Hindley in new bid for freedom

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The Independent Online
Myra Hindley has issued a statement which expresses remorse for her part in the Moors murders and argues: ''I have paid my debt to society and atoned for my crimes.''

The statement is part of a 10-page submission - obtained by the Independent - which was sent to Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, to explain why Hindley should be freed after almost 30 years in prison.

Last night, it appeared her appeal would meet with little sympathy from Mr Howard, when he acknowledged for the first time that for the most notorious killers ''life means life''.

Hindley and about 20 others, including the serial killers Peter Sutcliffe and Dennis Nilsen, are expected to be told soon that they will never be freed. The move follows changes, forced upon the Home Secretary by the Law Lords, which ended the practice of never telling those serving mandatory life sentences for murder how long they would serve. They now have a right to be given a release date or told they will stay in jail until they die.

Supporters of Hindley, 52, who was jailed for her part in the murders of five children, argue that she has become the longest serving female prisoner of modern times largely because of a media campaign that continues to demonise her despite evidence of her rehabilitation.

Hindley's statement will be featured as part of a Channel 4 Witness documentary to be screened tonight. It says: ''Words are inadequate to express my deep sorrow and remorse for the crimes I have committed and the pain they have caused. But after 30 years in prison, I think I have paid my debt to society and atoned for my crimes. I ask people to judge me as I am now and not as I was then.''

The submission by Andrew McCooey, Hindley's solicitor, argues that:

- She was under the influence of Ian Brady, who intimidated her and blackmailed her with pornographic photographs he took after drugging her.

- In 1987, long after being convicted of the murders of two children, she made a full confession about the murders of three other children, ending the uncertainty surrounding their disappearances.

- She has broken with Brady, expressed deep remorse and made ''exceptional progress'', earning favourable parole reports, since 1966.

Mr Howard has made clear to Mr McCooey that he will consider public opinion when reaching his decision.

Little hope of freedom, page 6