Hindley, Myra (1942—)

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Hindley, Myra (1942—)

British serial killer who, with her boyfriend, was reponsible for the Moor Murders. Born in July 1942; had liaison with Ian Brady.

In 1966, not long after a courtroom had heard the taped cries of their victims, Myra Hindley and her boyfriend Ian Brady were convicted of killing two children and a young man. They were sentenced to life in prison. The homicides, dubbed the Moor Murders, were so named because the infamous pair buried their young prey on England's Saddleworth Moor.

Myra Hindley, who was born in July 1942, had grown up in the home of her grandmother and was extremely shy when she first met Brady in January of 1961, while working as a typist at Millwards, a chemical supply firm in Manchester. The two became lovers. Born in 1938, the illegitimate son of a Scottish waitress, Ian Brady had a reputation for torturing other children and animals as a child; he had also become fascinated with Nazism and sado-sexual pornography during a stint in prison. Soon, Hindley was involved in helping him procure children for prurient photographs.

Over the next three years, their crimes became increasingly more sinister. In November 1963, the couple sexually abused and killed 12-year-old John Kilbride; a year later, they murdered 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey . Both bodies were buried in shallow graves on Saddleworth Moor, just outside Manchester. On October 6, 1965, they abducted Edward Evans, a 17-year-old homosexual, and took him to Hindley's grandmother's house. Luring Hindley's brother-in-law

David Smith into observing them because they wanted an accomplice, they murdered Evans with an ax and dumped the body in an unused upstairs bedroom. Smith, whom they then released, quickly informed the police who apprehended the pair.

On May 6, 1966, Myra Hindley was convicted for her part in the three murders and sentenced to life imprisonment. When asked why she had gone along with Brady, she replied that she had done it for love. Twenty years later, in 1986, Hindley led authorities to two other graves, that of Keith Bennett, age 12, who had been killed on June 16, 1964, and Pauline Reade , age 16, who had died on July 12, 1963. There is speculation that several other children reported missing at the time of the murders may have also been victims of Hindley and Brady.

In Beyond Belief, Emlyn Williams wrote a novelized account of the Moor Murders, and Hindley's biography, Inside the Mind of a Murderess, attempts to explain her motivations. In 1997, Hindley resurfaced yet again in, of all places, London's Royal Academy, where a giant portrait of the notorious torture-killer was part of a "shock art" exhibit.

In 1999, when polled about the standard policy of releasing prisoners serving life sentences for murder after a certain period of time, 77% of English respondents were against the practice. This figure increased to 83% when it came to the early release of Hindley, who had by then served 31 years at Durham prison. Hindley's lawyers, however, are intent on overturning the 1999 ruling by Home Secretary Jack Straw that, in her case, a life sentence means life. Hindley's minimum sentence, or "tariff" for retribution and deterrence, had been set at 30 years by the Home Office in 1985. It was increased to "whole life" in 1990 by the then Home Secretary David Waddington.