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Lawyer “very surprised” if Ian Brady knew where Keith Bennett’s body was

File court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook dated 25/06/13 of moors murderer Ian Brady
File court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook dated 25/06/13 of moors murderer Ian Brady

Ian Brady's lawyer has said he would be "very surprised" if the serial killer had withheld information on the burial site of 12-year-old Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett, as police said the case remains open.

Robin Makin spoke to Brady, 79, at Ashworth High Security Hospital in Merseyside less than two hours before he died on Monday as the pair discussed his legal affairs and funeral arrangements.

The Liverpool-based solicitor said the whereabouts of the remains of the only one of Brady and fellow killer Myra Hindley's five young victims not to be traced did not come up in conversation, and that he had never asked him about Keith.

Mr Makin told Radio 4's Today programme: "I would be very surprised if he really had information that was useful. He did go to the Moors a long time ago and I suspect that if there had been information for him that he could have provided, he would have provided it then."

He described coverage of the search for Keith's body as a "frenzy".

He added: "I would very much hope that the remains can be found, but unfortunately I haven't got any information that's going to assist."

Mr Makin, who is the executor of Brady's will, said he was with his client less than two hours before his death and described it as "quite a moving sort of situation".

"I got a call that he wanted to see me, he was obviously well aware that his death was imminent," he said.

He said they discussed Brady's legal wishes and arrangements for his funeral, which he said he could not make public presently but added "in due course these will become available".

Martin Bottomley, head of Greater Manchester Police's Cold Case Review Unit, said officers would act on "credible and actionable" information which would help them find the body of Keith.

He said: "Whilst we are not actively searching Saddleworth Moors, Greater Manchester Police will never close this case. Brady's death does not change that."

Mr Bottomley praised the "incredible dignity" of the families of the victims of the Moors Murderers.

He said: "I do not want to comment on Brady at all. The thoughts of everyone within Greater Manchester Police are with the families who lost loved ones in the most painful and traumatic way.

"It is especially saddening for the family of Keith Bennett that his killers did not reveal to police the whereabouts of Keith's burial site. A week hardly goes by when we do not receive some information which purports to lead us to Keith, but ultimately only two people knew where Keith is.

"I want to stress that our aim, as it always has been, is to find where Keith is buried and give closure to his surviving family members so they can give Keith the proper burial they so desperately want."

In 1966, Brady and Hindey were jailed for life for the killings of John Kilbride, 12, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, 17.

They went on to admit the murders of Pauline Reade, 16, and 12-year-old Keith Bennett.

Glasgow-born Brady had been held at Ashworth High Secure Hospital since 1985 and died at 6.03pm.

Hindley died in jail aged 60 in November 2002

A Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said the serial killer, who used the name Ian Stewart-Brady before his death, had been on oxygen.

Brady was not found dead in his room in the unit, the spokesman said, but he was unable to confirm if anyone was with him when he died, adding: "Quite possibly. I don't know."

Terry Kilbride, the brother of victim John, said he will still have to deal with the "nightmare" Brady has left behind.

He told the Sun: "It's a lot to take in. It's been years and years of anguish and pain for us and the families of the victims.

"But nothing will change. He's dead but we will have to still live with the nightmare that he left behind.

"He's ruined our lives all these years and he'll still ruin it even though he's gone. I feel numb."

Mr Kilbride added that there were no other words to describe Brady apart from "a murderous psychopath".

Terry West, brother of Lesley Ann Downey, told MailOnline: "I poured myself a glass of wine when I found out - we've been waiting for this day for such a long time. It's closure for our family.

"But I really feel for Keith Bennett's brother Alan and the rest of his family - this probably means they'll never know where his body was buried.

"He's taken it to the grave. There's still one poor kiddie up there on the Moors. My heart goes out to Alan - at least I've got somewhere that I can visit our Les, he hasn't even got that."

The crimes of Brady and Hindley shocked the nation as details of how the pair snatched children off the street, abused and tortured them to death were recalled during their trial at Chester Assizes.

Brady escaped the hangman's noose as the death penalty was abolished just months earlier and was handed three life sentences.

In 2013, Brady asked to be moved to a Scottish prison so he could not be force fed, as he could be in hospital, and where he could be allowed to die if he wishes.

His request was rejected after Ashworth medical experts said he had chronic mental illness and needed continued care in hospital.

In February, he was refused permission to launch a High Court fight to have the lawyer of his choice representing him at a tribunal where the decision would be reviewed.

Lord Pendry, former MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, said he believed Brady's "jealousy" of Hindley motivated the killer to agree to return to Saddleworth Moor in 1987 in an attempt to find Keith Bennett's burial place.

The Labour peer secretly visited Ashworth Hospital and held a five-hour conversation with Brady in a bid to persuade him to lead police to Keith's body.

He recalled: "It was a difficult exercise because a lot of my constituents, particularly around Hattersley, if they thought I had spent five hours with Brady they would have thought I should have done something more than talk to him.

"I kept that away from everybody including the boy Bennett's mother because I didn't want to heighten her expectations."

Lord Pendry said he thought Brady was motivated by jealousy over Hindley who had earlier assisted police to discover the body of Pauline Reade on the moor.

"By that time he had fallen out with her," he said. "She had reverted to the Catholic faith which he did not particularly like and he also wanted to show that he could find the boy Bennett's body."

But he added Brady did not have the interests of Keith's family at heart.

He said: "He had no feelings for anyone but himself.

"Alas, some of the people who are most affected are no longer here."