Ian Brady makes public plea to be transferred from hospital so he can die in prison

In first public appearance in for decades,  hunger-striker seeks decision that will end force-feeding

For most of the day all that was visible of Britain's most reviled child killer was his long, scruffy, grey quiff bobbing away busily in the bottom left hand corner of the screen as he intensely took notes and occasionally muttered loudly in disagreement.

The defiant staring eyes of the notorious Teddy Boy prison image were shielded behind dark glasses. Taped to his lip could be seen the naso-intestinal tube, through which for the past 14 years Ian Brady has been force fed by hospital authorities charged with keeping him alive.

Now aged 75, Brady's gaunt features are little altered despite half a century of incarceration. The surviving moors murderer today began his long-fought-for mental health tribunal in which he is seeking to prove he is sane enough to have the feeding line removed and be returned to a maximum security prison where he can control the time and manner of his death.

Relayed via a grainy videolink from Ashworth secure hospital on Merseyside 40 miles away where he is detained, fleeting glimpses of Brady - who it was revealed considers his crimes "an existential exercise" and "petty compared to politicians and soldiers in relation to wars "- were relayed to two Manchester courtrooms separately packed with media and his victims' relatives.

The five-time killer has not been seen by anyone other than his doctors, nurses, lawyers and jailers, since a snatched, long-range photograph taken during what was widely-regarded as cynical excursion back on to Saddleworth in 1987.

On that occasion he was responding to being upstaged by the prison confession of his former lover and accomplice Myra Hindley, who died in 2002, and Brady failed to guide police to the grave of couple's final unfound victim Keith Bennett, aged 12.

Today was the first time too that his gravelly, precise voice, still heavily tinted with native Glaswegian, had been heard beyond the confines of prison cell or secure hospital since he corrected a minor point of evidence at Chester Assizes in 1966 following his conviction for murder.

On this occasion too it was a procedural matter on which he spoke - the order of witnesses at the eight day tribunal - before returning to his assiduous note taking and unsolicited utterances.

Those disappointed with the sidelong view of Brady will have to wait until later in the week when, assuming he does not change his mind, he will give evidence on his own behalf.

But the whereabouts of the still missing Keith, who would have been 61 should have lived, will not be discussed, tribunal chair His Honour Judge Atherton, said.

In the meantime it fell to Brady's lawyers and expert witness to argue that he was no longer suffering from schizophrenia or psychosis and that while his personality disorder made him narcissistic, paranoid and prone to regular furious outbursts, he was still "cognitively intact" and effectively untreatable.

Expert panel member Dr Cameron Boyd described how Brady was happy to reveal his feelings about his monstrous crimes. "I asked about previous behaviour that might be seen as abnormal, regarding to his offences. He said it was an existential exercise, personal philosophy and interpretation and in some way his behaviour was petty compared to politicians and soldiers in relation to wars," said Dr Boyd.

Details of Brady's "solitary" life inside Ashworth - where he is being detained at the cost of £300,000 a year or seven times as much as a normal prisoner - were revealed. During his twice daily force-feeding sessions it emerged that he plays white noise through head phones to blank out external sounds. He was said to rely on a diet of painkillers and medication to help him sleep, spending his days watching television and writing letters. He also insists the outcome of the tribunal - whose decision must be rubber-stamped by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling - is a politically foregone conclusion

Brady, it emerged likes to tell his many examiners that "57 different types of psychopathology" have been invented to keep him behind bars.

He told his expert witness Dr Adrian Grounds that his symptoms are not real - despite being observed twice talking to himself since he nearly died last year in a seizure. Instead he claims to be play acting, the result of a period observing mentally ill fellow inmates whilst he worked as a cleaner at Wormwood Scrubs.

Dr Grounds said Brady's attitude towards doctors at Ashworth was one of "contempt" and "unremittingly hostile." However, he said his views were not "bizarre" but echoed legitimate concerns raised in the 1999 Fallon report into the then scandal-hit hospital.

The tribunal heard that Brady's mental health went into precipitous decline around 1985 when he was detained under the Mental Health Act. Depressed and withdrawn he began struggling to concentrate - putting excessive amounts of salt on his food, losing weight and hitting the wall of his cell at night with his fist and head. But he had since recovered, it was claimed, despite persistent claims he is being bugged and secretly drugged.

Dr Grounds said it was "inconceivable" that he still required hospital treatment for mental illness and had received no treatment for the past 14 years remaining contemptuous of medical staff with the exception of his primary nurse. Government guidelines recommended that treatment for his personality disorder should be carried out in prison rather than hospital, his lawyers said.

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