Moors murderer Ian Brady's appeal to be heard in public

Killer to go before mental health tribunal with request to be transferred to Scottish prison

The Moors murderer Ian Brady has won the right, following a newly established legal precedent, for his next appearance before a mental health tribunal to be in public.

Brady, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the sexual torture and killing of five young children and teenagers in the 1960s, is requesting permission to be transferred out of Ashworth high security psychiatric hospital in Merseyside.

The 73-year-old, who was born in Glasgow, wants to be sent to a Scottish prison where, he has previously claimed, he hopes to be allowed to die. No date has yet been set for the hearing. Successive home secretaries have insisted that, because of the sadistic nature and extent of his crimes, he should never be released.

Brady's legal victory was revealed on Friday, in a statement issued by the first-tier health tribunal that deals with health, education and social care cases. He had submitted his application in August.

It is only the second time that a psychiatric patient has been allowed to have an appeal against detention heard in open court. In a short statement, Judge Robert Atherton said: "In a decision given on 17 October 2011, the application by Mr Ian Brady for a hearing in public – that his application dated 4 August 2010 should be held in public – was granted.

"The date of the hearing and appropriate arrangements are presently being determined and will be published as soon as possible. The fact of this decision should be published. The tribunal also ordered that the reasons for the decision must not to be made public."

In October, the first psychiatric patient to have an appeal against detention held in public lost his legal battle to be freed from Broadmoor hospital. Albert Haines, 52, made legal history when he successfully argued that his case should be considered at an open hearing.

His lawyers had argued that under article 6 of the European convention of human rights – which provides for fair trial – psychiatric patients deprived of their liberty ought to have the same right as others to have their cases heard in public.

Haines had been convicted of two counts of attempted wounding in 1986 after he armed himself with a machete and a knife and tried to attack a doctor and a nurse at the Maudsley psychiatric hospital in Camberwell, south London.

There is bound to be strong media interest when Brady, a figure of far greater notoriety, appears in public. He has been detained in Ashworth since 1985 when he was declared criminally insane. Brady and his partner, Myra Hindley, were responsible for the murders of five young people in the 1960s. They lured children and teenagers to their deaths. The victims were sexually tortured before being buried on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester.

Pauline Reade, 16, disappeared on her way to a disco on 12 July 1963 and John Kilbride, 12, was snatched in November the same year. Keith Bennett was snatched on 16 June 1964 after he left home to visit his grandmother; Lesley Ann Downey, 10, was lured away from a funfair on Boxing Day 1964; and Edward Evans, 17, was killed in October 1965.

Brady was jailed for life at Chester assizes in 1966 for the murders of John, Lesley Ann and Edward. Hindley was convicted of killing Lesley Ann and Edward and shielding Brady after John's murder, and jailed for life. In 1987 the pair admitted killing Keith and Pauline.

Both were taken back to Saddleworth Moor in 1987 to help police find the remains of the missing victims but only Pauline's body was found. Hindley died in prison in November 2002, aged 60.


Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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