Moors murder detective has ‘no closure’ from Brady’s death

Police searching on Saddleworth Moor for victims of moors murderer Ian Brady. PA
Police searching on Saddleworth Moor for victims of moors murderer Ian Brady. PA
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The retired detective who led the investigation into two of the Moors Murder victims has revealed that evil killer Ian Brady’s death brought him no closure.

Peter Topping, 77, who, in the 1980s, headed the reopening of the investigation into the deaths of Pauline Reade, 16, who disappeared in 1963 and Keith Bennett, 12, who was snatched in 1964, said: “The fact that Brady’s passing has come quite frankly is a good thing because he was never going to give any more information.”

Speaking at his home in Argyll, the former head of Manchester CID, who commanded a team of 932 CID officers working on the Moors Murders, said: “It ends a chapter, a very important chapter. Brady is gone, no longer a drain on the state, which I think is a good thing. He is no longer able to do his manipulation and use people.

“For that, there is a form of closure but, as far as the case is concerned, I will never get closure and my team that worked on it in the 1960s - and others who worked on it after that - you can only get closure after they have found Keith Bennett’s body.”

The reinvestigation into the deaths of Keith Bennett and Pauline Reade came 19 years after evil Brady and his partner in crime Myra Hindley were jailed for life for the murders of John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17, in the mid-1960s.

Glasgow-born Brady and Myra Hindley admitted Keith and Pauline’s murders in court, in 1987, after confessing their crimes to Mr Topping, who led the investigation from 1985 until he retired in 1988.

He said: “Brady tormented the families of the victims. Having committed these horrific murders of the children of those families he then cruelly tormented the families, first of all denying his guilt when he was arrested by a team of detectives in the ‘60s. He resisted helping them to locate the bodies of those children.”

Recalling the reopening of the case in the 1980s as if it were yesterday, he said: “Hindley made a very detailed confession, she was seeking, by doing that, some form of parole in the future because she was quite desperate to get parole. Brady then made a confession but not as full as Hindley’s.

“I took both of them to Saddleworth Moor on two occasions. There was a very detailed search by a team of detectives and we recovered the body of Pauline Reade and that had a tremendous effect of the health of Pauline’s mother Joan, who had been really suffering with her health, not knowing what had happened to her daughter. That was a tremendous thing and I think that poor lady and her family, they did benefit from that discovery, the confessions - and the recovery of Pauline’s body.

“We got a lot of information from Hindley and Brady - mainly Hindley, about the possible location of Keith Bennett’s body but despite the very dedicated work that was done, by the skilled team of detectives, we were not successful in finding his body.”

He said Brady’s death, at the age of 79, made no difference to the case and added: “The information we had at the time was searched to exhaustion, the case will always remain open and any information that comes into the hands of the police will be fully investigated by them, to see if there is any hope of recovering Keith’s body.”

He added: “The man was always a cruel and manipulative person, he always looked to his own ends.

“He said, if you give me the means to kill myself I will give you information. No sane person, never mind a police officer, would give a person the means to kill himself, he knew that, that is why he was making this taunt. That was the sort of man that Brady was.

“Had he really wanted to kill himself, as anybody will tell you - who have known people take their own lives - they will find a means of

doing it, they don’t ask for the means, but this was Brady trying to manipulate the police and trying to manipulate the authorities.

“Brady was very demanding, he wouldn’t allow anybody with me when I was with him and he wouldn’t allow me to take notes.

“ She (Hindley) was a different kettle of fish. Brady was what he was, but he was very intelligent.”

Although her husband can find no closure over Brady’s death, Peter Topping’s wife, Barbara, 76, said: “It’s a nice thought, to think that that is over.”

While her husband said: “I was just a detective doing my job” Mrs Topping commented: “I saw the stress that Peter was under, with the media and trying to bring this to a conclusion - and you do worry.”

The couple have been married for over 50 years and Mrs Topping said: “I wouldn’t say I wished he wasn’t doing this but you are concerned.

I think anybody would feel concerned, you are concerned for yourself and your children. When Peter retired I thought - “lovely.””