Police yet to find remains of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett in dig

Amateur sleuth claims to have come across the body of the boy murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley

The brother of Keith Bennett, a Moors murder victim, has said he “cannot escape the feeling that we have been here before” as police have yet to find human remains in a dig that began on Thursday.

Police were taken to a spot on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester, by an author and amateur investigator who claimed to have come across the body of the 12-year-old who was murdered 58 years ago by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

Alan Bennett had hoped the situation would be “clear and final” by the end of Saturday but forensic science teams have not found any physical evidence at the site near to where the bodies of the four other Moors murder victims were recovered.

Numerous searches of the area have taken place over the years in an attempt to find Keith, whose burial location was never revealed by his killers. Brady died in 2017 and Hindley in 2002.

Keith’s mother, Winnie Johnson, regularly returned to Saddleworth Moor in the hope of finding her son before her death in August 2012.

Alan Bennett said police had dug as deep as 3ft but there was no sign of his brother’s body.

“Apart from believing this is the wrong location for Keith and all the previous graves have been shallow, why, if the police were taken to the location, has nothing been discovered yet?” he wrote in a Facebook post on Friday evening.

Progress on the site has been slow due to incredibly strong winds and driving sleet. Forensic science teams were forced to halt for the day at about 4.45pm on Friday due to wind uprooting the two blue forensics tents.

Greater Manchester police force’s review officer, Cheryl Hughes, said on Saturday: “Following information received which indicated that potential human remains had been found on the Moors, specialist officers have today resumed excavation of a site identified to us.

“This information included photographs of the site and showed what experts working with the informant have interpreted as a human jaw bone. No physical evidence of a jaw bone or skull has been examined.

“However, based on the photographs and information provided, and in line with GMP’s usual practice to follow up any suggestion of human burial, we began our search of the site of interest.

“We have not found any identifiable human remains but our work to excavate the site is continuing.

“Conditions are difficult and it may take us some time to fully complete the excavation but we are committed to ensuring this is undertaken in the most thorough way possible.”

However, the forensic archaeologist who identified a child’s jaw bone in pictures taken by the author Russell Edwards at the site is “absolutely” sure there is a body but the forensic team’s progress is likely to be “painstakingly slow”.

Dawn Keen said: “I know my profession. I know what I saw on the day. A second archaeologist has verified it – forensically trained, adequately experienced.

“I’ve been an exhumer for a number of years now and I’ve seen it, so I’m not speaking outside experience. I’ve seen enough skulls to know human teeth.”

Keith was last seen by his mother in the early evening of 16 June 1964 after he left home in Eston Street, Longsight, Manchester, to walk to his grandmother’s house nearby.

Brady and Hindley’s other victims, who were killed in and around Manchester, were: Pauline Reade, 16, who disappeared on her way to a disco on 12 July 1963; John Kilbride, 12, who was snatched in November the same year; Lesley Ann Downey, 10, who was lured away from a funfair on Boxing Day 1964; and Edward Evans, 17, who was axed to death in October 1965.

The killers were caught after the Evans murder, and Lesley and John’s bodies were recovered from the moors.

Brady and Hindley were taken back to Saddleworth Moor to help police find the remains of the outstanding victims, but only Pauline’s body was recovered. Brady claimed he could not remember where he had buried Keith.

Keith’s is the only body that has still not been found.


Robyn Vinter North of England correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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