Sunday 2 October 2022 10:21 PM Moor landowner says he promised Keith Bennett's mother he would never stop ... trends now

Sunday 2 October 2022 10:21 PM Moor landowner says he promised Keith Bennett's mother he would never stop ... trends now
Sunday 2 October 2022 10:21 PM Moor landowner says he promised Keith Bennett's mother he would never stop ... trends now

Sunday 2 October 2022 10:21 PM Moor landowner says he promised Keith Bennett's mother he would never stop ... trends now

The owner of the land where police are searching for Keith Bennett told yesterday how he promised the schoolboy's dying mother Winnie he would never stop looking for him.

Chris Crowther, 65, said he hoped the body of the 12-year-old Moors murder victim would finally be found.

Greater Manchester Police launched a dig on his land on Friday after an amateur sleuth found suspected human remains.

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

Mr Crowther shares author Russell Edwards' theory that serial killer Ian Brady meticulously planned the burials, placing his female victims on one side of the A635 road and the boys on the other.

Yesterday the farmer revealed for the first time that he too could have fallen victim to the Moors Murderers, who killed five children. 

He described how Brady pulled up beside him outside his school in 1963 as he and Myra Hindley were embarking on their killing spree.

Farmer Chris Crowther, who owns the land being searched. He said he hoped 12-year-old Keith Bennett would finally be found

Farmer Chris Crowther, who owns the land being searched. He said he hoped 12-year-old Keith Bennett would finally be found

Speaking for the first time about the chilling encounter, Mr Crowther said: 'I can always remember waiting for a taxi from St Mary's Primary School in [the nearby village of] Greenfield at about 3.30pm and Brady stopped by the side of me and looked straight at me as I was waiting for a taxi to come home.

'I ran back into school. Those scary eyes, they were looking straight at me. My mother said never speak to strangers.

'I had that drummed into me so I ran back into school. He just stopped and stared, but I moved away quite quickly.

Farmer told Keith's late mother Winnie (pictured) that he would never stop looking for him

Farmer told Keith's late mother Winnie (pictured) that he would never stop looking for him 

'I told my mum and dad there was a man watching me at the side of the road. I was about six.'

Months later he was to encounter Brady again on the moors. He said: 'I was walking back some sheep with my dad Harold and they [Hindley and Brady] were canoodling on a rock, and my dad went mad – he told them to go home.

'It was shearing time in 1963. I never forgot his face when he looked at my dad.

'I never forget their eyes, such scary eyes. Myra had a leopard-print coat on, he had his long mac on.

'It was below the farm on the south side, it was within half a mile of the graves. They were only about 20 yards off away from us. I can always remember my dad going off on one, but Brady never spoke back.

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 

'I was about the same age as the other children being abducted.' The infamous murders on the 5,000 acres of land, owned by the Crowthers for generations, have left their mark on the family. He recalls that a family member was nine or ten when John Kilbride was found.

'They started saying, 'I heard them. I heard them one night screaming for their life,' he said. 'It affected them so badly we had to put them in hospital for about ten days to settle them down.

'They always said that they heard those screams.

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