Detectives investigate 'third' Moors murderer

Chief Reporter,Terry Kirby
Wednesday 11 December 2002 01:00

Detectives are investigating claims by a woman that the Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, accompanied by a second man, tried to abduct her at the height of their killing spree in 1964.

Christine Slater, 51, is said to have been reminded of the incident when reading last month of the death of Hindley.

Mrs Slater, a personal assistant from Glossop, Derby-shire, was interviewed by Greater Manchester detectives on Monday night and her account is now being evaluated. The most important suggestion is that a third person was involved and the woman is said to have identified him to police.

According to her account, given to the Manchester Evening News, the attempted abduction took place in August 1964 when she was 13 years old. She was walking her dog in the Denton area of Manchester when a car containing Hindley, Brady in the front and the third person in the back drew up. She is said to have told police that Brady tried to persuade her to accompany them and then the second man attempted to drag her into the car, but was attacked by her dog. After a passer-by came to her assistance, the car sped off.

If her account is accurate, the attempt was after the murders of Pauline Reade, 16, John Kilbride and Keith Bennett, both 12, but before those of Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17. Police were finally alerted by David Smith, Hindley's brother-in-law, who was in their house at the time of the Evans murder.

Brady and Hindley were convicted in 1966 of the murders of Kilbride and Downey while Brady was convicted of the Evans murder and Hindley convicted of being an accessory. In 1987 they confessed to abducting and killing Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett. Reade's body was found after Hindley and Brady visited Saddleworth Moor outside Manchester to help with the search; Bennett's is still missing.

Why Ms Slater has only now come forward is not clear. She would have been well aware of events at the time and says she knew one of the victims, John Kilbride. At the time of the trial, there was speculation of the involvement of a third person and suggestions of other abduction attempts.

If detectives accept her account, there is almost no prospect of a prosecution of Brady, who has often expressed his wish to die and is being force fed at Ashworth Special Hospital on Merseyside. Although a case might be considered against the second man, the Crown Prosecution Service would have to consider, because of the passage of time, whether it was in the public interest and whether there was a chance of a conviction.