I caught Moors Murderers – what I heard on torture tape haunted me for decades

The police officer who arrested the notorious Moors Murderers said that a tape recording made by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley still haunted him 40 years later.

Brady and Hindley took photographs and made audio recordings that provided the crucial evidence that saw them convicted for five vile murders. Some of the most damning evidence was stashed in a suitcase that Brady had kept at Manchester's Central Station.

One reel-to-reel tape documented the harrowing torture of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey. Former Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Fairley said he’d never be able to forget what he heard on that tape.

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Both Hindley and Brady's voices could be heard on the tape, challenging Hindley’s claims that she had only stood guard while Brady killed the children. Both of them were torturing and sexually abusing Lesley as Hindley repeatedly shouted at the sobbing young girl, telling her to shut up.

Fairley said: “I'm now 70 years of age, that's 40 years ago and it still makes the hairs on the back of my neck start to stand up when I think what actually is on that tape. They are torturing a little girl and at the same time playing music in the background and Myra Hindley is telling her to shut up and they're obviously taking photographs of her.”

The Absolute Crime podcast relates how, when Huntley was confronted with the tape recording, she wept – knowing that it placed her at the heart of the sick crimes and no jury would believe her protestations of innocence.

Fairley spoke about some of the other disturbing evidence he had to sift through. “I found a photograph of a little girl, and she had a scarf tied round about her mouth, and she was naked,” she explained. Lesley had been snatched from a Manchester funfair on Boxing Day, 1964.

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Even after the conviction of the killers, Fairley continued to support the families of the victims, working tirelessly in the search for Keith Bennett’s body.

The 12-year-old went missing while on his way to see his grandmother on 16 June 1964. Brady and Hindley only admitted the murders of Keith, and 16-year-old Pauline Reade in 1987. Only Pauline’s body was found. In October 2022, Greater Manchester Police officially abandoned the search for Keith's body.

When DCS Fairley died, just two years after giving the interview about the tape recording, his widow, Diane said: “He worked on the Moors Murder enquiry until it came to trial – he considered both Brady and Hindley to be truly evil.”

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