Wednesday 21 February 2018

Brady says he killed children for 'existential experience'

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Moors murderer Ian Brady
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Moors murderer Ian Brady
A mugshot of the child killer, Ian Brady, taken 50 years ago.

Gordon Rayner

Ian Brady has complained that the public is still "obsessed" with the Moors murders and that he remains notorious for the same "theatrical reasons" as Jack the Ripper.

Brady (75) even suggested the continued interest in his "recreational killings" after 50 years was because Saddleworth Moor, where he buried his young victims, evoked "'Wuthering Heights' and all that".

Giving his first public explanation yesterday for why he murdered five children, he said he did it for an "existential experience" and indicated he does not regret it.

He also described himself as a "comparatively petty criminal" alongside "global serial killers and thieves like Blair or Bush".

He made his comments as he gave evidence on why he believes he should be moved from a psychiatric hospital back into the prison system, where he wants to starve himself to death.


Complaining that he was being kept in Ashworth on Merseyside for "political reasons", he told a mental health tribunal: "After half a century you would think at least there would be some amelioration, but they're obsessed with the case. The media particularly, and the public.

"I can go into the reasons, they're somewhat theatrical, why they're still talking about it. Jack the Ripper, after a century, it fascinates them because of the dramatic background; capes, cobbled streets – the moors is the same thing. 'Wuthering Heights' and all that, 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'."

Dr Cameron Boyd, a member of the three-man panel hearing his case, asked Brady if he believed his crimes proved that he had a mental illness.

Brady said he had never been mentally ill, and that unlike soldiers who killed people simply because they were following orders, "a criminal . . . at least he is going to gain from the crime he is going to commit. He has given a value to the person he is going to kill".

Dr Boyd asked: "What value did you get from the acts you did?" Brady replied: "Existential experience."

Brady, who at one point referred to his crimes as "recreational killing", said: "I'm as pragmatic as a soldier or a politician – you never see any regret from Tony Blair.

"Bankers bankrupting society, the illegal invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, people killed daily, even soldiers are saying, 'What are we doing here?'"


Dressed in a suit and tie and with his hair cut for the occasion, Brady reminisced about his time in the special security wing of Durham prison between 1966 and 1971 as he gave evidence for four hours.

"I'll just give you a reading of the people in there – the Krays, the Great Train Robbers, (John) McVicar, spies," he said. "Conditions were out of this world. Ronnie Kray was cooking for his landing, I was cooking for my landing."

Later, at Wormwood Scrubs prison in London, he worked as a barber. "The staff used to come to me for beard trims and haircuts. Can you imagine that happening now?" he said.

He also spent 20 years of his prison term transcribing books into Braille for children at schools in Newcastle and Liverpool and studied German and psychology in his cell. Brady began a hunger strike in 1999 in protest at an alleged assault by staff and has been fed by a nasal tube ever since.

Asked why he wanted to go back to prison, he said: "After 50 years I've had enough. Let's get out."

He claimed that he had never been mentally ill and studied the method acting techniques of Stanislavski so he could mimic the symptoms of psychosis when he wanted to be transferred to Ashworth in the 1980s.

The tribunal at Ashworth gives its decision tomorrow. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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