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The Moors Murders

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On the night of October 6th, 1956, the British police department received a call from a young man reporting the murder of a youth. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were a young British couple who found love through their peculiar childhood and « thrived » together through the past and its wounds. 

Ian, originally named Ian Duncan Stewart, was born on January 2, 1938, in Glasgow in foster care. In his teen years, he was heavily fascinated by Alfred Hitler and his ideologies. To say the least, Brady knew his Marquis de Sade better than anyone he had met.

Myra was born on July 23rd, 1942 in Crumpsall. She lived with her grandmother away from her parents. At eighteen, she took a job in an office in Manchester and became wildly infatuated with a tall, good-looking Scottish man in his early twenties. Eventually, they become lovers, and she was not too shocked to learn that he has been in prison, nor alarmed when he proposes that they embark on a criminal career, robbing banks.

In fact, this Bonnie and Clyde duo never comes about; instead, they decide on a more serious crime: Killing children; she lures them into the car, and later helps in the disposal of the bodies on Saddle worth Moor. The first Moors Murder, that of Pauline Reade, happened on July 12, 1963, a month after Brady had moved in with Myra at her grandmother’s house. The only information we have about the murder is from the confession of Myra Hindley in January 1987, when she finally decided to admit her guilt.

According to Myra, she picked up Pauline Reade, who was sixteen, and a friend of her sister Maureen, in a minivan. Pauline was on her way to a dance but agreed to go and look for an expensive glove which Myra claimed she had lost at a picnic on Saddle worth Moor. Myra offered her a pile of gramophone records in exchange. When they were on the moor for about an hour, Brady arrived on his motorbike and was introduced as Myra’s boyfriend. Brady and Pauline then went off to look for the glove, while Myra waited in the car. Later, Brady returned to the car and took her to Pauline’s body. Her throat had been cut, and her clothes were in disarray, indicating rape. They then buried the body with the spade that Myra had brought in the back of the van. 

Many books in the Moors Murder case imply that Brady’s attitude towards Myra was cold and manipulative. In fact, it seems that she was over-awed and fascinated by her lover. She declared later: « Within months he had convinced me there was no God at all: he could have told me the earth was flat, the moon was made of green cheese and the sun rose in the West, I would have believed him ». Within a fairly short amount of time, Myra had been indoctrinated. She was soon as enthusiastic as he was about the Nazis. From then on, it was only a small step to accepting the ideas of the Marquis de Sade, whose basic ideology is that violence and rape are the supreme pleasure.   

On Saturday, November 23, 1963, the couple drove to the small market town of Ashton-under-Lyne. A twelve-year-old boy named John Kilbride had spent Saturday afternoon at the cinema, then went to earn a few pences doing odd jobs at the market. It started to get dark and fog came down. At that moment, a friendly lady approached him and asked if he wanted a lift. It seemed safe enough, so he climbed in. It was the last time he was seen alive.

On June 16, 1964, twelve-year-old Keith Bennett set out to spend the night at his grandmother’s house in the Longsight district. When his mother called to collect him the following morning, she learned that he had failed to arrive. Like John Kilbride, Keith Bennett had accepted a lift from a kind lady. His body has never been found.   

On December 26, 1964, there was another murder. Like the others, this was planned in advance. Myra had arranged for her grandmother to stay the night with an uncle. At around six o’clock that evening, she picked up ten-year-old Lesley Ann Downey at a fair in Hulme Hall Lane.They took Lesley back to the house in Wardle Brook Avenue, and switched on a tape recorder. Myra was in the kitchen when she heard the child screaming. Brady was squeezing Lesley’s neck and ordering her to take off her coat. She was then made to undress and to assume various ‘pornographic’ poses while Brady photographed her. Lesley screams and demands to be allowed to go home. At this point, Hindley was ordered to go and run a bath; she stayed in the bathroom until the water became cold. When she returned, Lesley had been strangled, and there was blood on her thighs. The following day they took the body to the moors and buried it.   

On October 6,1956, Myra went to her sister’s flat to pay her a visit. Towards midnight, she asked David Smith, her sister’s boyfriend, to walk her home. As he stood waiting in foyer there was a scream from the sitting room, and Myra called,  »Dave, help him! » As Smith ran in, Ian Brady was hacking at the head of a teen boy who was lying on the floor. In spite of blow after blow, the young man continued to twist and scream. Finally, when he laid still, Brady pressed a cushion over his face and tied a cord around the throat to stop the noise.

The room had been cleaned up, and the body was carried upstairs in a plastic bag. The victim was seventeen-year-old Edward Evans, who had been picked up from a pub that evening. Scaredy Smith agreed to return with an old stroller the next day, and helped at the disposal of Edward Evans. When he arrived home, Smith was violently sick. When he told Maureen what happened, it was she who decided to call the police. The next morning, Ian was arrested alone due to lack of evidence. Going through the case and after recovering some photographs, the police found Myra’s involvement in the case, and she was eventually arrested. 

On the 6th of May 1966, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were both sentenced to a lifetime imprisonment.  Myra was sent to Holloway and Ian to Durham, however, they wrote consistently. Brady knew from the beginning that he would never be released from jail. On the other hand, Hindley felt there was a good chance of parole. In 1979, Myra wrote an open letter to the jury begging to be released which complicated the alienation between the two lovers. 

In fact, she claimed that she was brainwashed and blackmailed by him in order to help in the disposal of the bodies, and she stated that Brady alone was guilty of the murders and that she was merely his dupe. After consistent attempts, the jury found that Myra’s claims were untrustworthy and declined her proposal for parole. Also, Brady confessed to other murders that took place in Glasgow years before he met Myra. 

The Moors Murders Myra Hindley, a chain smoker, had experienced ill health for much of her 36 years behind bars, suffering from angina, strokes, and osteoporosis. She eventually passed away in November 2002. Ian Brady has died aged 79 at the high-security Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside. His health began to deteriorate a year earlier. Shockingly, his last provocative wish was for his cremated ashes to be scattered on the same moors where he killed and buried his victims, but the judge didn’t allow it. 

Written by: Razki Wassim and Sarra Barnoussi .

 

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A letter for me

Cher inconnu

Linda Ghazouani

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Dans un monde meilleur où l’existence physique n’existe pas, où l’âme est visible, les sentiments sont purs, ressentis, et même les idées les plus complexes sont comprises, j’écris pour toi mon cher étranger tout ce que je n’ai jamais osé avouer. C’était une nuit douce et silencieuse. On était seuls et on était libres.

Loin de toute voix qui nous empêchait d’être nous-mêmes. Loin de ce monde qui ne cessait de nous accaparer le souffle. Loin des attentes, de l’hypocrisie, et de la méchanceté gratuite, loin de ce monde. Je ne te connais pas, je t’écris tout en sachant que je n’aurai jamais une réponse de ta part, et pourtant cela me rassure. Je t’écris ces petits mots pour partager avec toi une partie de moi que j’ai toujours gardé cachée, me vois-tu alors ? Moi aussi, j’ai peur de l’inconnu, mais pas de toi cher inconnu, bien au contraire, toi tu es ma liberté.

Je n’ai jamais su comment me présenter. J’avais l’habitude de prononcer un prénom que je n’ai jamais choisi pour faire l’affaire et je pensais que ceci était suffisant. Ça n’a jamais été le cas, n’est-ce pas ? D’ailleurs, cher étranger, je n’ai jamais compris ce phénomène de vouloir résumer tout un être complexe en quelques mots. Quelle partie de moi devrais-je choisir pour la montrer aux autres ?

Mon Cher Étranger, je t’avouerais en premier lieu que je suis quelqu’un d’observateur, et que je passe la moitié de mes journées à penser et mes nuits à écrire. Voyez-vous cher étranger, je me réveille chaque jour en espérant voir un monde nouveau et meilleur, pour au final faire face à la triste réalité que ce monde dans lequel nous vivons manque de vie.

J’aimerais tant faire remonter le temps, pour pouvoir trouver cette chaleur qui manque, pour pouvoir savourer la vie encore une fois et profiter de chaque petit détail. J’aimerais tant faire remonter le temps, pour pouvoir encore une fois croire en la bonté des Hommes, la noblesse de l’humanité et la beauté du futur. J’essaies chaque jour de suivre les pas de Dieu, de négliger tout ce mal qui nous entoure.

Parfois, j’essaies de le justifier et de lui donner un sens. Ce monde est si vaste et spacieux au point que je ne cesse de le remplir avec mes innombrables rêves et souhaits. Maintenant, j’ai l’impression qu’aucun espace ne me suffira amplement…

J’aimerais tant recroiser la rue, tout en souriant à cet étranger en face de moi, faire voler mon cerf-volant aussi haut que mes attentes, regarder le ciel pendant des heures, marcher sous la pluie, rencontrer cet ancien ami avec qui je riais de tout et de rien, laisser court à ma propre imagination et tomber amoureuse encore une fois de l’art, de l’expression de soi, de la musique et donner un rythme à cette vie monotone, danser, danser jusqu’au lever de soleil , laisser ses rayons réchauffer ma peau, et sentir l’air frais jouer avec mes cheveux, courir après mes rêves pour au final rendre cette vie, encore une fois, magique.

Moi ? J’adore les nuits. Tout me semble calme, mystérieux. J’adore regarder les étoiles, et rêver qu’un jour peut-être, je pourrai les toucher, d’imaginer que quelque chose se cache derrière, que ces petits points lumineux sont ceux que j’ai rencontré pendant ce long chemin appelé la vie, et qui ont fini par me quitter. J’adore le fait que lorsque je m’allonge et que je fixe des yeux le ciel, j’ai ce sentiment de flotter dans l’espace.

D’ailleurs mon cher étranger, tu devras essayer cette habitude que je garde depuis mon enfance. Il me suffit de fermer les yeux pour voir tous ces différents souvenirs défiler dans ma tête. Je me souviens de chaque personne qui, un jour, a croisé mon chemin comme si je viens tout juste de la croiser, et cela me rend nostalgique. Je fuis souvent tout ce qui me semble inconfortable, et donc je me fuis moi-même.

La vulnérabilité m’attire. La sensibilité m’attire. Dans un monde où l’on confond nature humaine et faiblesse, oser être transparent est un art. Et je t’assure que le fait que ceux qui m’entourent ne savourent pas la vie de la même façon que moi me perturbe.

Je me confie à toi alors, Cher Inconnu, parce qu’un étranger ami est meilleur qu’un ami étranger.

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