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My Blog

Corresponding with a Serial Killer

Someone said to me recently, when I was talking about Moors Murderer Ian Brady and the letters we exchange, 'So, is he a sort of a friend?' It was a startling question which I pondered for several minutes. The answer, when it came, was even more startling. Yes. Not a friend in the truest sense where there is equality and an exchange of intimate thoughts, but he is someone I care about, someone I have an empathy for, despite the terrible things he has done.
When I first started writing my novel, Myra, Beyond Saddleworth, Myra Hindley was already dead, but Brady was (and is) still alive. I decided to write to him, thinking that if he replied, it would give me huge insight into the kind of person who becomes a serial killer. I didn't expect to believe everything he said, knew that he would try to re-shape history to suit himself, but I hoped I'd be able to negotiate my way through any ambiguities and misinformation. For some reason, I didn't really think that he would reply.
 
But one morning a letter arrived, the address written in minute, sloping handwriting that I didn't recognise. My heart started pounding like a racehorse on speed when I realised who it was from. There was a malign energy in the writing, a rage that suffused the writer's thoughts on politics, justice and the staff at Ashworth, the secure mental hospital for the criminally insane where he lives.
 
I took it along to show my brother, on our weekly Saturday coffee afternoon. He peered through his glasses at the tiny writing, absorbing the Brady rant, his contempt for what he called the Ashwitz Gestapo, his disdain for politicians and the blood they have on their hands from the countless wars they have promulgated throughout the last few decades. 'I think,' said Peter in his customary dry tones, 'that it ill becomes a serial killer to adopt the moral high ground.'
 
And yet when Brady said Bush and Blair bore the responsibility for more deaths than he did, I had to agree. When he said that powerful people were rarely held accountable as he had been, I had to agree. The fact that he had killed those children and left their bodies on the moors did not alter the fact that he was right, that he was a thinking person with a moral perspective, even if few people would agree with him on the subject of murder.
 
Even there he did have his own morality. He wasn't some animal, blindly driven by his urges. He was a man enthralled by ideas, by the thought that in a godless world man has to make his own laws, his own decisions, has to have the courage to follow where his desires lead him. In one of his letters he said to me of the novel, You'll never get the zeitgeist right.
 
But I understood the zeitgeist very well. In 1967, only a year after he was jailed for life for the Moors Murders, I was a university student, entranced by Antonin Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty, convinced that Nietszche's path of Dionysus would bring me to an understanding of life far deeper than any offered by following the path of convention. These were not contemporary texts, but they spoke to something in the times, provided ready-made formulas for the restless, iconoclastic spirit that was swelling like a tide in the young.
 
That year, the Doors came along. I was lost, obsessed by the rebellious psycho-drama with which they enchanted a generation, fired up by the moral imperative of Break On Through to the Other Side.
 
The fact is, I was lucky¾I didn't have many transgressive desires to act on. Drugs scared me, I didn't like the taste of drink (then!), and my sex life was limited to mooning after unattainable boys in the university library. Brady's sophisticated and perverted tastes were beyond anything I (or most people) could imagine.
 
Those tastes were his tragedy. He is a highly intelligent man who could have had a useful life, but instead he explored his warped creativity and in doing so destroyed the lives of others. To him, murder was a work of art, the murderer more truly alive than the rest of us.
 
Brady was not alone in highjacking the sixties dream of revolution and personal liberty for his own particular pleasures. The post-war generation was tired of the restraints of a post-war economy, tired of a post-war culture that tried to stuff all the excitement and displacement and change back into the toy-box. The feeling not only that you could but that you should act on your desires led to all sorts of aberrant outcomes that the idealists could never have envisaged: Charles Manson and his blood-soaked cult, the killing at Altamont, drugs and violence and violence and drugs.
 
For years after the Moors Murders, Ian Brady transcribed Braille books for the blind, difficult and tedious work which was a practical form of atonement for what he had done, but the families of his victims will never forgive him, nor will most members of society. Unlike Myra Hindley, he didn't expect them to.
 
There is a kind of dignity in that and I think that is why I feel for him. For the sake of a short period of heightened, twisted, ecstatic experience, he has gone on to have a life of misery and isolation. He told me he is alone, but not lonely. That is only one of the many things he says which I don't believe.

59 Comments to Corresponding with a Serial Killer:

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Alyson Dunlop on 05 March 2012 14:36
I've had the honour of hearing a snippet of "Myra, Beyond Saddleworth" and I knew then that this book should be, without a doubt, published. You had me on the edge of my seat. Just imagine, what if...Myra Hindley were alive and walking free amongst us. It made my blood suddenly run cold. Jean, you wield a forceful power with your incredible vision. You open up the reader's imagination exactly as a talented writer should. I can't wait to read the whole story.
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Erica Gregory on 08 June 2012 12:27
I need to talk to Jean with regards to new info on Ian Brady and the moors physical evidence , i believe she would want to know what we have to tell thanks


Gordon Robson on 08 July 2012 07:24
As I was reading today's piece in The Herald "My Friend Ian Brady" I was beginning to see your point about treating people like Brady with dignity. I am a Solicitor who deals with people who have committed dreadful acts against children. Then my 15 month old son ran into the room shouting to be lifted up. I was immediately filled with an empathy for the horror the parents of Brady's victims must have felt at the loss of their child. To know that someone has tortured, sexually abused and killed your special one must be a torture beyond imagination. We imprison to punish. Your actions in seeking to relieve some of that punishment is utterly unjustifiable and is a betrayal of those parents and the society which punishes these, the most horrendous crimes. I would say more but I need to go and hug my boy (and cry a little for those who cannot hug their children due to people like Brady) My Law Society has as its motto Nihil Humani Alienum. Today I find that very hard to follow or accept.
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Jean Rafferty on 08 July 2012 22:54
Dear Gordon, First of all, thank you very much for taking the time and trouble not just to read the article but to respond to it. I'm a little surprised by your response as you say you deal with people who have committed dreadful acts against children. That can surely only mean you work for their defence, in which case you would have to treat them with dignity, no matter what you feel about them. Why would you expect any less of a writer? Yes, it must be terrible to know your loved one has been tortured and murdered. I've seen the results of these things at close hand and I wouldn't wish them on anyone. For that reason it's all the more important that we try to understand why people do these things. I'm not sure where you have the idea that I'm asking to relieve Brady's punishment. Because I write to him? Because I treat him like a human being? He is living an isolated enough life. You would deny him human contact as well? That's cruel, I think. Nor do I agree, that we imprison to punish. We have many reasons for imprisoning people. In Ian Brady's case there is also containment - it would have been dangerous to release him. He tells me he is not the same man he was before and I believe him. But I'm not sure I'd take the risk of releasing him. I like your Law Society's motto and think you should stick with it. It's a fine one. With best wishes, Jean


Gordon Robson on 09 July 2012 10:15
Jean, I have acted both for the defence and, in a sense, for the prosecution (I was a Reporter to the Children's Panel - raising cases in the Sheriff Court against abusers). Of course we treat people with dignity and in accordance with their human rights - but we don't need to go any further. By sending him xmas presents, cards, photos you diminish his punishment. By corresponding with him you allow him further control - a control that Brady thrives on. I don't deny him human contact but I question your motives in that contact. How can you possibly deny that we imprison to punish? There are a number of reasons for imprisonment - punishment, containment and as an example to others. Every single client of mine who has been imprisoned views it as a punishment - as does the vast majority of society. I do my best to stick with our motto but cases like Brady's makes that very hard some days.
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Jean Rafferty on 09 July 2012 11:49
Gordon, I don't deny that we imprison to punish. Where did you get that idea? To me imprisonment, depriving someone of their freedom, is the most terrible punishment. But I notice you don't include rehabilitation in your list of reasons for imprisoning people. I'd have thought it was pretty important, particularly with people who've done such awful things. And treating them like human beings is a tiny step towards that. Anyway, I am not Bradys jailer. I am simply one person trying to communicate with another in as decent and kind a way as possible. All best, Jean


Gordon Robson on 09 July 2012 13:59
Where did I get the idea? From your last post - "Nor do I agree, that we imprison to punish". Yes rehabilitation is part of the reason for imprisonment but that clearly isn't the case with Brady.
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Jean Rafferty on 10 July 2012 01:15
Sorry, Gordon. I missed out 'only.' I think it was perfectly clear fron the context, as I was talking about the containment issue. Am not sure why Brady would be uniquely disqualified from rehabilitation. Perhaps you could expand on this? All best, Jean


Alan Bennett on 09 July 2012 18:25
The simple fact is that you get some sort of buzz from corresponding with Brady. You feed his sick ego and probably your own as well. You are just another of the many strange and unfeeling people that really have no idea about the years he has spent taunting the victims families. He found it very funny that the police never found the body of Pauline Reade in the original moors search despite being so close to her body. I am presuming here you do know the history of the searches of the moor and the way Brady acted during those searches. Perhaps it is wrong of me to think you may have any real idea of the events and Brady's sick and disgusting reactions to them. You do not seem capable of a thought for anybody but the man responsible for the deaths of those innocent youngsters. Brady should be as isolated as possible, he should be allowed to think of what he has done and of the victim that has not been found yet. People like you do nothing but allow him to express his warped thoughts and ideas and to continue living in his little fantasy world, ruled over by him and inhabited by his very strange 'friends.' You are a mouthpiece for this man(?) and nothing more. I can only hope that you will realise these facts one day and maybe have some thought and compassion for people who deserve it rather than going out of your way to try and make the life of somebody like Brady more comfortable. I can see from your replies to the last person that made a comment that you really just tie yourself in knots when trying to justify your actions. Just like the rest of Brady's 'friends' often do.
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Jean Rafferty on 10 July 2012 01:35
Dear Mr Bennett, I'm assuming you are the brother of Keith Bennett, and for that reason do not wish to upset you further. You have suffered the loss of a much loved brother in the most traumatic circumstances, a pain you have carried with you most of your life. My heart goes out to you. I have had quite a lot of first hand experience of sudden death, suicide and murder, and wouldn't wish it on anyone. The effects go deep into people's lives and affect their ability to be happy, the simplest and most desirable way of living. However, I can't allow you to abuse me like this. You know nothing about me and I would doubt whether you have read the article in question as it wasn't on the website until a few hours ago. I also very much doubt whether you've read my novel, and indeed, wouldn't expect you to. Why would you put yourself through that? I corresponded with Ian Brady in a genuine attempt to understand his and Myra Hindley's actions. I understand your partner has written a biography of Hindley (excellent, by the way) so am a bit startled that you do not understand a writer's spirit of genuine enquiry. In her book she filters the facts through her mind and presents them as she perceives them. I'm doing the same, but in fiction. It's not simple entertainment, it's not getting off on the idea of killing, it's an honest enquiry into people whose behaviour most of us will never understand. Even now, after years of writing and researching, there is no simple explanation. But I hope people will think about it.That's all. If you have a look at the rest of this website,you will see I am very much concerned about the victims of crime, which is what impelled me to write in the first place. I am not Brady's mouthpiece but I don't write him off as a human being. I know that's what you want to do to someone who's hurt you and your family so badly, but as a writer I am desperate to understand. I know my book probably doesn't come close to helping people understand but it's an honest attempt to do something pretty difficult,so please don't dismiss it as sick or egotistical. It is neither of those things. With best wishes, Jean Rafferty


Alan Bennett on 10 July 2012 16:58
I read the article in question on Sunday so you can have no further doubt about that. I would not comment on something I had not seen or experienced for myself. Looking at your website did enlighten me on your past work, just as it enlightened me on how the distinction between the victims and the perpetrators seemed to get very blurred in the case of Ian Brady. I could suggest that you think about the actions of Ian Brady and the way he has acted since he was imprisoned. The lies, the taunts, the conning and self-pity is endless....now that would be something to have a real feeling and understanding about. This is not about your book or any other book. It is about Brady and the way he collects 'friends' without any of them knowing the real story behind his actions, or lack of them when it comes to thinking about anybody but himself. You are not alone and my anger is not reserved for any particular person that has pity for him or claim to be a 'friend' of his. You will carry on trying to make his life a little more comfortable just as the rest of his friends will. I will continue to try and make it plain to those friends that they encourage his appaling and disgusting behaviour and it doing so continue to help him avoid the reality of what he has done, which in turn keeps him in his fantasy world and makes it easier for him to ignore the people that want to finally bring an end to this case. There is still one victim to be found and returned to his family. Anything that gets in the way of that aim or hampers the search, which is one consequence of all this pity for Brady no matter how it is disguised, is deserving of some degree of anger, disgust and disbelief.
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Jean Rafferty on 11 July 2012 11:41
Thank you for saying this is not personal. Mr Bennett. I know you may not believe it, but we are on the same side. I would like nothing better than for your brother's body to be found, though I fear that you will never really have what they call closure. The crime is too awful for that. You have my best wishes, particularly at this stressful time for you when I know your mother is seriously ill. Am thinking of you, and of her. Jean


sam todd on 10 July 2012 23:35
I have just saw you on Scotland tonight. Your interview has left me speechless. How can you say give him the benefit of the doubt He's confessed. He is a MONSTER Brady should not have any "friends". Why does he deserve it?? You disgust me
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Jean Rafferty on 11 July 2012 11:44
If you had listened properly to the interview, you would have realised that I was not saying Brady should have the benefit of the doubt about his crimes. As you say, he has confessed and they are utterly terrible. But the word 'monster' is not one I would ever apply to a fellow human being. People do monstrous things. They are not monsters.


Louise on 11 July 2012 08:20
'My friend Ian Brady'- do you feel this was a tasteful way to promote your book? I feel that you, Ms Rafferty fit in a category with Dr Cowley and Christina Hart...people who seek £££'s and find the macabre friendships with IB an easy way to achieve it.
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Jean Rafferty on 11 July 2012 11:46
If I were seeking £££s I would not have spent five years writing and researching it and then another two trying to find an agent and publisher.


TLC on 11 July 2012 08:27
You are very misguided Ms. Rafferty, why don't you befriend the victims families. Brady is a psychopath & does not deserve your understanding. Why don't you listen to the tapes he & Hindley made? That would perhaps change your mind. As for the comments you made about the way Hindley looked "would she have been looked at differently", the look was of the time & nothing out of the ordinary. She also used people - the misguided Lord Longford was an example of that. I believe you are only using this site to promote your book - which I would not buy or read. Enough with advertising these killers.
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Jean Rafferty on 11 July 2012 11:51
I would be very happy to be a friend of the victims' families as I wish them nothing but the best and hope very much that Keith Bennett's family have the closure of his body being found. I lived through that time and can tell you that Myra Hindley looked extraordinary in that mugshot. If you look at pictures of her later in life, then she did look ordinary. Not at the time the mugshot was taken. And indeed she did use people, as I show in my novel. You are free to read it or not. But I can tell you it is not an advertisement for killers, but an exploration of how they come to do the things they do.


Gordon Robson on 12 July 2012 07:20
This is a transcript of the tape made of Lesley Ann Downey. Read and it and then tell me you want to diminish this man's punishment. That you want to provide him with human contact; that he deserves to be sent christmas presents. http://schadenfreudeuk.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/lesley-ann-downey-tape-transcript.html
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Jean Rafferty on 21 August 2012 22:50
Dear Mr Robson, I have just found this comment - have not been on my website for some time. Do you really think I could have written anything about Brady and Hindley without looking at the trsnscript? Ian Brady was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was not sentenced to solitary confinement for life. Jean Rafferty


Graham Smith on 24 July 2012 10:23
hi jean, my gran went to all the trials in liverpool especially the murders, mum used to call me mr moto, its my inquiring mind, brady or stewart is a capricorn, the goat, always butting trees, also badly brought up, a butchers runner, like neilson another butcher, must have seen the trade,not good learning for addictive and pathological minds. hindley on the cusp with cancer and leo, the capricorn always lends to the cancarian, she was taught to fight back, his eyes are wide apart and his eyes float showing pathological signs, just like anything on this earth that is strange, look at hitlers staring eyes and all these bye products of evoloution, he is just another, the victims are the ones to think of and their terrible demises; his punishment on this earth will be different from the next life, maybe he seeks the unknown pain beyond, if he wants a scottish prison and a quicker death, it would save the tax payer; his genes are old but his patholgy is still the same, note the internet only show images of a young man, bet he looks pretty grim now, theface of dorian gray, millions spent on this man, netter spent taking him for more trips to his murder and burial sites to find this poor lads remains and give peace to his mother; it begs logic of people stalking youngsters for these aims, but logic does not enter their worlds only evil and we all know that evil has no logic. good luck with your book, yours graham.
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Jean Rafferty on 21 August 2012 22:58
Dear Graham, Thank you very much for your comments. I don't know much about astrological signs, but Brady and Hindley certainly recognised something unusual in each other. I understand from a friend who's a former psychiatric nurse that psychopaths have what he calls 'remarkable antennae.' They can sense people's weaknesses, which is how they are able to manipulate others. Just to clear up one thing, Brady doesn't want to go to a Scottish prison. He told me this himself and then released a statement through his lawyer. He just wants to go to any prison, so that he will no longer be force fed. Thank you very much for your good wishes. Much appreciated. All best, Jean


Barry on 19 August 2012 18:46
Hello, I would just like to say that I feel many on this comment section have hugely misunderstood Miss Rafferty's work/objectives. To Jean, I totally agree that we need to stop silly, tabloidy labels such as 'monster' when describing people. Everything in this world can be explained by definition and as a society aspiring for truth, liberty etc, we need to aspire to explain WHY things happen. When we merely apply labels to individuals such as Ian Brady or Ted Bundy or whomever, we dehumanise them, their actions and to an extent their victims.I would rather we understood WHY people do certain things so that we can help PREVENT these horrors from happening again.I'll illustrate my point: many refer to Hitler as demoniacally possessed. "Hitler was Satanic", "Hitler and the Third Reich channel the devil at Aushwitz".I understand why people say those things as the extent of evil actions in this world are so abhorrent to most people it forces us to explain them but sadly many of our explanations rely on outdated notions of 'good and evil'. It's an uncomfortable topic but one which needs the REAL reasons explained. In this case, invoking 'demons' to explain such an event is pure silliness and doesn't help humanity at all. I also don't think the heading 'My friend Ian Brady' is not distasteful. Ian Brady committed such heinous crimes against the most vulnerable in society: kids. And he got caught and is being punished as per the law. And RIGHTLY so! But Ian Brady, as is the case of any HUMAN BEING, is far more complex than what the label 'monster' suggests. In defence of Jean, I would suggest that communicating with Ian Brady doesn't diminish his crime or punishment. Jean already laid out her motives: to understand why people do such horrible things and accordingly, she researched it. Further, Brady will be in prison until he takes his last breath here on earth. He is cut off from society so that he can't cause any more harm. He has a very basic life. He lacks the freedoms most of us value and have as part of our lives. How does communicating with Brady, gleaning understanding about him and his actions take away from that? Surely, it can be of benefit to society? But I digress. Regards.
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Jean Rafferty on 21 August 2012 23:10
Dear Barry, Thank you very much for another long comment. I really appreciate your interest. So many people dismiss my work out of hand that it's good to have someone support it. I agree that the old definitions of good and evil don't come close to the reality of atrocities like the Moors Murders and Auschwitz. I'm not sure we'll ever understand why, but we do have to look at them clearly and not just file them away as things done by some species other than ourselves. As I've said to Mr Robson, Brady was sentenced to life imprisonment, not solitary confinement for life. I agree with you - he has been deprived of all freedoms. To deny him of human contact would be what the lawyers call 'cruel and inhuman punishment' and therefore not acceptable in a civilised society. Thank you for your understanding and your interest. With best wishes, Jean


Jean Rafferty on 21 August 2012 23:41
Dear Emma, The word 'friend' is a curious one, isn't it? It covers many types of relationship. You're quite right, that I have never met Ian Brady and that the 'friendship' started as a purely professional one, but I have come to understand him much more than I would have had I just settled for reading books about him. You ask about writing to him yourself. He is seriously ill and may not have long to live, I gather from the Sunday Times anyway. If he does recover, then you should remember the 'quid pro quo.' You need to be able to offer him something he wants. In my case he asked me for photos of places he had lived in Glasgow. Many of them had been knocked down, so there was little for him to recognise. I suspect he is also well disposed towards fellow Scots. Yes, I agree, it would be nigh on impossible to feel anything but hatred for Brady if you were the family of one of his victims. I notice Terry West, Lesley Ann Downey's brother, had the word 'HATE' tattooed on his knuckles. It must go very deep. It must be very difficult for Allan Bennett, too. I suspect that the media won't be so interested now that his mother has died. There's something archetypal about a mother looking for her dead son. A brother looking won't have the same power for them, which is terrible for Mr Bennett. It's a terrible thing to lose a brother, as I know myself. You know, my belief that everyone should be treated like a human being and with dignity is more than just professional practice. It's the core of my work and my beliefs. No, we should never forget what Ian Brady has done, but we should also recognise that he is more than the sum of the murders. He's a highly intelligent man and I just wish he had chosen a better way to use his gifts. Someone recently wrote that now that he's nearing the end of his life he will have to contemplate the fact that most people wish he had never lived. That must indeed be a terrible thought to take with you. Thank you for contributing your thoughts. Much appreciated, Jean


Emma on 21 August 2012 21:30
To some extent I agree with Barry; maybe Jean's objectives have been misunderstood. When she refers to Ian Brady as a friend it is not as if they are bosom buddies; after all she never met him !But on the other hand it is all too easy for Barry to say that the word 'monster' dehumanises Brady. And if we had been in the same situation as Alan Bennett etc we would be calling Brady a monster not to mention other names. I would argue that it is perhaps too convienient and it is a great deal more complicated than that. I have often thought about writing to Ian Brady to understand him, his motives. What do you think of this Jean? But I have no intention of defending him nor do I want my intentions to be misunderstood . What happened 50 years ago was horrendous - evil and heinous. And it can never be forgotten. Nor should it be. Sadly we can not undo what has been done. But we all have a duty to ensure that such a thing never happens again. And to do so we can only do this by writing to such people, to understand them - their childhoods as well etc. If we are aware of abnormal signs and behaviour in childhood then maybe there is a better chance of preventing such horrific behaviour in later life. And yes Jean I believe that you are on the same side - I don't doubt for a moment that you have sympathy for the victims. What Alan Bennett is going through and has been suffering is pure hell -- when Ian won't even say where the body is! As for the tape of Lesley-Ann - I don't see how her relatives can forgive.. I know I couldn't. And yes Ian Brady is punished and still being punished to this day. He will never walk free. He can't travel - go to the cinema , go shopping, go out clubbing etc like we do or get married and have children, go to university etc. And rightly so. Lastly I don't see how sending him christmas cards and presents etc diminshes his punishment in any way - they won't bring him freedom nor will they improve his health - i believe he has cataracts and a spinal disease. There is nothing in the prison regulations to say he can't have contact with the outside world. As for Jean saying that Ian should be treated like a human being and with dignity - I am sure this is nothing more than a professional attitude she has towards all her acquaintances. It is not as if she is hugging him! In conclusion - let's all do our best to ensure that there will be no more Lesley-Anns or Keith Bennetts etc.
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Emma on 22 August 2012 10:57
Hi Jean thanks for writing back so quick. I would really like to write to him but I am afraid of him writing his address on the back of the letter as I don't really want people to know that I am writing to one of the most hated men in Britain even though I don't live in the Uk. Also I know it is repulsive to Alan Bennett and the other families to hear Ian Brady being shown kindness but who knows? Maybe one day he might open up and reveal the truth. Certainly depriving him of human contact, dignity and calling him a monster will only make a bad situation even worse. I am not defending him, I am only saying Keith Bennett's body here is at stake and it seems one has to tread carefully. Like you I try to see good in every human being although I admit it can be very difficult. Lastly I feel to some extent his own society is to blame for Ian Brady, when I say this I mean that his workmates, mother, adopted family, employer, school mates even Myra Hindley and her own family must have seen that there was something radically wrong with him and ignored all warning signals. If he had been treated earlier would this have prevented the killings? Who knows. I cannot find much about his childhood on the net.
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Jean Rafferty on 23 August 2012 22:38
Dear Barry, You're obviously very interested in the morality of how we treat people like Ian Brady, as I am myself.I agree totally that we must behave more correctly and generously than murderers do. It appals me that in the US, killers are punished by being killed. They can dress it up all they like with moral and social justifications but that's the fact and I find it unforgivable. Not everyone has the desire for vengeance that is associated with some of the families of the Moors Murder victims. You may remember Gordon Wilson, whose daughter Marie was killed in the Enniskillen bombing. We're not all religious, as he was, but I think his lack of hatred was an example to anyone. I do understand that Brady and Hindley killed in a far more personal way than the bombers, so it's understandable that these families have an absolutely visceral reaction. The rest of us should try to find a more rational response. I wish I knew what did shape Ian Brady. He himself refuses to blame his childhood, though he was illegitimate, which held a stigma in those days. Never knowing your father has a huge effect on people, I think. He lived with a foster family and says they were very good to him. His mother visited him and always brought presents, so materially he had more than some children. I've read nothing which suggests he had a traumatic childhood, but he certainly had already started to act in a cruel fashion, torturing and killing a cat, mocking a disabled classmate. But then I vividly remember John Lennon mocking some disabled people and he went on to write 'Imagine.' Human beings are not simple. Thanks again for your interest, Barry. All best, Jean


Jean Rafferty on 23 August 2012 22:41
Emma, thanks for your comments. You'll see a little more information on Brady's childhood in my answer to Barry. All best, Jean


Jean Rafferty on 02 October 2012 22:47
Emma, I think I've wiped out one of your comments by mistake. Am so sorry. It's a while since I've been on the website and I pressed the wrong key. I'm sorry I haven't replied to your last posting before this. Because I deleted it am not entirely sure I'll be able to answer all your points but I'll try to do some of them. First of all, I've never heard any suggestion of head injury to Ian Brady, nor of child abuse of any kind. He himself has said quite clearly to me in his letters that you can't blame his acts on his childhood. People are always searching for a neurological or physical explanation for acts such as the Moors Murders, but I suspect in many cases there is no one answer. There are too many vicious crimes reported daily for us to consider Brady someone different from the rest of us. It would be more comfortable if all the people who did such things had something wrong with them, but I suspect that's not the case. With best wishes, Jean


cassandra on 22 October 2013 06:57
I have read all of the books on the moors murders to find the answer to a single question and that is to myra how? There are some of us that have obsessions in love and myra was so afraid of rejection bt ian that she truly did anything to keep him. I beleive he was planning to be rid of her as she was too much his willing slave and hence the grooming of david smith. I was adopted and fully aware that I did not belong and this was despite being adopted into a good family and brady felt the same. I have also a son who became a criminal and the signs were there but the authorities were useless so even if bradys familys knew at all they would have been helpless. I dont think your using actual real references in your book jean was necessary perhaps you should have recreated some of your content in more of a fictional sense but I applaud your work it was brave.


Barry on 22 August 2012 21:24
@Emma, When I say applying 'terms' such as 'monster' to Ian Brady 'dehumanises' him, I'm not saying it in defence of him. Truly, from the pit of my soul, my heart aches for the victims. What I meant was that rather than make Brady a caricature of evil, we should understand how a human being, any human being, comes to be as evil as he was. And we should understand it not for his gratification but so we can be better than that evil and help stop this scourge of evil in society. And yes, if I were in the place of the victims' families I would feel an anger that is by definition incomprehensible to me right now. And I'd probably not think the way I do. Absolutely true. Off topic slightly but still related, the reason I don't support the death penalty is that whatever atrocity a person has done, there can never be anything more premeditated than a state/country killing a person. And to me, this manifests negative consequences within society. Evil begets evil. So, when Miss Rafferty says we should treat Brady with dignity, I get what she means. It means as a society we are being better than he is. He means we are aligning our actions with truth. Mr Brady will forever lack his freedom and will have to deal with his conscience and when his time comes, he will have to meet his maker. Also, I agree with your quip that society helped create Brady. Excellent point. In fact, without getting too deep, our environments do shape us: families, communities, countries, media etc. And during the 20th century, new phenomena started appearing whereby human behaviour started to become demonstrably worse in its character. Basically, human egos grew beyond the confines of the constructs they used to find solace in hence why such degradation started to become normal and such beings as Brady exist.
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Emma on 23 August 2012 20:15
Barry, It is interesting that you argue that when we treat Ian Brady with dignity we are better than him. I must confess that I never really thought of it that way. But you are right,by doing so we are not stooping to his level and degrading ourselves. I guess my logic in the past was people like Ian Brady, Ted Bundy had opted out of the human race by means of their actions but at the end of the day biologically, anthropologically or whatever scientific term you wish to use Ian Brady is still part of the human race like it or not. Oh I don't doubt for a moment that you feel pity for the victims. Yes - Ian Brady will have to meet his maker one day as will we all. Death is the one thing in life of which we can all be certain of. As for a conscience many will ask, does he have one? I know I am going off on a tangent here. Lastly we do need to understand what created such evil in the first place. There is not much on his childhood, as far as I can see he does not seem to have been abused or bullied like so many other serial killers but maybe there are other readers who would know better than me on this point.


Alice on 02 October 2012 20:15
Your recent media presence is obviously publicity for your new book, and it is sickening. Tell us would you be sending xmas gifts/ befriending someone that raped tortured and killed your child? We should be giving any kindness, respect and publicity (if wanted) to the families. Shame on you.
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Jean Rafferty on 02 October 2012 22:54
Jean Rafferty on 02/10/2012 22:19 You're entitled to your opinion, though for someone who supposedly champions the cause of kindness you express yourself in a very aggressive and unkind way. I can't imagine any of the victims' families would welcome any approach from me, though I feel for them, as anyone would.


Emma on 04 October 2012 18:48
Alice, I am sure she does show kindness and respect to the families. Jean is a writer and that means understanding all sides of a sitatuion and being professional. And as someone said somewhere along the line (probably myself or Barry I can't remember who) if we were in the victims families' position of course we would not be advocating kindness etc. It is much easier to be professional, show humanity to Ian Brady because he did not damage her family or ours for that matter. And forgive me for saying this, but the crimes happened almost 50 years ago. The man is being punished as it is and he will have to face his maker when the time comes.


Jean Rafferty on 02 October 2012 22:19
You're entitled to your opinion, though for someone who supposedly champions the cause of kindness you express yourself in a very aggressive and unkind way. I can't imagine any of the victims' families would welcome any approach from me, though I feel for them, as anyone would.
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Jean Rafferty on 08 October 2012 13:59
Thank you, Emma. I can tell from both you and Barry's comments that you're kind, understanding people. The support is much appreciated. All best, Jean
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Richard W Clark on 19 October 2012 05:58
Sir, I am not as intellegent or as skilled in writing as you. I normally would'nt dare try and debate a person as smart as you. But I must ask, why you feel the need to try and understand how an evil person thinks? People have free will. "He" used his free will to torcher, rape, and kill. He enjoyed the power/control it gave "him". I will not honor "him" by typing his name. I have no respect for "him" as you do because he's a "fellow human being". Treating a fellow human being with respect is called for when the respect has been earned Like it or not, evil human beings exist. They walk the earth right now. They enjoy the kill. It is that simple. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord"! You see, even the Lord knows evil walks amongst us. He's got it figured out. You've spent seven years and still cant figure it out? This guy was no friend or enemy of yours. You seek-ed him out. Now your feeding his thirst. Weird! Imagine if that seven years was spent helping the families find Keith's body. You've spent seven years of your life thinking about "him" for no profit! Now that is interesting. Anyone of those kids could have been the next Einstein, found a cure for cancer, or could of been so success-full their families would never have to work again. Hundreds of lives have been affected by "him". Generations of families will be affected by "him". You find him interesting because he's a fellow human being? Really? Rehabilitation? Really? One must want to change to be rehabilitated. "He" is happy being evil. No rehabilitating necessary. Lets spend our time helping our fellow human beings that want and deserves our help. Especially if its volunteer work as you would like us to believe. Comparing hunting, raping, torchering, and killing children to a war that is against people that indeed hunt and kill children is outrageous! Here are some more fellow human beings you may want to try and figure out. I'm sure the parents will appreciate all the work you do! - Little girl cornered and shot in the head: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9154350/Toulouse-shooting-little-girl-cornered-in-school-and-shot-in-head.html - Girl 7, shot 6 times: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20071205/METRO/712050396 - 6 year old girl gunned down: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/03/17/young-girl-shot-in-little-village/ - Children under attack in Pakistan and Afghanistan 14-year-old girl shot in head and neck: http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/19-Oct-2012/children-under-attack-in-pakistan-afghanistan - Woman shot 9 times as men cheered. http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/08/world/asia/afghanistan-public-execution/index.html Plenty of fellow human beings for you to spend the next seven years volunteering to figuring out. Good luck in your volunteer work. You must be so proud of yourself.
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Kate on 08 November 2012 12:21
Hello Jean. Whilst I appreciate that you can write, I would just like to ask a question out of pure curiosity; do you have any children? I am guessing not, but I would be very surprised if you do. I agree with the man who initially exposed this case, David Smith. Brady is "given an aura that he does not deserve." He is a sadistic, child murdering pedophile, and ultimately, regardless of any intelligence; a coward. You say you do not believe all he says, neither do I, particularly the bit about his regard for murder as a work of art. The type of anger he exhibits is no different than a child having a tantrum, and without sexual gratification there would be no reason to seek such fuel. He may have a mind who has observed himself and his actions in a way that may justify it to someone who hasn't witnessed the horror, though he quite obviously is "an animal, seeking only to relieve his own" rather unfortunately made link between arousal and torture - this is pure evil and selfishness. With regard to yourself, why do you not write to the living relatives of the victims, or better still, just focus on fiction? This correspondance, as someone else said, is no more than a an attempt to either provide some relief from his imprisonment (whichever reason you give to it) , or your own perverted desire for attention from the wrong person. I genuinely am not meaning to sound offensive, and it doesn't even matter in the long run, but if I were going to write to someone I'd pick someone who deserves or needs it. I'm sure Ian Brady is, nonetheless, most receptive to your care and consideration when he's not wanking over what he did in the 60s, since he hasn't got much else to keep him busy other than X amount of other admirers. I wouldn't be the same person either - good job!? Sorry for the long message, just thought I'd add to your comments. It really does make me sad when I see things like this.
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Emma on 11 November 2012 19:49
Kate, I don't know why you use the word admirer. There is nothing to suggest that Jean admires him. I think she is sorry for him as he is old and ill BUT I must emphasize that he brought things on himself. Richard, you ask why there is a need to understand how an evil person thinks? Well I cannot speak for Jean or anyone else here but I must confess that I do all the time, I guess humanity is interested in man's darker side. To paraphrase Howard Soames who wrote a book on Fred and Rose West such people have opted out of the human race and we can view them as specimens in a museuem while knowing we are perfectly safe. Often when I read about suicide bombers or serial killers etc I find myself wondering why they are doing it? Have they a conscience what are their last thoughts etc? I would suggest that we have a fascination with such people like Ian Brady because Pscychiatry etc is still a relatively new science. Jean is a writer such people are used to analysing and presenting arguements and theories- its partly their job to try to understand such people. Its also a writer's job to be professional towards both sides, this is reminiscent of an incident I read in Peter Topping's book the policeman who opened the moors case in 1986/1987 when he mentioned that he was glad all his officers were professional towards Hindley and Brady and did not let their personal feelings get in the way. This too, is how Jean treats Ian Brady, she like all of us, is disgusted by what he did but a writer has to be courteous , unbiased and professional to both sides. In the same way his prison officers have to show him respect. He is entitled to christmas cards and letters not that they are much use to him now. Maybe he will change if he sees that he is being treated well, not that there is much chance of that, I'll admit. Kate, I am sure she has written to the victims families too, writers cannot rely on one source only. And to cap it off, I have said before, we need to understand or try to understand people like Ian Brady if we are going to make our society better. We cannot bring back Lesley Ann or anybody else, but we can all try to look out for the anti-social behaviour that serial killers seem to display at a young age and prevent it. Understanding Ian Brady is important if we want our children and grand children to suffer in any way.


emma on 11 November 2012 19:50
Sorry folks I meant NOT to suffer in any way. Obviously we all hope future mothers will not go through the pain of Mrs Johnstone, Mrs Downey etc.


Jean Rafferty on 09 January 2013 01:42
Apologies to those whose comments I haven't replied to. I've been rather busy and not keeping up much with my website. So here goes: Richard, it's essential for us to understand each other. That's particularly true when people's behaviour is terrible. Behind every story you mention, there is no doubt some sad or violent background. Kate, I don't have children, though would have liked to. But I was the eldest of six and helped bring up my siblings, as the eldest tends to, so I find your attitude patronising. I was changing nappies when I was a kid. And I have many nieces and nephews, whom I love. To all who have questioned my motives for writing to Ian Brady: the correspondence started as a professional thing, with a purpose in mind. That remains, but I am aware there is a person there who may have done terrible things but who is now isolated and without intellectual stimulation or human communication. As a journalist I have always felt that you shouldn't use people and throw them aside. I have become friends with various people over the years after they've confided in me. I feel the same now I'm writing fiction. That's why I send gifts at Christmas. It would seem mean-spirited to correspond with someone and then pretend the biggest festival of the year wasn't happening. I do not get attention from Ian Brady. I get replies to my letters. I have a large family and many friends. I don't need attention from someone I've never met. And yes, he does write to many people. I am only one of them and I have no idea what he really thinks about me. I don't write to the victims' families, nor would I, much though I feel for them. My book was not about their suffering so I would have no reason to start a professional correspondence with them. Thank you, Emma, for your continued support. You seem to understand where I'm coming from! All best, Jean


Lois on 19 November 2012 19:36
Hello Jean. I can understand why you write him, but what I can't understand is the fact that you offer him gifts ("something warm", etc). You don't know him personally, and I think that for him, you are probably just one more person among his pen pals. He has no idea of who you are. Do you always write him?
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Jean Rafferty on 02 March 2013 01:57
I think I've explained this in earlier posts. I send him gifts because we correspond and I can't pretend that Christmas isn't happening, I don't know how many presents he gets. Maybe there are many people who send him gifts. But it would be inhumane to take from him and offer nothing in return.


Jean Rafferty on 02 March 2013 02:09
Sorry, Cassandra. Seem to have missed this one. Yes, I think Brady is a damaged soul. Evil? He's done evil things, but I don't find 'evil' a particularly useful word. He could tell the Bennett family the area where Keith is, but it would be difficult for anyone to walk on to a moor after nearly 50 years and walk to an exact spot. See my article in the Sunday Herald. My book was not written for the victims's families but for the general reading public. If Mr Bennett chooses to contribute to the debate that is up to him. I certainly did not expect hi. To get involved. I'm very sorry to hear about your own family tragedy. You're quite. One act of murder can have repercussions for wide circles of people, for family, friends etc.


Jean Rafferty on 02 March 2013 02:19
I think I must have sent my initial reply to you as an email. Sorry about that. Indeed I am not a hybristophile. I started writing to Ian Brady for research, not for cheap thrills. I don't understand people who pursue psychopaths, hoping they can change them - or whatever their motivation is. I won't apologise for my correspondence with Ian Brady. It's perfectly legitimate and straightforward, so please stop trying to make it appear otherwise.


cassandra on 17 January 2013 12:05
I personally believe that Ian Brady is a damaged evil soul with absolutely no hope of ever being just what he is. This however was his choice he didn't have to murder and rape innocent children and if he any humanity .at all he would tell Allan Bennett where thus brother was buried. He chooses instead to keep the little boys death as a trophy. I have read every book published but can not understand what despicable beings theyes are even after being incarcerated playing cat and mouse with the press sac week as d drawing in peers of the realm no less into their webs. Jean your book was interesting and I find the secret release of myra plausible but it should not attract comments from Allan Bennett. I feel that if this is so your book should not have been published. I am speaking from experience a close famlily member of mine killed someone it is not only the victims family that have their lives destroyed but also the perpetrators families. I find an earlier comment by another post contributor offensive bc because they are quick to blame parents or society etc where it is not always true. I co
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Emma on 28 April 2013 21:36
Cassandra, I made the so called parents/society comment. Please read it again and stop putting words in my mouth. I was not blaming parents for I don't believe that any parent ( except satanic cult members) would get up one morning and tell their sons or daughters to go out and kill someone especially little children. Ian Brady's mother and Ted Bundy's were horrified at what their sons did. No one sends their children out to murder on the contrary they try to raise their kids as best as they can. Society is to blame to some extent, you obviously know nothing of pscyology. What is more likely to form a future killer SOMETIMES are factors like unstable family life, divorce, isolation at school etc but having said all that THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED ALL OR SOME OF THESE WHO DO NOT BECOME KILLERS AND LEAD NORMAL LIVES. I don't know why you get so upset over a harmless comment. if you read up on serial killers you will find that most if not all have had dysfunctional family lives.


Jo on 17 January 2013 17:07
I think you are a hybristophile, Jean.
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Sue Riley on 14 March 2013 00:53
I don't think talking to Brady is in any way an easy way to make money Louise. Is that the same Louise slavering over Brady on the Silly Twit blog? I think it is.
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emma on 09 May 2013 19:41
Cassandra socity often is to blame as kids who are isloated and bullied at school /excluded often go on to beomce serial killers. Same with dysfunctional families
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Richard L Grady on 02 August 2013 15:02
Your basically saying Ian Brady and Myra Hindley killed those innocent children not because of their lustful, sexual perversions, but it was some kind of 'political statement'. Don't deny trying to justify the cowardly murders of 5 innocent children. I find your pathetic excuses to Alan Bennett, not only patronising, but deeply offensive. You have only befriended, Ian Brady for your own personal ends; to further you career etc. I'm going to contact some legal respresentations. You should not be allowed to publish the inner-workings of that sick, pervert, Ian Brady.
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Jean Rafferty on 10 August 2013 18:28
What an extraordinary comment. Of course I'm not trying to justify the murder of five young people and I have no idea where you get that from. Brady did have a philosophical agenda but of course the murders were driven by sexual perversion too. Your post is an example of the narrow thinking that says there's only one explanation for things that are really beyond explanation. I made no excuses to Alan Bennett as I have nothing to apologise for, either to him or anyone else. You, like Mr Bennett, are entitled to your opinions. I'm also entitled to mine.


Francesca on 05 January 2014 20:18
Jean, you are an absolute disgrace and no doubt evil person! It is obvious that you are beguiled by Brady just as HIndley was. How you could feel anything other than utter revulsion for this individual is beyond me and yet you send him gifts, defend his rights and show a complete lack of understanding or empathy for the victims and their families. There is something very SINISTER about women like you who befriend these types of men, you are perhaps not as horrified by his actions as you should be. Perhaps you are not disgusted by them at all but are too afraid to say! You are not a defender of the innocent children but a sympathiser and supporter of the child murdering paedophiles!!!! I wonder if you would have been like HIndley if you had met Brady in the 6O's and joined with him in his monstrous acts of terror. You are motivated by money and notoriety and attracted to evil sadists, thank god Ian Brady will never see the light of day. If he were ever let out, I'm sure he would have an understanding friend and perhaps even accomplice in JEAN RAFFERTY! May God forgive you
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Katie on 01 April 2014 14:30
I'm interested to know what Mr. Grady plans to say to these "legal representations." It is not a crime to write books, nor to write letters, not to try to understand WHY terrible things happen in the world. Thank goodness we live in a society that encourages freedom of intellect, intelligent investigation and, thanks to work such as Jean's, a desire to understand, rather than to simply brush aside and mark as 'perverted, not to be questioned!' I find Mr Grady's comment narrow minded at best
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dudley on 07 March 2015 03:35
He is a sick perverted waste of space paedophile who deserves everything he has received plus more!
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