In the half-century since the crimes of Ian Brady and his accomplice Myra Hindley sickened all in Britain who learned of them, the relatives of their five victims have reached a resolution – a qualified one, it must be emphasised – with the recovery of bodies, some with the cooperation of the imprisoned pair, and burials and prayers for their lost children.
All except one family, that of Keith Bennett, murdered four days before his 12th birthday in 1964 and buried somewhere on Saddleworth Moor. In all the time since, his mother Winnie Johnson begged Brady to reveal his whereabouts, but she died earlier this week without getting the answer she lived for.
This documentary had three aspects to it. The first was the dignified, palpable, continuing pain of the victims’ relatives, waiting for Brady to die, while realising that chances of finding Keith would probably go with him. As one commented with heart-breaking irony, “We can’t beat it out of him.”
Meanwhile, experienced professionals tried their hardest to explain his actions, both during the time of the murders – building a bubble of a cult with Hindley – and ever since.
According to them, it all comes down to control, whether that involved Brady pouring excessive salt on his food, leaking information about Hindley’s complicity when it looked like she might get parole, to even pretending to help police search for Keith Bennett’s body on the moor when, one psychologist speculated, he was, in fact, enjoying his secret knowledge.