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My Blog

Myra Hindley, and her mugshot

                     
 
What if Myra Hindley had looked ordinary when she was arrested? Would we feel the same revulsion against her? Would her image have become an iconic symbol of evil if she had looked as she did in later years, a brown-haired woman with a soft body and a warm-looking smile? Throughout her years in prison Hindley had to live with the fact that for most people, she would always be her 1965 police mugshot¾harshly bleached hair; unnaturally black eyebrows; a sullen, sensualist's mouth; insolent eyes not deadened by what they had seen but full of a malevolent force, trying to dominate the viewer.
 
No wonder she has been hated for nearly fifty years, hated more even than Ian Brady. Women are supposed to be mothers, nurturers, and a woman like Hindley, who flouted these so-called biological imperatives, is viewed as unnatural. As a feminist, I'm supposed to think that her demonisation is a sign of our society's inherent sexism, and no doubt there's some truth in that.
 
But I'm a woman, and I know what we are. I don't expect women to be just mothers and carers. Their behaviour and desires can be every bit as dark and destructive as men's, their anger just as ferocious. We are not always victims.
 
Hindley certainly was not. For me, she actually was worse morally than Ian Brady, because she participated willingly in some of the worst crimes we have seen in this country and it wasn't even her own idea. It was Brady whose urges and philosophy drove their 'existential exercise,' as he calls it now, Brady whose longings were skewed and violent. She went along for the ride, but without him she probably would not have committed murder.
 
Without her he could not. A lone man would have found it much harder to entice children into his car. No doubt he would eventually have found a way, but she was pivotal to his success. Even in those less anxious days, children were taught not to take sweets from strangers, not to go away with someone they didn't know. A sixteen year old like Pauline Reade, all dressed up to go dancing, would never have got into a car with a single man like Brady. Only when her neighbour, Myra Hindley, asked her for a favour, did the kind teenager agree to go with them.
 
Many people have talked about folie àdeux in connection with Brady and Hindley, but it doesn't seem a very useful label to me. All of the dictionary definitions talk about the shared delusions of a couple in such a relationship, but what were Hindley's delusions? She went along with Brady's Nazi fixation, learning German, listening to tapes of Hitler rallies, carrying a picture of a female concentration camp guard round in her handbag, but then she also ditched her Woman's Own for Wordsworth's Prelude in order to catch her man¾Brady had ignored her up to that point. Women in those days were still following 1950's patterns. They did what they thought their men wanted.
 
Brady wanted perversion, terror, violence, and Hindley went along with it as she'd have gone along if he'd wanted lace curtains and cocktails. For him the internal pressures were overwhelming and he would undoubtedly have murdered in the end, but Hindley made a choice. After the first murder, when she claimed to be terrified of Brady's violence, she started an affair with a policeman she sold her car to. Not a smart move if you really are afraid of a man. When Brady clicked his fingers and said he wanted to commit another murder, she ditched her lover and came running. She had the perfect get-out, could have confessed to her policeman and probably played the female victim card, but she decided the lure of blood and sex had more pull.
 
Hindley was a thrill-seeker, addicted to the heightened reality she shared with Brady. She had probably never felt more alive in her life than when they were committing the murders. As a child her father had been violent to her. Now, as an adult, she could revel in the power she and Brady had over life and death. So callous was she about their victims, that she used to stop Pauline Reade's mother in the street and ask if she had any news about her missing daughter.
 
Narcissistic and aggressive to anyone who crossed her, Hindley probably had a histrionic personality disorder. She craved excitement and emotional drama, sought the approval of others, needed to be the centre of attention, and had a desire for instant gratification. Had she been brought up in a middle class home with theatrical outlets for these personality traits, she might have become an actress or a musician, but the only way to satisfy them in her surroundings was to follow Brady.
 
David Smith and Maureen Hindley
She followed him into hell, which showed in her face when they took the notorious mugshot. People have often said her eyes were dark and dead in that picture, but it seems to me they show the depths she had come to. Photographs of her sister taken around the same time show the same fashion for bouffant hair and kohl-rimmed eyes, but Maureen looks like a normal young woman. Her eyes do not burn with the intensity of someone who has seen too much, done too much. Her face is not suffused with secret knowledge, does not brim with repressed anger. Myra Hindley chose the wrong path and it is written in every shadow, every hollow, every sharply angled plane of her face.

38 Comments to Myra Hindley, and her mugshot:

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Habie on 19 March 2012 00:33
Superlative piece of writing. In all these years of reading about Myra, some of the things you say so pithily above seem new, reminding us of the choice she made, the options she had, the depths of both their madness. The phrase, 'as she would if he'd wanted lace curtains and cocktails'... wow. You write like an angel, Jeannie baby, even about devils. This is absolutely terrific. Bravo.
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Jimbo Smith on 19 March 2012 17:29
I have read extensively of Brady and Hindley and couldn;t agree more with this piece. It's ability to get staight to an uncomfortable point beats the hell out of all the 'Folie Adeux' theories. Absolutely brilliant.
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Alison on 19 March 2012 17:31
I'm not sure we've quite got to a point where we can definitively understand the psychology of Brady and Hindley. I confess I'm not that comfortable with - Brady couldn't help himself - it was his essential nature - but Hindley made a choice. How do we know that she didn't find Brady so irresistible SHE couldn't help herself. It seems to me that we are too ready to assign all or more of the blame to women involved in such crimes. I sat in a group analysis group once where a woman revealed the beatings she had regularly from her father. He beat her mother too. One group member said it was the mother he was angry with for not stopping the father beating the daughter. Myra Hindley committed wicked, terrible acts on children. It is hard to find any mitigating factor in her actions. But to see her as essentially worse than Brady, well ...
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Jean Slater on 19 March 2012 17:44
A fascinating piece. I hope you won't mind me sharing my personal view of Hindley, who I always thought was the more 'guilty' of the two. I was a very young child at the time of the murders, but watched over the years as she came closer to freedom and was appalled the gravely misguided Lord Longford's campaign for her release. Ian Brady was clearly mentally ill, and was treated as such from his conviction. Hindley, on the other hand, seemed to be able to live with what she had done. She did not say she was not guilty, but she did not say she was sorry, she did not show remorse. Instead she carved a life for herself in prison and was clearly able to manipulate others, including at least one prison guard, Lord Longford, and even her prison governor, who took her for the now infamous stroll around Hampstead Heath. While Brady probably would have murdered in the end with or without Hindley, I do still wonder whether she would have found another Brady, had they not met.
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Jean Rafferty on 19 March 2012 21:48
Jean, sorry for the delay in replying. I did so earlier but it doesn't seem to have worked. Thank you for the comments. I think you're right, that the reason people disliked Hindley so much was as much to do with the aftermath as with the murders themselves. For someone to make the excuses she did and to use her gender to try and gain release was unacceptable to most people. I do find your question, Would she have met another Brady? very interesting. I suspect she might well have got involved in other criminal activity but I don't suppose there are that many people quite so dangerous in any one area - at least I hope not! But I think your point is correct, that her life was shaped by who she met. It's a pity she didn't meet a theatre director or a musician - she was apparently a very talented songwriter. All best, Jean


Nicola Barry on 19 March 2012 17:50
To most people evil Hindley was not a woman. She was the modern equivalent of a witch. That is why newspapers always publish the same peroxide blonde photo of her. There were other photos but we preferred this one of Myra, with her hooded eyes, the awful Sixties hairdo and the sinister expression. Most of us change in 40 years. Not Myra Hindley, however. Not because she didn’t try but because we would not allow her. That is why we like that old photo. If the picture never changes it makes it much harder to believe the person has. To most people evil Hindley was not a woman. She was the modern equivalent of a witch. That is why newspapers always publish the same peroxide blonde photo of her. There were other photos but we preferred this one of Myra, with her hooded eyes, the awful Sixties hairdo and the sinister expression. Most of us change in 40 years. Not Myra Hindley, however. Not because she didn’t try but because we would not allow her. That is why we like that old photo. If the picture never changes it makes it much harder to believe the person has.
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Jean Rafferty on 22 March 2012 12:40
I think you're absolutely right, Nicola, that we kept looking at that mugshot, or the media did, because we didn't want her to change. I think, though, that the mugshot tells a story, which later pictures of her in prison did not. She could have been anybody. Many serial killers look perfectly affable and pleasant - Ted Bundy being the quintessential example. Hindley's and Brady's images reflected where they were emotionally, I think. A friend of mine says the Hindley mugshot is ordinary looking and that she just looks like a brassy shopgirl who's sullen because of the situation of being caught. But I don't agree. I don't think the image would have had the power it has if she was ordinary looking in it. It's the story embedded in it which makes it linger in our thoughts.


Nicola on 19 March 2012 17:53
Cont: What Hindley did was repulsive – about that there is no doubt, but, nobody ever explains why she had to serve 37 years, three times the average life sentence. The reason should cause us a great deal of embarrassment. It was because her release lay in the hands of vote-searching politicians who didn’t dare take on the tabloids. Politicians loved her. They were able to raise their approval ratings by keeping her in prison. Justice had nothing to do with why Hindley was in prison so long. She will stand forever as a classic example of the difference between how we treat male offenders and female. even though her role in the assault and murder of the children was supposed to have been less than Brady’s, her culpability has always been considered far, far greater. This is so blatantly absurd that the only possible explanation is that Brady is a man and she was a woman. Men can be violent and that’s OK. Not so women. Women have children, they feed, they nurture. They are supposed to be soft and feminine. Violence in a woman is not OK.
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Jean on 19 March 2012 18:14
Hi Alison and Nicola, Thanks very much for all the comments. I suppose my take on Hindley is that there was a point when she was faced with a choice and took the wrong one. Her own defence was always that she found Brady irresistible and was also afraid of him. That's why I said she wasn't a victim, because neither excuse washed when you knew how she actually behaved. When she had power she used it. As an adult she battered her father with a stick, and was slow to use her fists. She had been inured to violence in a sense - though it was apparently her mother who took the brunt of the father's beatings and Myra lived mostly with her grandmother as there wasn't enough room in the house when her sister Maureen came along. I think that Brady's sadism answered a need in her, so in that sense you're right, Alison - she couldn't help herself either, the first time. But her affair with the policeman proves to me that she was perfectly capable of seeing herself as a separate being, which is why I say she had a choice. I don't see Brady's desire to murder and rape as his essential nature but those desires were deeply embedded in him and his reading of De Sade gave him a philosophy that allowed him to act on them. From my letters with him I get a sense of regret - wouldn't go so far as to call it remorse. She was the opposite. She expressed remorse but none of it rang true. Her letters show her as completely self-centred. In one of them she talks about being 'haunted and hunted' - by the families of her victims! I agree with you, Nicola, that she was kept in prison far longer than she should have been, but so was Brady. So in that sense I'm not sure it was because of sexism. In fact I tend to think if she had been released it would have been because she was a woman. She is seen as less culpable by some people, though not by me. In fact I'll probably do another blog about that because there are apparently more tapes of Lesley Downey than were ever released to the court and there's no way you could think of someone as a victim when they'd taken part in what was done to that wee girl.


Alison on 19 March 2012 18:17
Hi Jean You clearly know the case inside out - much more than I do. I suppose I still think there is a tendency in society at large, hard-wired into our collective brain, to see the violent acts committed by men, particularly in relation to sexual crimes, as something they can't quite help - kind of 'boys will be boys' taken to its extreme. The woman who harms children in particular is seen as much more evil than men, archetypally so - from wicked stepmothers through to child abusers and murderers. Myra Hindley did horrific things. I don't see her as a 'victim', but I don't see her as WORSE than Brady either. You're not surely saying that because he read De Sade and constructed a philosophical framework round his actions, that that makes him less culpable than MH? It is very interesting, the whole thing. I do think this is fascinating. If the feminist thinking is designed to let women off the hook, then the default societal (anti-feminist) position is to let men off the hook. For you to describe it as 'tragic' that IB had these urges in spite of his intelligence, is to let him off the hook big time, is it not? His intellectualisation of his crimes is surely just as odious as her manipulativeness. And really, his reading of De Sade is his justification for his actions. It sounds as if you were a bit 'seduced' by him too, from your correspondence; how much more compelling might he have been for MH when younger and in the flesh? I'm not arguing that MH was a victim, nor that she was averse to using what femininity she had to manipulate guys like Longford. I just think the impulse to see Brady as less bad than her is a bit strange. The legal definitions of 'mad' versus 'bad' are problematic, it's true, and I'd be inclined to think anybody who could do such things in 'normal' circumstances must be 'mad'. To me the notion that he was somehow 'mad', i.e. couldn't help himself, while she was plain 'bad' and made rational choices is at the very least questionable...


Jean on 19 March 2012 18:23
Hi Alison, I certainly don't think of either of those things in the ways you're describing and if I'm honest, I think they're feminist thought designed to let women off the hook. Brady is very different from the way normal men are. He's aberrant, abhorrent. Ordinary decent men neither have these urges nor understand them. It's tragic that someone as intelligent as he is should have had them in the first place as he could have made a good contribution to society. I don't think it's fair to the majority of men to frame the debate in terms of male violence. And no, I don't see him as less culpable. I suppose, having looked at them both for so long, I have a more visceral dislike of her because she wouldn't take responsibility for her actions. Brady re-frames it, but he certainly doesn't deny it and has never sought release. This may be simply because he's more realistic than she was, but I feel it's a more dignified position. What I disliked about her was that she tried to use her femininity as a bargaining tool. She was so in love with him, she had a violent upbringing, all the usual excuses... Neither her nor Brady's upbringings, problematical though they were, were enough to create circumstances that would have led to the murders. They may have contributed but Hindley wasn't, for example, like Aileen Wuornos, who was physically and sexually abused to an extreme degree and was visibly 'mad' (another not too useful label) when they executed her.


Jean on 19 March 2012 18:28
You're right, the default societal position is to let men off the hook. But that's not why I feel the way I do. My feelings about Brady and Hindley are specific to them and I get fed up of feminist arguments being brought into this. They're extreme criminals and their behaviour is not the norm, not how society runs itself. And no, if you read Brady's letters you couldn't possibly think I'd find him seductive. He's angry all the time but at the world. He despises most of humanity but not himself. As a young man he was seductive only to Myra. Most other people thought he was a grumpy geek. I think it's a matter of choice whether you find his intellectualisation more odious than her manipulativeness. I don't. As an unredeeming quality I prefer it! But neither of them is attractive. One of the things I've tried to do in the novel is find my way between all the conflicting views to find the person in the round. I do dislike her more, not because of society's default views on feminism but because I have a certain pity for someone like Brady who was inflicted with psychotic desires. I don't think him mad, though would like to know more about his state since. The dichotomy between mad and bad isn't very useful because it's possible to be both and he may have been. But his use of De Sade's philosophy was self-justification, not justification. From all I read about her she seemed to me to be absolutely self-absorbed, a quality I personally particularly dislike. In the book I've shown the redeeming factors, her obsession with him, the violence in her background and so on, but in the end I don't think they're an excuse. It's not so much that I think he's less bad but that I simply dislike her more, mostly for using her femininity as an excuse and trying to paint herself as the victim. I suppose when you write opinion it's always going to be only part of the story, particularly in a blog where you'll undoubtedly write more next week! I've found the whole subject fascinating, particularly people's different responses to it.


Alison on 19 March 2012 18:30
In answer to part of your last post - I'm NOT saying that MH's manipulativeness is better than Brady's intellectualisation. But you ARE saying you prefer his intellectualisation to her defences. She's self absorbed, OK. What about a man who is "angry all the time but at the world. He despises most of humanity but not himself." Sounds pretty self-obsessed to me. ‎"I have a certain pity for someone like Brady who was inflicted with psychotic desires." Why can't you have pity for MH who was 'inflicted' with delusional? narcissistic? self-serving? - take your pick- desires/proclivities? What I am saying is that they both committed unspeakable acts; I have no sympathy for/understanding of either of them. But your 'preference' for Brady over Hindley falls right into the default mysogynist position. So to me that makes a feminist critique justifiable ...


Jean rafferty on 19 March 2012 19:55
Thanks for the post but I don't think either she or Brady would ever be released (despite the premise of my novel!) Brady has now served 46 years, more than any other living prisoner. There's a whole list of whole-life tariff prisoners who will also never be released - Denis Nilsen and Robert Maudsley (Hannibal the Cannibal) among them. Rosemary West is the only other female killer on the list. I think it's to do with the scale of the crimes, West's being on a much greater scale than Hindley's.


jean rafferty on 19 March 2012 18:56
Actually, I do have some pity for Hindley, because I think she could have had a different life - but not as much pity as she had for herself! I think Jean Slater's comments sum up what many people feel, that in the aftermath she whinged on about herself with no mention of her victims. Brady, on the other hand, set up a Braille unit in prison and spent many years doing the tedious work of translating books for blind people. Yes, Brady was and is self-obsessed. But he's also interested in politics and how the world works. And actually I don't think it's fair to brand me a misogynist when I've been quite clear that the reasons I dislike Hindley more than Brady have nothing to do with gender. If I'd said she wasn't nurturing and so betrayed her gender, then fair enough, we could be debating what a woman should be or do. But for me it's about personal responsibility, which he took and she didn't. As a feminist I hate the politically correct idea that only men are violent. Women can be just as cruel as men.
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Alison on 19 March 2012 20:21
As a feminist I don't say that ONLY men are violent. But I do say that disliking a woman involved in a series of murders more than the man involved is a pretty typical response and does in some way reflect a very deep-seated hatred? fear? of women in our society. At its crudest, it can be seen when the male serial killer's crimes are laid at the door of his mother. I also think that it is very often women who express these views. I watched Bernard McLaverty's short film Bye Child with a group of students recently. As you probably know, it's based on Seamus Heaney's poem of the same name and is about a boy who was discovered being kept in a henhouse by his mother and is based on a true story. He was filthy and could not speak. How fictional the film is I don't know, but in it the boy is the result of father-daughter rape. She hides him in the henhouse in order to save him because her father is going to kill him, and sneaks out to feed him scraps. The views expressed by women in the class were that it was the woman, the mother, who was most at fault for keeping him there. This was Ireland in the sixties in the days of the Magdalene laundries. The young guys in the class were more sympathetic to the woman ...


jean rafferty on 19 March 2012 21:26
I have seen Bye Child (a very powerful film), though no-one with whom I watched it expressed the things you were saying. Is it typical to dislike a woman involved in a murder more than the man? Do people hate Rosemary West more than Fred West? I don't think they do and find it a fairly sweeping statement. All I can say is that I've lived with these two people for more than five years and you can't avoid feeling certain things about them. There are things I dislike about Hindley and things I dislike about Brady. None of those things are to do with gender, and I've tried to make that clear. They're about varying shades of morality, about personal responsibility and about not trying to use your gender as an excuse. Making this a discussion about gender is taking the debate into your own issues and back on to the views I was trying to get away from.
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emma on 25 August 2012 22:28
Barry - I too have always believed that Myra was not just a bystander who drove the victims to their deaths and helped clear up afterwards Yes she certainly killed Lesley Ann, that has come up many a time before. As Peter Topping once said she always removed herself from the scene of the crime: she was in the bathroom or outside or wherever while the children were being murdered. If one looks at Brady's criminal record, all his crimes were for burglarly and larceny, but none for murder so it would seem that you are right, he did not kill anyone before he met Myra. But what about torturing animals and setting them alight? It was strange that he was never pulled up for that. Returning to the murders, I have just remembered one point, it is likely the Edward Evans murder is the one time where Myra did not participate , if we take David Smith's evidence as reliable and it seems to have been. Obviously it would have been easier for Brady to deal with Evans than it would have been for Myra. As for your question why did Ian not kill before he met Myra? Well given his anti-social personality I don't think anyone would have gone with him. He did not have the charm of a Ted Bundy and the presence of a woman made it easier to lure children to their deaths. Before Myra, he only seemed to have had one girlfriend for a brief period. So he obviously had problems dating. NO doubt healways entertained the idea of killing but obviously could not find a "suitable" woman who would go along with everything until Myra came on the scene. As why Myra did not kill before, I argue that it was only after resentment, pain and anger had built up after reaching a cumulative point that it seemed the time was 'ripe' to her ie around the time she met Brady I guess. Interesting question, why did she break off the engagement with Ronnie Sinclair in 1958? Did she sense that he would not be into murder? Assuming that murderous fantasies and ideas were even in her mind then. her friend died wen shes thirteen. Her father was violent and beat her up and apparently her mother did too. A lot of the time her father was overseas. Like Brady there was the absence of a father figure. Parents did not get on well and later divorced and she was also turfed out of home at the age of 5 to make room for her sister and sent to live with her grandmother - like Brady she probably felt unwanted. Remember she only learned to drive around '62 or '63 and a car was pivotal to the murders. There is also one other element that might explain her depravity- she slept in the same room alongside her parents She could well have seen them in sexual acts etc.


Cita on 27 October 2013 03:09
My take on Myra's involvement with the last murder was that her role was to incite David Smith to take part in the killing. She called out to him to help Ian Brady. It appears that they were grooming David Smith to join in the murders that were being committed. I do seem to remember reading that Myra had become jealous of Ian Brady's interest in David Smith. However, David Smith, terrified, went to the police and that was what brought the police into the picture.


Alison on 19 March 2012 22:07
Aha! Well, are you so sure you're not talking from YOUR own issues? I'd say preferring the exercise of intellectual prowess in the justification of heinous crimes to exploiting 'feminine wiles' to mitigate/deny these crimes is not gender neutral. Me, I think the two of them are equally monstrous; you're the one making distinctions and offering arguments in mitigation of IB's deeds.
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Jean Rafferty on 22 March 2012 13:01
Am certainly not offering any mitigation for Brady's deeds. I simply think there's a qualitative moral distinction between being driven by your own bizarre urges and following someone else's. It's to do with personal responsibility, not gender. Brady was at least thinking for himself, however pervertedly. When I used the words'Hindley went along for the ride,' I meant them. You're right, it's not gender neutral to be disgusted by someone who uses their femininity as an excuse. As a woman I find it particularly offensive. I'm a feminist and that's the kind of behaviour I've fought against all my life. I hardly think that's misogynistic.


Monty on 21 March 2012 13:37
Dear Jean, I am not qualified or equiped to pass comment on either Hindley or Brady, but I find your blog and all the comments fascinating. The world is full of bad people, people who can commit atrocities without apparent remorse, we read about them every day, they are all around us and look just like everyone else. I have never pondered on, or had any intellectual interest in what makes an evil person tick, I think the human race has the ability to understand the balance between good and evil and I certainly don't think it is a gender thing. I can only presume we are all born 'good' with no hereditary 'evil' genes, I am presuming this,and therefore it has to be the influence of some act or mental incapacity in their life that allows a break down in their value's. Please ignore the simplicity, I am stumbling along here in the dark. What I really wanted to say Jean was, that I absolutely loved your short story description of your stay in Istanbul, it was superb and womderful.
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Jean Rafferty on 22 March 2012 12:51
Hi Monty, Thank you very much for the comment and your interest. I think we're all stumbling along in the dark with this stuff. The more you look at it the less you know. I don't even know if we are all born good. It used to be thought that many violent men have an extra Y chromosome, for example. That's been discredited since, but perhaps there are genetic factors at work as well as the childhood problems and the coming together of two characters whose worst traits fed into the worst traits of the other. I'm very interested in what makes evil people tick, of course, having spent so many years writing this book. But like you, ultimately we're bumbling along in the dark, as you say. No amount of scientific progress will ever wholly explain why some people behave the way they do. All best, Jean PS Thank you very much for the comments on the Istanbul article!


Alison on 22 March 2012 15:14
"Ian Brady is a sociopath who shows no remorse and no compassion. He will only do things for other people if he has something to gain. He intellectualises his murders, calling them his 'existential exercise' – which he planned in advance in careful detail – or 'that Moors business', as if they were a glitch in his great criminal career. "His only thought for the victims or their families is what he can get out of it. He would kill again without a thought for anyone who gets in his way. For him its like swatting a fly, which is how he regarded the children he murdered." Dr Chris Cowley: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8247814/Ian-Brady-could-kill-again-inside-the-twisted-mind-of-the-Moors-Murderer.html
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Alison on 22 March 2012 15:23
"Hindley was irresistibly drawn to Brady, seeing romance and intelligence in his aloofness, and she wrote of her intense feelings for him in her diary constantly for over a year, before he finally showed some interest in her. He eventually asked her out, and he quickly indoctrinated her in his extreme political views, taking her to see the film “The Nuremburg Trials” on their first date, and encouraging her to read works by Hitler and de Sade. Brady was her first lover, and she was soon completely under his control, dressing and styling herself to please him, accepting his extreme political views, and even posing for pornographic pictures. Encouraged by her unquestioning acceptance, Brady’s ideas became even more outrageous, culminating in his instruction to her that murder and rape were the “supreme pleasure”. Family and friends noticed the cumulative effect that Brady had on her, and she became increasingly surly and secretive. Brady tested her blind allegiance by pretending to plan a robbery, and was gratified when she took all the steps necessary to execute the plan, without question. Brady recognised that he had found the soul mate who would assist him to make his perverted ideas, of pain and pleasure, a reality." http://www.crimeandinvestigation.co.uk/crime-files/myra-hindley/biography.html;jsessionid=DFF4A94E5039F1523AE3A2F5AE5C60D1
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Jean Rafferty on 22 March 2012 16:45
Alison, am well aware of the sources in both these comments and in fact show the grooming process in action in my novel. Dr Cowley's book has little I was not familiar with through my correspondence with Ian Brady. His book is a little too conventional in its use of the concept of 'evil' for my own personal taste, but then that taste is what this debate seems to have focused on, through your insistence on a feminist 'critique' of my preferences. I have to say it's the first time anyone has called me a misogynist or suggested I hated/feared other women.
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Mrs X on 13 July 2012 09:31
There's no mercy, all this again when we're all not well. This serves no purpose to anyone, there's nothing new here it just reopens old wounds so we can all suffer again. Ian has regular contact with dozens of people and says the same thing. I've had all the threats, abuse and insults already i'm not going to justify myself ever again. He said he had photos of his old home but it's not there now, a few people send him photos of clyde steamers he said, i think he worked on one, he's very romantic about his family holidays and where he went with Myra. He's not an angry man with me, he's very calming and understanding of my wild temper i can't support his right to die because he's been wise and i've been stupid, i'll never be the same without him. He'll never know what he means to me, i listen to these tapes, they're film soundtracks and very old records he sent me they remind me of the old days i remember. I don't think we get along very well he out thinks me every step of the way and i like to win sometimes. It's a long story but in spite of everything that's gone wrong i'm deeply fond of him, i'm tired of being called a sicko and a weirdo he isn't the same as he used to be but there's no second chances in this life i know that from experience. Peace to us all, thank you.
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Jean Rafferty on 21 August 2012 21:41
Dear Mrs X, Am sorry for the delay in replying to this. I've been away from my website for some time, just can't keep up with everything,I'm afraid. I take it that you also correspond with Ian Brady, and seem to have done so for some considerable time, so I'm sure you do get on. I don't think he replies to people he doesn't want to. You sound weary and upset, and that's no doubt worse now that Ian Brady is so ill. I hope you're all right. With best wishes, Jean


Jean Rafferty on 21 August 2012 22:27
Dear Barry, Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts. As you say, it's very complicated and, like you, I have more questions than answers. You're right, that the 'sexual sadist' remarks have been directed at Brady, when in fact they both clearly participated. I think, though, that he introduced her to these practices and educated her in them as he educated her in many things. i wouldn't be sure that he was telling the truth that Myra Hindley physically killed Lesley Ann Downey. To be honest, I don't think it matters very much. She was there, she took part in the torture and the sexual abuse, and is therefore as guilty as he is. My own feeling is that she would not have been awakened to either murder or sadistic sex had she not met Ian Brady. But she was and enjoyed what they did together. Their bond was extraordinary, almost telepathic, as you say. How could it not be, when they went through such extreme behaviour together? This has clearly been a very difficult week for the families of the victims and like you, my heart goes out to them. The last thing they need is the sort of speculation that's been going on. With best wishes, Jean


Barry on 19 August 2012 19:36
A human being is by definition the result of their innate physical being (genetics) and the environment they are placed in. A sunflower seed needs certain conditions to fulfill its purpose: if it were potted in pot-pourie it wouldn't grow! The same is true of humans. We need the correct environments to grow correctly. And tot he extent out environment is compromised, so to are we. Think of feral children -- they literally 'become' animals when they lack the correct human upbringing. Thus, to fully understand Brady and Hindley, I agree we need to understand their lives in its totality. Were they both born with a genetic predisposition to kill? Did specific events in their lives shape them to become what they are? Ian Brady only started killing when Myra Hindley became his girlfriend I believe. Why? Why not before? Did Brady only develop the desire to kill once Myra came into his life? Or did he have it prior but was unable to fulfil his murderess dreams? By the same token, Myra Hindley only killed once she met Ian Brady. Why? Was it because he indoctrinated her? Or did she have murderess tendencies before she met him but required an accomplice to aid her? Conventional story: Ian Brady indoctrinated Hindley to kill and she went along with it because she was infatuated with him. But I don't agree with this assessment. I do believe Brady was the more 'active' instrument in articulating murder since it fitted with his philosophy on life -- he was the more intellectually developed of the two. Hindley was infatuated with him -- he fulfilled something in her life which she was craving meaning she had pre-existing tendencies PRIOR to meeting Brady. I mean, why of all the men she met was he the one she craved for? Remember, in the beginning, she longed for him. He was indifferent to her.I think she very willing in all her actions with Brady. I too reject the Hindley as victim card. I also think their relationship was intense with a close bond. Didn't Brady describe them being so close they were almost telepathic? They were a single entity in many respects. And ultimately, it was this close bond combined with their dark desires which resulted in the chaos the world came to know. I also understand why people view Hindley more unfavourably that Brady. And it's not to do with gender per se (which is a worn out excuse sometimes). Hindley continued to lie about the murders until her death. She was dishonest. Yes, completely self absorbed. In the 80s, Hindley was still saying David Smith was guilty and that she was the victim of Brady and so too were her family. It was only after the European court of human rights rejected her argument that she was 'not complicit' in the murders that she changed tact (I believe this is the case). And Winnie Johnson (may God bless your soul) writing to her in the 80s gave her the chance to fabricate some remorse via replying in letter.Brady has been consistent in his view -- he accepts his punishment, articulated what he did and as sick as it, is more honest than Hindley. It's just his honesty concerns such disturbing subject matter. Brady took the fall for the crimes in my opinion. Hindley was not convicted for all of the criminality she perpetrated in mu opinion. Ian Brady has said that Hindley was the murderer of Lesley Ann Downey as she strangled her. Thus, Hindley being merely an accomplice would not correctly describe her actions. Further, at the initial trial, Brady made a slip of the tongue remark concerning the murder of Lesley Ann Downey when he said something about "they all got dressed" afterwards. Totally depraved but it obviously implicated Hindley in the sexual abuse too -- not just as a facilitator but an active participant. Further, I believe Brady also says Hindley physically and sexually abused Pauline Reade -- the 1st victim. If Brady is telling the truth (my instinct says he is) then actually Myra Hindley has been let off the hook in many respects since the 'sexual sadist' remarks are usually targeted towards Brady. Anyway, I would just like to say Godbless to all the victims of the crimes. Both the immediate and extended families. And to Winnie Johnson, R.I.P.
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Barry on 22 August 2012 21:05
Many thanks for the reply Jean. Indeed, the whole issue is very tragic.
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Rufus on 01 March 2013 04:03
"Had she been brought up in a middle class home with theatrical outlets for these personality traits, she might have become an actress or a musician, but the only way to satisfy them in her surroundings was to follow Brady." The implication being that if you happen to be working-class with thespian tendencies the only alternative is murder? Well, thanks for that, nice to know classism is alive and well.
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Lizzie Frith on 03 May 2013 07:37
Personally I do not think that Hindley is an 'evil' woman, I think she is simply misunderstood after many years of society warping her and making her into this 'evil' monster. When the case first occurred the public didn't like her because she was a woman and she had committed such horrific crimes, but I don't feel that they would have hated her as much as we did now. I think that society has been warped into a way of thinking, we think of her as evil and disgusting because that is how she has been portrayed to us. We no longer know what she was actually like because as this article states we have hidden her behind her mugshot and made her into that. Whenever a new article is published on the case or her you never see a photo of her in her later years (with the brown hair) but rather you see her mugshot. Therefore I don't think she is evil I think she was far different in the end than what we think, I think she could have become the same normal girl that she once was. The girl who enjoyed hanging out with her sister, her nan and babysitting for her neighbors. As she once said "I ask people to judge me as I am now and not as I was then"
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Jean Rafferty on 06 May 2013 23:39
Thank you very much for both your comments, on the Thatcher piece too. As I've said elsewhere on this blog, I don't find the word 'evil' very useful, so agree with you that it's not a rational way to look at her. I'm not sure she's been misjudged, though. She seems to have been totally self-absorbed and manipulative as a person. Would the term 'normal' ever stretch to fit her? I'm not sure! But many thanks for your interest. All best, Jean
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Erica Gregory on 23 October 2015 15:08
Hi Jean.. I would like to add here that Myra used the occultism of Crowley and that the mugshot shows the symbolism of the mind controllers.. her Large Button the hair was dyed to blue then Yellow at the trial , colours of the Mind controllers, and also here she shows the black and white scarf again the Illuminati symbolism.. Masonic. As for her Witch connections. Myra died at Bury St Edmunds area of the infamous Witch trials.. and her death in Scorpio was I believe suicide.. she starved herself for 12 months prior to her death and was taking drugs in prison. She also had her cremation at Midnight .. this is all ritual. She pulled the strings from inside to get what she wanted. Even the music she chose Albinonis Adagio in G Minor.. I found this was background music for a film of Kafka's the Trial , Orson Welles film 1962. Kafka's life very much a description of Brady.. but the Trial ends where the condemned man is taken to a quarry and blown up with Dynamite.. As you know of the area we are working in.. the area is a quarry where the Tunnel here has history of dynamite and a death of a navvy blown up with dynamite in the early 1800s.. her message for Keith here again I ma sure.. we have recently found E H carved into rocks here.. evidence we needed to show they have been here apart from all the finds.. Esther Hindley .. She was his Witchy woman.. like Dylan stated in his lyrics.. She was the one who killed and she did more than he did.. because she was the one who had to show she was strong.. She took on the strong woman in History.. The Persecution of Witches, The Suffragettes.. she read Virginia Wolfe and quoted from Vita Sackville, she was the Feminist. She also manipulated those around her like Astor and Longford because she wanted to be close to the people who had written about De Valera Irish politics.. and to Orwell.. books also Brady had read. She was in Love with Brady till the end.. and the Ashes at Stalybridge state this.. long complex connections here which I explain on my page on Facebook.. Codes in letters and codes in what she said.. he too.. His Braille and Barber in his letters state that the letters are coded.
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