'Shameless' star to play Myra Hindley

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The Independent Online

The Bolton-born actress is close to signing a deal to portray the notorious child killer in an ITV drama being screened next year to mark the 40th anniversary of the Moors Murders trial.

Ian Brady, who together with Hindley tortured and murdered five children and teenagers from around Manchester before burying their bodies on Saddleworth Moor, will be played by Sean Harris, whose television credits include Judge John Deed and The Bill.

Joanne Froggatt, who recently starred in the television drama Island At War, will play Maureen, Hindley's sister, whose husband went to the police after witnessing the pair murder their final victim.

Granada, which is making the drama, See No Evil: The Story of the Moors Murders, has promised it will be "sober and unsensational". The film has the backing of the relatives of the five murdered children. But Brady's and Hindley's crimes were so shocking that the decision to dramatise them will be considered brave.

Peake, who starred in Faith, the BBC1 drama marking the 20th anniversary of the miners' strike, has been keen to play Hindley for months. In an interview with The Stage newspaper in August, she said: "I've heard there is to be a drama about Myra Hindley and, as an actress, she is a character that I would want to tackle."

The killing spree began in July 1963, when Hindley lured 16-year-old Pauline Reade into her car on a street in Manchester. The teenager was taken to a remote spot on Saddleworth moor and murdered.

Hindley and Brady then killed John Kilbride, 12, in November 1963, after picking him up at a market. They captured their next victim, 12-year-old Keith Bennett, when he was on his way to his grandmother's house. On Boxing Day 1964, the couple killed Lesley Ann Downey, 10, after recording her begging for her life.

In October 1965, Hindley's brother-in-law, David Smith, was tricked into visiting her home in Hattersley, where he witnessed the murder of 17-year-old Edward Evans. Horrified, Smith went to the police.

The following year, Smith's heavily pregnant wife took the stand against her sister at Chester Assizes, where Brady and Hindley were sentenced to life imprisonment, just a few months after the abolition of the death sentence.

Hindley died in prison in November 2002. Brady, who is a patient at the high security psychiatric Ashworth Hospital, Merseyside, has written to Granada threatening legal action if the drama goes ahead.