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No remains found in initial search for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett

Police have found no human remains in the latest search for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett after 60 years.

October 5, 2022
By Laura Parnaby, PA
5 October 2022

Archaeologists have finished excavating the primary scene in the renewed search for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett and found “no visible evidence” of human remains, according to police.

Greater Manchester Police said “no bones, fabric or items of interest” have been recovered in the area recently brought to police attention by a member of the public who had been researching the schoolboy’s murder.

The search continues in the wider area of Saddleworth Moor in the Peak District, and soil samples have been taken for analysis.

 

Keith was 12 when he was murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964, and his body was never recovered.

Last month, the Daily Mail reported author Russell Edwards believed he had located the youngster’s makeshift grave on Saddleworth Moor, and archaeologists began searching the area on September 30.

On Tuesday, GMP said a “meticulous examination of the initial area” had been completed and officers have moved on to surrounding grounds to ensure nothing has been missed.

Keith Bennett search
Police tents at Saddleworth Moor on September 30 (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

“Forensic archaeologists and forensic anthropologists have now completed a methodical archaeological excavation and examination of the area previously dug and refilled by the member of the public,” Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Hughes said.

“No bones, fabric or items of interest were recovered from the soil.

“These accredited and certified forensic experts are now continuing with a methodical and controlled excavation of the area immediately surrounding the original site to provide a higher level of assurance of the presence or absence of any items of interest.

“Further soil samples have been taken for analysis, but at this time there is no visible evidence to suggest the presence of human remains.

“The scene examination is ongoing.”

Keith Bennett search
Officers from Greater Manchester Police searching Saddleworth Moor on Monday (Danny Lawson/PA)

She added: “We have seen the outpouring of support since this news broke so know how our communities feel about this case but we are asking members of the public not to travel to the area and can assure them that we will provide timely and appropriate updates.”

Detective Hughes said GMP was keeping Keith’s family updated at each stage of the search.

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

Ian Brady death
John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, Edward Evans, 17, Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12 (PA Media)

Brady and Hindley murdered five people in total, and three were later found buried on Saddleworth Moor.

The victims 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.

Brady and Hindley were caught after the Edward Evans murder and Lesley’s and John’s bodies were recovered from the moor.

They were taken to Saddleworth Moor to help police find the remains of the other victims, but only Pauline’s body was recovered.

Keith Bennett search
Officers from Greater Manchester Police continue to search Saddleworth Moor on Monday (Danny Lawson/PA).

Brady claimed he could not remember where he had buried Keith.

In 2009, police said a covert search operation on the moor, which used a wealth of scientific experts, also failed to discover any trace of the boy.

Hindley died in jail in 2002 at the age of 60 and Brady died in a high-security hospital in 2017 aged 79.

In 2012 – 48 years after Keith’s death – his mother, Winnie Johnson, died aged 78 without fulfilling her wish to give him a Christian burial.

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