Police are probing claims that a skull found near Manchester could belong to Moors victim Keith Bennett in a potential major development in the infamous murders carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in the 1960s.
Police officers are preparing to dig up a section of Saddleworth Moor after the skull, which appears to belong to a child around 12 years of age, was discovered in the area.
‘Naming Jack the Ripper’ author, Russell Edwards and a team of excavators claimed yesterday to have found a skull, though this has yet to be confirmed by police.
Greater Manchester Police said that although it is too early to know if the remains belong to Keith, who was murdered by Brady and Hindley in 1964, they are keeping his family including younger brother Alan Bennett informed.
Who was Keith Bennett?
Keith Bennett was one of five children tortured and murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in Manchester in the 1960s - a killing spree that later became known as the Moors Murders.
Keith was the couple’s second victim. The 12-year-old disappeared on June 16 1964 while he was on his way to see his grandmother in Longsight.
Hindley had approached Keith that evening and asked him for help with loading boxes into her van, while Brady sat in the back.
They then lured Keith to Saddleworth Moor where they asked him to help Brady locate a lost glove, before strangling and burying the boy.
Police searched the area in 1986 following reports that Hindley and Brady had confessed to Keith’s murder.
While the remains of Brady and Hindley’s four other victims were eventually discovered, Keith’s body was never found.
Keith’s family, including his younger brother Alan Bennett, have consistently declared that they will never stop searching for him.
When Ian Brady died in 2017, having not disclosed Keith’s location, Greater Manchester Police also released a statement in which it said it would never close the Moors Murders case.
Who was Winnie Johnson?
Winnie Johnson was Keith Bennett’s mother. Following Keith’s murder in 1964, she spent her life trying to locate her son’s remains, even taking to the Moors herself at one point.
The cleaner wrote countless letters to Ian Brady begging him to reveal the location of her son’s body so that she could give him a Christian burial.However, Brady never volunteered the information.
Winnie died of cancer at the age of 78 in August 2012.
Full statement from Greater Manchester Police
On the breakthrough today, a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: “We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family.
“Officers met with Mr Edwards yesterday evening (September 29) and he was able to locate a site of interest and provide us with further details of the work he has been carrying out.
“We are at the very early stages of assessing the evidence which he brought to our attention, but have taken the decision to excavate an area of land with a view to determining what lies there.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been uncovered, but out of respect for Alan Bennett, who we regularly maintain contact with, we have informed him of this potential development.
“Alan does not wish to be disturbed at this time and we would ask that his request for privacy is respected.”