Saturday 1 October 2022 02:06 AM Little innocent Keith Bennett in NHS glasses was led off by Ian Brady 'like a ... trends now

Saturday 1 October 2022 02:06 AM Little innocent Keith Bennett in NHS glasses was led off by Ian Brady 'like a ... trends now
Saturday 1 October 2022 02:06 AM Little innocent Keith Bennett in NHS glasses was led off by Ian Brady 'like a ... trends now

Saturday 1 October 2022 02:06 AM Little innocent Keith Bennett in NHS glasses was led off by Ian Brady 'like a ... trends now

Keith Bennett lived in a red-brick, end of terrace house on Eston Street in Manchester. Outside, there was, until relatively recently, a poignant reminder of the little boy with wire-framed NHS glasses; it was a wall with goalposts painted on it — by Keith — but which has now been knocked down after falling into disrepair.

‘They seemed to have been there forever and then one day about ten years ago they were gone,’ said a neighbour.

In almost every other respect, though, the house and the street where Keith Bennett spent his cruelly short life is exactly the same as he would have remembered.

Keith Bennett was snatched by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964. He is their only victim who has never been found

Keith Bennett was snatched by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964. He is their only victim who has never been found

Keith lived in a red-brick, end of terrace house on Eston Street in Manchester. In almost every respect, the house and the street where Keith spent his cruelly short life is exactly the same as he would have remembered

Keith lived in a red-brick, end of terrace house on Eston Street in Manchester. In almost every respect, the house and the street where Keith spent his cruelly short life is exactly the same as he would have remembered

It was around 7.45pm on June 16, 1964 — four days after his 12th birthday — that Keith walked out of his front door for the last time with his mum Winnie and his younger siblings. The kids were going to spend the night with their nan, just a short stroll away on the other side of the busy Stockport Road, to give their mam a break.

They usually walked together but on this particular evening his brother Alan and sister Maggie went on ahead.

Keith, who was extremely short-sighted, had broken his glasses the day before so his mam accompanied him most of the way and made sure he got across Stockport Road safely.

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

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

Keith, pictured left with two young boys in Manchester. His brother Alan shared a bedroom with him on Eston Street, which is in the Longsight district of Manchester

Keith, pictured left with two young boys in Manchester. His brother Alan shared a bedroom with him on Eston Street, which is in the Longsight district of Manchester

Then she kissed him goodbye. She never saw Keith again.

Somewhere between Stockport Road and the few hundred yards to his nan’s house in Morton Street, a Mini Traveller estate pulled up alongside him.

The driver, a young blonde woman, wound down the window. Could he help her carry some boxes, she asked. Keith jumped in the back where her boyfriend was also sitting.

Had Keith been with his brother and sister as he normally was, or arrived a few minutes earlier or later or taken a slightly different route, he might never have got into the car. The driver was 21-year-old Myra Hindley and her passenger — who lived just round the corner from Keith’s nan — Ian Brady.

Myra Hindley, who died in 2002

Ian Brady, who died in 2017 without revealing the location of Bennett's body

Between July 1963 and October 1965 Myra Hindley, left, and  Ian Brady, right murdered five children. Hindley died in 2002 and Brady in 2017 without revealing the location of Bennett's body 

We know that Keith was taken to Saddleworth Moor. We know that he was sexually assaulted and strangled — probably with an old belt from a washing machine — and buried in a shallow grave.

What we have never known, which has haunted his family for nearly 60 years, is where. Now, is the moor about to finally give up its tragic secret?

Just off the A635, the main route between Manchester and Doncaster, there’s a spot known as Eagle Rock which offers a panoramic view of a vast expanse of moorland.

Police are today digging on the Moors for murder victim Keith Bennett for the first time in 35 years to investigate suspected human remains

Police are today digging on the Moors for murder victim Keith Bennett for the first time in 35 years to investigate suspected human remains

Greater Manchester Police forensic staff are pictured today on the Moors

Greater Manchester Police forensic staff are pictured today on the Moors

This is where Brady was brought from his cell in Ashworth maximum high security hospital on Merseyside in the 1980s after offering his ‘assistance’ to locate Keith.

He was playing mind games and had no intention of doing so. The landscape had changed, he said. He was confused. He couldn’t say where he had hidden Keith, after all.

But not far beneath where he once stood — and I am now standing — is a small patch of wasteland where suspected human remains have been found.

What we have never known, which has haunted his family for nearly 60 years, is where Keith's body was buried. Now, is the moor about to finally give up its tragic secret?

What we have never known, which has haunted his family for nearly 60 years, is where Keith's body was buried. Now, is the moor about to finally give up its tragic secret?

The site is in the vicinity of Shiny Brook, a stream which stretches for nearly a mile through the folds of rock and shifting layers of peat on Saddleworth.

Is the location significant? It would seem so.

It is within a few hundred yards of where three Moors Murders victims were buried: Pauline Reade, 16, John Kilbride, 12, and ten-year-old Lesley Ann Downey. Edward Evans, who was 17, was found bludgeoned to death with an axe inside Brady and Hindley’s home in Wardle Brook Avenue in Hyde, Manchester.

Detectives are also looking at a small sample of material thought to be clothing found buried 3ft underground beside the skull. A forensics tent is pictured on Saddleworth Moor today as police search the area for Moor's murder victim Keith Bennett

Greater Manchester Police rushed to send a team of officers and forensic experts to Saddleworth Moor on Thursday night just hours after receiving information from Mr Edwards about his compelling findings

Greater Manchester Police rushed to send a team of officers and forensic experts to Saddleworth Moor on Thursday night just hours after receiving information from Mr Edwards about his compelling findings

Keith, the bespectacled lad with the endearing grin, is the only victim who has never been found.

The depravity of the killing spree which claimed his life and those of four other children in similar circumstances, between 1963 and 1965, is still seen by many as the passing of a more innocent age.

Over the years, Greater Manchester Police have used geologists, geophysicists, archaeologists and anthropologists to help them look for Keith’s body. 

At one point, a U.S. spy satellite was employed in the search and a cryptologist from GCHQ was drafted in to try to crack a possible code in letters shared between Brady and Hindley which might identify his whereabouts.

The terrain around Shiny Brook is probably the most intensely searched few square miles in Britain, perhaps anywhere.

Detectives remove a body of a victim from Saddleworth Moor

Detectives remove a body of a victim from Saddleworth Moor

But now a team of experts, including soil analysts and an archaeologist specialising in human remains — assembled by author Russell Edwards in his seven-year quest to find Keith — have discovered what they believe is the skull of a child aged around 12. 

Samples of earth also revealed the presence of potential human tissue, calcium and other elements such as phosphorus and nickel which are indicators of human, not animal, remains.

The specimens have not yet been subjected to conclusive laboratory testing because the area is a potential crime scene. The police have been informed, however, and are

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