to be transferred to a Scottish prison and be allowed to die, the 78-year-old said that her only desire is to give her son a proper family burial.

The hearing was eventually postponed because Brady suffered a seizure.

More: Moors Murderer Ian Brady rushed to hospital>

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