Before Joanna Dennehy, Moors Murderer Myra Hindley was the most infamous female serial killer in Britain

Before Joanna Dennehy, Moors Murderer Myra Hindley was the most infamous female serial killer in Britain
Myra Hindley and Ian Brady (Source: Getty Images)

ITV's new documentary 'Joanna Dennehy: Serial Killer' explores the childhood of the notorious criminal and her path to becoming one of Britain's most dangerous women. The 33-year-old was the perpetrator of the infamous Peterborough ditch murders, wherein she killed three men, Lukasz Slaboszewski, John Chapman and Kevin Lee, in 2013. Her crimes made sure that she became only the third woman in the UK to have been given a whole life sentence for her crimes. The other two were Myra Hindley and Rosemary West. 

While Dennehy and West are still serving their life sentences, Hindley died of respiratory failure in prison in 2002 at the age of 60 years.

Hindley along with her lover Ian Brady became known as the Moors Murderers, given that they buried the bodies of their victims in the Saddleworth Moor located next to Manchester. She probably became Britain's most well-known serial killer along with Brady, with whom she raped and murdered five young children. 


Early Life

She was born in England in the year 1942 on July 23 and grew up with her grandmother. After a close male friend of hers drowned when she was 15 years old, she chose to leave school and decided to become a Roman Catholic. She crossed paths with Brady, who was working as a store clerk and had just been released from prison, in 1961 and fell madly in love with him, which is when her downward spiral began. 


Britain's most famous serial killer, Myra Hindley (Source: Getty Images)


Despite her chaotic upbringing, she was well-liked by children and their parents. Myra would often go swimming with one of her few close male friends, Michael Higgins, and on the one occasion that she did not go with him, he drowned, leaving her absolutely devastated. 


Deranged fascination 

When Michael died, Myra was fascinated with his body when it was laid out. She eventually left school and converted her religion. Myra had also become obsessed and fascinated by sights which most others would avoid. For example, a decapitated dog lying next to a railway track, a cat torn in half by two dogs; a boy bleeding to death after being crushed by a lorry.


Meeting her partner in crime and lover

Myra met Brady in 1961 and was instantly drawn to him and allowed him to manipulate and control her. For the longest time, Brady showed no interest in her and when he finally did, she was ecstatic. Brady also told Myra, a Catholic girl, that there was no God, and just for him she stopped going to church. As she grew up, Brady urged her to read of about French writer Marquis De Sade. 


Myra Hindley's partner in crime and lover, Ian Brady (Source: Getty Images)


Myra did not ever question Brady and he even tested her by planning to rob a bank. In 1963, she decided to learn how to drive in order to be his getaway driver and also bought two guns. Brady was assured that Myra was ready to do anything for him. According to Myra, there was one final action which pushed her over the edge to start committing real-life crimes- she woke up one morning and found Brady had drugged, raped and bitten her.


He even photographed her in the process. This led to her being so brutalized and brainwashed that there was no turning back for her. 

The Moors Murders

Brady already had plans for rape and murder and in 1963, he and Myra killed their first victim, Pauline Reade, who was a friend of Myra's younger sister Maureen. Just four months later, 12-year-old John Kilbride vanished and was never seen again. In 1964, 12-year-old Keith Bennett followed suit and disappeared. Later that same year, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey disappeared from a local fair. 


A view of Saddleworth Moor in the South Pennines annotated to show the burial locations of two of the victims of Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, 10th December 1965 (Source: Getty Images)


In 1965, Myra's brother-in-law, David Smith, saw Brady killing 17-year-old Edward Evans with an ax and reported it to the police. Smith also shared that Brady had mentioned that more bodies were buried on Saddleworth Moor.


It was only in 1987, that Myra and Brady confessed that they killed 16-year-old Pauline Reade and 12-year-old Keith Bennett, whose body was never found. 

The Aftermath

Both Myra and Brady were brought to trial in 1966 and pleaded not guilty to the murders of Edward Evans, Lesley Ann Downey, and John Kilbride. Brady was found guilty of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey, John Kilbride, and Edward Evans though Myra was found guilty of killing Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans and assisting Brady.


Both were jailed for life. 

Moors murderer Myra Hindley (1942 - 2002, center) with prison officers at Holloway prison, London, 1st February 1974 (Source: Getty Images)


In 1970, Myra revealed that she had broken all ties with Brady and attempted to regain her freedom. However, in 1987, the public release of her full confession where she admitted to being involved in all the five murders, led to her parole applications being denied. She died of respiratory failure while incarcerated in 2002.


Brady died of restrictive pulmonary disease at Ashworth Hospital on 15 May 2017 while still serving his sentence.

Share this article:

 Joanna dennehy Moors Murders Myra Hindley the most hated woman in Britain Ian Brady 5 children dead