Injunction halts Brady book

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The Independent Online

A book written by Moors murderer Ian Brady about serial killing could be banned in Britain, it was reported today.

The Gates of Janus, which is said to profile the minds of serial killers such as Peter Sutcliffe, has been sold to American publisher, Feral House, and will be in US bookshops by the end of the year.

Under a deal with a British distributor, copies of the 300-page book were due to go on sale in the UK November.

But BBC News Online said today that Ashworth Hospital, where Brady is being held, has won a temporary injunction stopping publication in Britain while the book's contents are checked.

As a result, a shipment of 3,500 copies of the book to Britain has been halted, pending a hearing next week in front of a High Court judge.

The book's American publisher, Adam Parfrey, told BBC News Online the hospital's concerns were not justified.

"This legal challenge has no merit whatsoever. The book does not discuss Ashworth or its patients," he said.

Mr Parfrey said the book was partly a philosophical analysis of the human condition and crime in general, and partly an attempt by Brady to profile specific criminals, in the manner of the FBI.

The Victims of Crime Trust has objected to the publication of the book, and is calling on bookshops in the UK not to stock the title.

There has been speculation about the money that Brady might earn from sales of the book.

However Brady's former lawyer, Benedict Birnberg, who remains the executor of the killer's estate, told BBC News Online that an advance of about 5,000 dollars (£3,420) plus any subsequent royalties, would be used to help support Brady's mother, who is now in her nineties.

"Ian Brady will receive no money himself," he said.

But he confirmed that until the issue is resolved, copies of the book cannot be imported.

"The effect of the injunction is to ban publication and distribution of the book in this country until the order is lifted," he said.

"If any copies of the book came into the country at the moment they could be impounded."

He said it was "very unusual" for such action to be taken against a book.

But Winnie Johnson, whose 12-year-old son Keith Bennett was murdered by Brady in 1964, has claimed the book may hold vital clues to where his body is hidden.

She said: "I am convinced he will have put something in this book about it.

"They say it is not about the killings he did, but I think he will try to hide something in it.

"That is how his mind works. He likes to play games because he thinks he is cleverer than everyone else. But he won't pull the wool over my eyes."

Mrs Johnson claims to have known about Brady's ambitions to be a published author for several years.

She said: "Years ago he wrote to my late husband to ask permission to publish a book and donate all profits to charity.

"We wrote back to give our permission and we begged to see a copy, but never heard any more."

In Roman mythology, the Gates to the Temple of Janus were closed during peacetime, but opened when the country was at war.