Fresh misery for Moors murder victim Keith Bennett’s family as police find NO evidence of human remains on Saddleworth Moor 58 years after 12-year-old was snatched by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
- Keith’s body has been missing ever since he was snatched and slain by murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
- Archaeologists began searching the area last week after author Russell Edwards claimed to have found bones
- Police said scene was being closed following the completion of the excavation by accredited forensic experts
- Force said ‘more analysis’ needed of what author says are Keith’s bones but tests don’t suggest they’re human
Police hunting for the grave of Moors murders victim Keith Bennett based on new claims by an author today called off their week-long search after finding no evidence of human remains on Saddleworth Moor.
The 12-year-old’s body has been missing ever since he was snatched and slain by notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley 58 years ago.
There had been hopes of a breakthrough after bones that appeared like those of a young child were reported to have been found on Saddleworth Moor by an amateur sleuth last Thursday, just a few hundred yards from where the remains of Hindley and Brady’s other young victims were discovered.
But Greater Manchester Police announced today it had abandoned the search after an ‘excavation by accredited forensic experts’ had found ‘no evidence to indicate the presence of human remains’.
The force said forensic scientists have been testing what the author believes are Keith’s bones and ‘though this hasn’t yet indicated the presence of human remains – more analysis is required’. They also said it ‘could not be ruled out’ that the object is ‘plant-based’.
Between July 1963 and October 1965, Brady and Hindley killed five children aged between 10 and 17 in a two-year killing spree which shocked the nation. Keith was last seen by his mother in the early evening of June 16, 1964 after he left home in Eston Street, Longsight, Manchester, on his way to his grandmother’s house nearby.
While two of the victims were discovered on the Moors in 1965, and a third in 1987, Keith was never found, with the location of his burial site taken to the grave following Hindley and Brady’s deaths in 2002 and 2017 respectively.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Hughes said: ‘The items given to us by the member of the public have been examined by a forensic scientist and though this hasn’t yet indicated the presence of human remains – more analysis is required.
‘With regards to the photograph, we have sought the assistance of a forensic botanist. We are now utilising the knowledge and skills of a forensic image expert to put a standard anthropological measurement to the object to assist with identification.
‘At this stage, the indications are that it would be considerably smaller than a juvenile jaw and it cannot be ruled out that it is plant-based.’
Keith Bennett’s body has been missing ever since he was snatched and slain by notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley 58 years ago
Throughout the week forensics officers could still be seen combing for clues on the rugged landscape on Saddleworth Moor in Oldham, Manchester
This afternoon, Greater Manchester Police said the scene was being closed following the completion of the excavation by accredited forensic experts
Keith was murdered by Ian Brady (left) and Myra Hindley (right) in 1964. Brady and Hindley murdered five people in total. Three were later found buried on Saddleworth Moor. Keith’s body was never recovered
Archaeologists began searching the area last week after author Russell Edwards said he believed he had located the makeshift grave of 12-year-old Keith, who was murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.
Mr Edwards believed he had located the youngster’s remains following “extensive soil analysis”.
He commenced his own dig – close to where the other Moors Murders victims were found – and uncovered a skull with teeth present which independent experts are reported to have concluded is human, it is claimed.
The Cold Case Review Unit, supported by specialist officers and staff from across Greater Manchester Police as well as experts from accredited partner agencies, have now completed the search of the area of interest on Saddleworth Moor. At this time, there is no evidence of the presence of human remains.
The search began on Thursday 29 September 2022, when the force was made aware that a member of the public, who had been researching the murder of Keith Bennett by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964, had found evidence suggesting the location of his burial.
Brady and Hindley’s victims were: Pauline Reade, 16, who disappeared on her way to a disco on July 12 1963; John Kilbride, 12, who was snatched in November the same year; Lesley Ann Downey, 10, who was lured away from a funfair on Boxing Day 1964; and Edward Evans, 17, who was axed to death in October 1965.
Brady and Hindley were caught after the Edward Evans murder and Lesley and John’s bodies were recovered from the moor.
They were taken to Saddleworth Moor to help police find the remains of the other victims, but only Pauline’s body was recovered. Brady claimed he could not remember where he had buried Keith.
In 2009, police said a covert search operation on the moor, which used a wealth of scientific experts, also failed to discover any trace of the boy.
Hindley died in jail in 2002 at the age of 60 and Brady died in a high-security hospital in 2017 aged 79.
Forensic teams sifting through earth in Saddleworth Moor on Monday during the search for Keith’s remains
Haunted: Keith’s mum Winnie, who died in 2012 without ever knowing where her son was buried. Pictured with the famous ‘missing’ poster of her son
Speaking after Brady’s death, Greater Manchester Police’s force review officer Martin Bottomley said: ‘It is especially saddening for the family of Keith Bennett that his killers did not reveal to police the whereabouts of Keith’s burial site.
‘A week hardly goes by when we do not receive some information which purports to lead us to Keith but ultimately only two people knew where Keith is.
‘Greater Manchester Police will never close this case. Brady’s death does not change that. We will act on credible and actionable information that will help lead us to him.’
In 2012 – 48 years after Keith’s death – his mother, Winnie Johnson, died aged 78 without fulfilling her wish to give him a Christian burial.
Nazi-obsessed Brady, who was officially diagnosed as a psychopath in 1985, taunted Keith’s brother Alan Bennett, now 66, in a sickening letter in 1991.
Brady insisted he would leave ‘special instructions’ of how to find the child’s remains in his will – but the clues never materialised.
At the onset of the most recent search, Alan took to social media to say there were ‘hundreds of thoughts running through my mind’.
A road closure next to where crime scene investigations officers were searching Saddleworth Moor for Keith’s body
Before they died, Brady and Hindley were taken to Saddleworth Moor to help police find the remains of their victims. Brady claimed he could not remember where he had buried Keith. Pictured: Search teams investigating on October 2
However he expressed his scepticism, writing on Facebook: ‘Apart from believing this is the location for Keith and all the previous graves have been shallow why, if the police were taken to the location, has nothing been discovered as of yet?
‘I cannot escape the feeling that we have been here before.’
Alan wrote: ‘I am just getting frustrated, annoyed, confused and feeling a lot more emotions because there is more to this than meets the eye and I cannot understand why that bloke appears not to have been exact in his information to the police about the location.
‘Surely, he cannot have forgotten exactly where it is after his claims about his years of investigations. Just a few of the hundreds of thoughts running through my mind.
‘Just to be clear about this. I’m not saying there is nothing there, what I will say is that I, and many others are confused, to say the very least.
He added: ‘I’m not saying there is nothing there, what I will say is that I, and many others are confused, to say the very least.’
Alan said he believed Keith’s remains would not be found at the site being excavated – but ‘nobody can rule anything else out’.
The family of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett have hoped in vain that his body would finally be found Pictured: Brother Alan Bennett
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