In past episodes, I have talked about Rose West and Joanna Dennehy, the second and third woman to be sentenced to life in the UK. However, who was the first? Thanks zombiequeenstrange on Instagram for sending a DM on Myra Hindley. Myra is the first woman in the UK to get a life sentence the UK. It wasn’t the number of victims but the horrific murders that she committed alongside her boyfriend Ian Brady as to why she was sentenced to life. Supposedly, Rose West and Myra Hindley were in a relationship at the same prison in 1995. However, West ended it when she found Myra too dangerous. Some have refuted this, but if it’s true, to have a woman who committed horrible crimes, even murdering her daughter, to say that Myra was too dangerous is telling.
On July 23, 1942, Myra Hindley was born in Gorton Manchester to Nellie and Bob Hindley. As with many female killers, her childhood was not the happiest. Myra was regularly beaten by parents, as well as living in poverty. When her sister was born in 1046, Myra went to live with her grandmother. While Myra just wanted to read books and imagine herself in the worlds, she imagined her dad had another story while reading. He wanted his daughter to be tough, so he taught her how to fight. Even so, Myra was a pretty straight-laced kid and was well-liked and popular. When she was 15, her 13-year old friend Michael Higgins drowned. Myra took it to her and blamed herself for his death because she was supposed to have gone swimming with him but didn’t. She began going to the Catholic church after his death. Myra also dropped out of school.
Her father suffered a stroke around this time and was left disabled. He became more abusive towards Myra’s mother. Myra found this out and started beating her father. The tables had turned.
After dropping out, Myra took a job with an engineering firm, and at 17 years old, she got engaged to Ronnie Sinclair. The engagement was short-lived, and Myra called it off, saying that Ronnie was too immature for her.
In 1961, Myra went to work at a chemical distribution company. It was here she met her future partner in murder Ian Brady.
Myra and Ian
During a Christmas party at work in 1961, Ian Brady would ask Myra Hindley out on a date. Myra was ecstatic. She had a massive crush on her coworker and would write in her diary about her hopes that he would ask her out one day. They went on their date and quickly hit it off. He started showing his anti-religion stance and his love for the Nazi, especially their leader Hitler, and Marquis de Sade. After spending time together, they headed to her house, where she still lived with her grandmother.
While her grandmother slept, the two talked while drinking two bottles of wine. The two had sex, and Myra Hindley lost her virginity that night. Ian Brady says, “they were inventive,” while Myra says he beat and bit her while having sex. In her diary, Myra wrote, “I hope Ian and I love each other all our lives and get married and are happy ever after.”
They spent more and more time together, and Myra believed everything that Ian believed. Myra would write in letters that their relationship was more like master and servant. Ian said it was like a teacher and student. Either way, you can see that Myra was extremely submissive to Ian. It got to the point that Myra, who had become a devout Roman Catholic after her friend’s death, had now denounced her religion due to Ian being against organized religion.
Two years after meeting, Ian said he wanted to rob a bank and asked if Myra could be the getaway driver. Myra learned how to drive a car and got her license. She also started practicing how to shoot a gun. The robbery didn’t happen because they turned their attention to something darker to do together.
The two created their communication. Things like if they saw a male or female they were attracted to would say “DC,” which means delicious creature. They also started talking about murdering someone. They decided to murder Myra’s ex-boyfriend Ronnie Sullivan. Murdering, Ronnie consumed their conversations. They discussed all the details to make sure that they kill him without getting caught. Myra would say later that she had no idea that they would kill someone, but according to Ian, they had been planning a murder before they did it. They even created a 30-page document on what to do and what not to do. This document caused them to abandon murdering Ronnie because one of the rules was not to be connected to the victim or location.
On July 12, 1963, they set out to do the perfect murder. Myra was driving a van, and Ian was on a motorbike. They spotted 16-year old Pauline Reade, who happened to be a friend of Myra’s sister. Pauline was walking down the street, heading to dance at a social club. She was going alone because none of her friends could go with her. Myra asked Pauline if she could help her look for her missing glove. Pauline knew who Myra was, so she agreed to help her and got in the van. Myra took Pauline to the moor, and Ian was there pretending to be looked for the glove as well. Ian would grab Pauline and drop her to the floor. Pauline begged Myra to tell Ian to stop. Even with the girl’s pleading, Myra said she left and returned to the van. Ian said that Myra helped undress the girl, and the two performed sexual activities on the girl. Myra beat Pauline repeatedly and tried stabbing her but couldn’t. Ian then took the knife and slit Pauline’s throat, where the girl died. The two buried the girl in the moors.
After murdering Pauline, the two didn’t plan the next murder until three months later. Ian was exploring his sexuality by frequenting gay bars. Myra was having an affair with a married police officer Norman Sutton. The affair ended when Ian found out and threatened Norman.
They used a rented car, and they put a knife, shovel, and rope in the trunk. Myra bought a black wig to hide her bleach blonde hair. On November 23, 1963, the two went to Ashton-Under-Lyne and saw 12-year old John Kilbride. Myra asked John if he could help her carry some boxes to the car. She said she would also give him a ride. John said, ok. John was in the passenger seat while Myra drove, and Ian was in the backseat. They drove to the moors. Ian raped John and cut his throat after he was done. They buried him in the moors as well. The two would go back to the moors to make sure the bodies were still buried and take pictures.
Seven months later, on June 16, 1964, the two targetted 12-year old Keith Bennett. Once again, Myra lured the boy into getting in the car. They drove to the moors where Ian raped and strangled the boy. This time they took a photograph of Keith’s body. During the investigation for the missing Keith, his stepfather Jimmy Johnson was who the police suspected, so the couple was clear.
On December 26, 1964, they saw 10-year old Lesley Ann Downey at a fair on Boxing Day. As with the other victims, Myra lured the girl with needing help carrying something to the car. She was able to get the girl in the car. At Myra’s house, they undressed and gagged the girl. Lesley was raped and tortured. The worst part was that the two recorded the girl’s tragic last moments. Myra is heard telling the girl to shut up when the girl tried pleading for her life. After they murdered Lesley, they washed her body and wrapped it in bedsheets. The next day, they buried Lesley’s body in the moors.
The couple didn’t commit another murder for almost a year. Myra’s sister Maureen and her boyfriend David moved close to Myra and Ian. The two couples hung out a lot. At one point, Ian told David how he committed murder. David seemed skeptical, and Ian didn’t like it.
On October 6, 1965, the two went to the Manchester Central Railway Station and saw 17-year old Edward Evans. Ian started chatting with him and asked if he wanted to grab a drink at his house. The two headed to their home. While they were drinking wine, Ian told Myra to get David. David went back to the house with Myra. While he was there, he heard a loud scream and ran into the living room where he saw Ian grab an ax and repeatedly hack the poor boy. He then strangled him with an electric wire.
David was horrified and was terrified that he was next, so he helped wrap Edward’s body in sheets. They decided to put the body in the spare room, and David said he would come back tomorrow to help them dispose of the body.
When David got home, he told Maureen. She said that they had to tell the police. On October 7, 1965, the two went to a telephone and called the police. The two had a carving knife and waited by the phone until the police came. David and Maureen were frightened that they were next. David had past run-ins with the law, so not all the police officers believed him, but they decided to check it out.
The police headed to Myra’s and Ian’s house. Myra nonchalantly showed them around the house. However, upstairs, there was a locked door. The police officer asked for the key. Myra reluctantly gave him the key where Edward Evans’ body was. Initially, only Ian was arrested. However, on October 11, 1965, Myra Hindley was arrested as an accessory.
When questioned, David told them that Ian had boasted about murdering others. When they searched the house, they found some notebooks and saw the name of their second victim, 12-year old John Kilbride. They also found that there were tons of pictures of the moors. As well as the photos and videos of their third victim 10-year old Leslie Ann Downey. This is when they found out that Myra was not just an accessory but a partner.
The police decided to use the pictures of the moors and started digging in those areas. The bodies of Leslie Ann Downey and John Kilbride were found.
Maureen was disowned by Myra’s and her mother because she had betrayed the family. There was a public outcry, so Myra and Ian had extra police officers around them during the trial.
In the trial, the recording of 10-year old Leslie was played. The courtroom was filled with people crying, hearing the ordeal the young girl had to go through. The only two who did not react were Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Ian Brady was found guilty of all three murders. Myra was found guilty of Edward Evans and Lesley Ann Downey’s murders but only guilty of John Kilbride’s accessory.
Pauline Reade’s and Keith Bennett’s bodies had not been found.
Myra Hindley was sentenced to two life sentences plus seven years in prison. The first woman in the UK to be sentenced to life.
In prison, Myra was repeatedly attacked by other prisoners. As people know, child abusers and murderers don’t do well in prison. She was still corresponding with Ian Brady until 1972, when she cut all ties. Myra also returned to religion. Other prisoners said it would help her appeal.
In 1974, Myra tried to escape with the help of a guard, Tricia Cairns, who had fallen in love with her. She was given a third life sentence while Tricia got six years.
Four years later, a tenth anniversary of the Moors Murders came out. 19-year old Josie O’Dwyer read it. She attacked Myra so viciously that she needed plastic surgery and could only eat her food through a straw for six weeks.
On July 1, 1987, Pauline Reade’s body was discovered. No additional sentences were given because Myra and Ian were already in prison for life. Unfortunately, Keith’s body has never been found.
Myra started blaming Ian and saying she was also a victim. She tried to appeal three times was denied each time.
On November 15, 2002, Myra died from bronchial pneumonia. Myra remained a hated woman to the point that no local funeral home would cremate her body. They had to find someone outside of town. No one showed up for her funeral. Her family all lived anonymously and under assumed names. Four months later, Tricia Cairns scattered Myra’s ashes in Stalybridge Country Park.
Myra Hindley quickly followed Ian Brady. Even though he was the one who started the plot to murder people, she was a willing participant. This shows that it is evil in a person who would think it’s ok to sexually torture and murder kids. She tried saying that Ian was beating, raping, and threatening her to commit these crimes alongside her. Myra can pretend that she was a victim, but she wasn’t.