Ian Brady has finally died. After years of hunger strikes and ‘smoking the strongest tobacco’ he died on Monday the 15th of May of a lung and chest condition. The question of his burial was immediately raised. Brady wished to be buried on the Moors, the same place in which he killed and buried his victims, yet many believe his ashes should remain in prison so even in death he is still incarcerated.
This seems fitting due to the depth of his crimes; the torture and murder of 5 children: John Kilbride, Leslie Ann Downey, Keith Bennett, Edward Evans and Pauline reed. He and his accomplice, Myra Hindley who is already deceased, would kidnap the children, beat and torture them before disposing with their bodies on the moors. His horrific recordings of 10 year old Leslie Ann Downey were played in court to the shock of the jury.
Some argue that as it is Brady’s body he should decide where his ashes should be spread, yet the insolence of his wish to be on the Moors, to forever taint the land would be a slap in the face of the families of the victims who have already suffered too much. Many county councils have refused to cremate his body, not wishing to be associated in any way with Ian Brady.
Moreover, the lack of remorse Brady demonstrated for his victims, describing his acts as ‘petty crimes’, and refusal to reveal the burial site of Keith Bennett, frequently torturing the family with vague hints and promises, is chilling.
Brady had been transferred to a psychiatric hospital since 1985 and had reportedly been on hunger strike since 1999, though this was swiftly undermined by his barrister who claimed he ate toast and soup most days. He frequently expressed his wish to die, yet his pleas fell on deaf ears. In one sense, Brady will be glad about the media scrutiny over his death, a proclaimed narcissist, who enjoyed the attention over him, delighting over his infamy and enjoying his reputation as the man who brought ‘evil’ into Britain.
The mother of Keith Bennett, Winnie Johnson, spoke of her fear that Brady would take the knowledge of her son's death to his grave, stating that it would be one final ‘sick twist’. She died in 2012. Terry Kilbride, the brother of victim John Kilbride, also begged Brady to reveal Keith's burial and when he refused, hoped that he would ‘rot in hell’. Terry has vehemently opposed Brady being buried on the Moors, and very few would want to cause more discomfort to the families for such a twisted request.
Overall, while Brady wished to be buried on the Moors, his villainous actions and his blatant lack of remorse means that he has forfeited the right to decide where to be buried and while he was only sentenced to life, he should remain in prison even in death.