Moors murderer Ian Brady is under observation in hospital tonight after being taken acutely ill at the high security psychiatric unit where he has been held since 1985.
Brady, who has been forcibly fed for the past 12 years after refusing food, is due to make his first appearance in public next week since the trial in which he was convicted of three murders along with his lover Myra Hindley.
The 74-year-old is seeking the right to be transferred to die in a prison in his native Scotland.
A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service said the hearing in Manchester was still due to go ahead although it would be up to the chair of the panel to decide whether it could proceed in his absence should he be too ill to attend.
Brady was taken to Fazakerley Hospital in Liverpool yesterday afternoon where he was ushered in under tight security conditions after collapsing on the ward at Ashworth.
A hospital spokeswoman said: “He is undergoing a series of tests and as a precaution he will be kept in.”
He is believed to be on a respirator in a single room accompanied by two nurses with a further two members of staff stationed outside his door.
His solicitor Richard Nicholas said he hoped the tribunal hearing would not be affected by his client’s sudden deterioration.
There has been mounting interest in Brady’s appearance at the tribunal where he is expected to speak publicly for the first time since his appearance at Chester Assizes in 1966 where he was sentenced to life in prison for the sadistic murders of John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17.
In 1987 Hindley and then Brady confessed to the murders of two other victims – Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12, whose body has never been found. This week Keith’s mother, Winnie Johnson, 78, indicated she would not be attending the hearing but was still determined to discover her son’s remains. “Winnie has made it perfectly clear over the years that she considers Ian Brady should remain in a mental hospital for the remainder of his natural life and not be transferred to a prison either in England or Scotland," said her solicitor John Ainley. Hindley died in jail in November 2002, aged 60.