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Police end Saddleworth Moor search with no evidence of human remains found

The area was scoured after author Russell Edwards said he believed he had located the makeshift grave of 12-year-old Keith Bennett.

07 October 2022

A police scene on Saddleworth Moor where experts were searching for the body of Moors Murders victim Keith Bennett has been closed with no evidence to indicate human remains.

On Friday afternoon, Greater Manchester Police said the scene was being closed following the completion of the excavation by accredited forensic experts.

The search concluded there was no evidence to indicate the presence of human remains, the force said.

Archaeologists began searching the area last week after author Russell Edwards said he believed he had located the makeshift grave of 12-year-old Keith, who was murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.

Keith Bennett
Keith Bennett was last seen in June 1964 (handout/PA)

The Daily Mail reported Mr Edwards believed he had located the youngster’s remains following “extensive soil analysis”.

It is said Mr Edwards commenced his own dig – close to where the other Moors Murders victims were found – and uncovered a skull with teeth present which independent experts are reported to have concluded is human.

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

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 July 12, 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.

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
Keith was murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley (handouts/PA)

Brady and Hindley were caught after Edward’s murder and Lesley 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.

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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