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I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run

The mind of a killer

One of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley - Carol Ann Lee

I know Manchester well having lived there for a number of years with close friends and relatives related through marriage. What strikes you about "Mancunians" is their tough northern yet always friendly approach, and their unique sense of loyalty and close family ties. This was never greater than in the 1950's and 60's when money was poor, poverty was rife and yet those little communities of proud people living in back to back terraced houses looked after and supported each other always adhering to the code...what is mine is yours.


What is most striking and deeply concerning about Myra Hindley is that she was an intricate part of this community with roots and family embedded in the culture truly one of their own. So how could someone from such a staunch and close knit background emerge and become the cold hearted killer and partner to the psychotic Ian Brady.


Carol Ann Lee describes and shows in great detail how the young and emerging Myra progressed and indeed flourished in this tough working class environment. Yes there were many and varied challenges; her father Bob suffering from the stresses of the 2ndWW and physically abusing his family in conjunction with his heavy consumption of alcohol; the death of her close friend Michael Higgins due to a drowning accident when she was only 15; the disruption to family life which resulted in her living with her beloved grandmother Ellen. However amidst all of this a headstrong, tough (she had been taught to box by Bob as a young child) yet likeable and friendly girl was emerging into her teens and beyond. So what went wrong? How did someone with this strong community upbringing emerge into the cold blooded killer we all recognize today?


The spark that ignited the fire occurred when she became a typist at Millwards Merchandising  and made the acquaintance of one Ian Brady. One of the central themes explored in this book is whether Hindley, if she had never met Brady, would still have become a cold blooded killer. She played such a central role in Brady's manic killing sprees (with his Hitler and Marquis De Sade fascinations) and yet afterwards had well connected support from such notorieties as David Astor Observer editor, and Lord Longford. I feel the answer to this question will always be yes; she was bored looking for adventure, looking for danger something way beyond the confines of Gorton, Manchester and it's mundane routine existence. She was a keen and willing partner in the psychotic ramblings and cruel sexual games and actions performed on her by Brady and so when he suggested his ultimate fantasy of capturing and killing a child she readily agreed and not only helped this happen but eagerly participated in the many horror killings that were to follow. The true story of what occurred was discovered on a tape in a left luggage bag at Manchester Central Station through the anguished and distressed cry from one frightened little girl Lesley Anne Downey who just wanted to see her mummy.


For anyone interested in the Moors Murders and trying to understand the reasoning behind the senseless torturous killing of innocent children this book is essential reading. It is informative, well researched and gives a clear and incisive insight into the minds of two of the 20th century's most hated murderers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady.