Police kept body parts of Moors murders victim without family's knowledge

Pauline Reade’s family have discovered some of her remains, including her jaw bone, had been kept at Leeds University by Greater Manchester police

The body parts of one of the Moors murders victims have been kept by police for 30 years, without her family’s knowledge it has emerged.

The family of Pauline Reade, who was murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in July 1963, buried her in Gorton in 1987 following the discovery of her body during a three-month search of Saddleworth Moors.

However, an audit staged after the the death of Brady in May has revealed that some of her remains were housed at the University of Leeds on behalf of Greater Manchester police.

The GMP contacted Jackie, Reade’s niece, before they returned a wooden coffin including her jaw bone and hair samples to the family’s solicitors.

“I am devastated,” said Jackie, 44, who was 13 when Reade was found. “It has brought it all back. I am disgusted that part of Pauline could be kept like this.”

“It was peace of a kind for us, that at last she had been laid to rest, and we had some closure,” she told the Manchester Evening News.

When police initially contacted her she thought it was going to be Pauline’s gold necklace but was heartbroken to find out it was part of her remains that had been separated from her body.

“We thought she was all there together,” she said. “They asked what I wanted to do with the jaw bone. Did I want it donated to science, or cremated? I said no way. These parts should not have been separated from her.”

Pauline Reade
Pauline Reade was murdered in in July 1963. Photograph: PA

The family now faces having to stage a second funeral although they would require four separate licenses from the Ministry of Justice to move the bodies of all the family members from within the shared plot.

Peter Hall, head of civil litigation for Tranters Solicitors of Stockport – the family’s representatives, said to the MEN: “It is an utterly bizarre and disturbing case and I can see no reason why such materials needed to be kept from the family for over 30 years and by doing so it has created great upset and anger that was totally avoidable.”

Martin Bottomley, head of GMP’s cold case unit said: “We recently became aware that human tissue belonging to Pauline Reade had been stored in external premises on behalf of GMP.

“The samples had originally been kept for investigative purposes.”

“This is a deeply sensitive matter and understandably it has caused some upset with the family however, we felt contacting them was the right thing to do and we have given them a number of options, all of which GMP will pay for.

“The Moors murders was one of the most evil acts that happened in this country in the 20th century and although those responsible were brought to justice, we will continue to provide support to the families of the victims in any way that we can.”

Brady and Hindley killed five children aged from 10 to 17 between July 1963 and October 1965.

An appeal to help Reade’s niece with the cost of the reburial has been set up.


Mattha Busby

The GuardianTramp

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