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29/10/97 - Why Myra must never be freed; Scots detective who arrested evil Hindley ends 30-year silence
Sandra Ratcliffe
Daily Record


Retired police inspector Alex 'Jock' Carr still shudders every time he hears the strains of The Little Drummer Boy.

It is more than 30 years since he listened to the haunting Christmas melody - on a tape that came straight out of hell.

It played gently in the background as a child sobbed in terror.

The plaintive voice of a little girl was heard pleading: "Can I go home to mummy, now please? I will get into trouble."

Two adult voices were also on the tape - those of the most evil people in Britain, Myra Hindley and Ian Brady.

With unspeakable inhumanity, the depraved couple were recording the terrifying last moments of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey as they tortured her before strangling the little girl for kicks.

Brady and Hindley's sadistic killing of the five innocent youngsters they lured to their deaths were to become known as The Moors Murders.

Alex Carr, a young, strapping six-footer from Dunfermline, was one of the detectives leading the murder investigation.

It was Carr, then a rookie detective sergeant in Hyde, Cheshire, who arrested both Brady and Hindley.

He recalls: "It was October 7, 1965, and I had just arrested Brady for the murder of teenager Edward Evans, whose body we found before they had a chance to dispose of it.

"But I could never have conceived in my wildest nightmare what horrors we were about to uncover when we found that tape."

Alex Carr has never spoken publicly about the Moors murders before, but does so now because he believes Hindley must NEVER be released.

He says: "No normal woman would have committed the atrocities she did. She must die in jail."

Hindley and Glasgow-born Brady were sentenced to life in 1966 for the murders of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and 17-year-old Edward Evans.

Brady was found guilty of the murder of 12-year-old John Kilbride and Hindley convicted of being an accessory.

For years Hindley maintained her innocence but, in the 1980s confessed to a fuller role in John Kilbride's death.

She also confessed to her part in the murders of 12-year-olds Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett, whose grave has still not been found.

Hindley and Brady buried their young victims on desolate Saddleworth Moor in the Peak District.

Alex Carr broke his 32-year silence on his involvement in the Moors murders case as we talked at his neat bungalow home in a peaceful rural area near Liverpool.

He lives in retirement with his wife June and lives close to their schoolteacher daughter, Suzy, now in her 30s.

Recalling the horrific cases that shocked the country, Alex Carr told me:

HOW he had found the body of 17-year-old axe victim Edward Evans "trussed up like a turkey" in the Sixties House of Horror at 16 Wardlebrook Avenue, Hattersley, Cheshire.

HOW "cold" Hindley never showed any emotion.

HOW he had made small-talk about football with fellow-Scot Brady as they drove to the police station to question him.

HOW, despite being a devout Catholic, he never prays for the souls of Hindley or Brady. "It is my opinion they are both beyond redemption," he says.

AND how he is sorry the death penalty had been abolished just weeks before they were arrested.

"They both should have gone to the gallows," he says.

On the day Alex heard that terrible tape recording, his own daughter Suzy was just three years old. June recalled how her husband came home late on the day he and other detectives had listened to the tape .

And she said how he was so distraught and shocked, he sat down and cried.

Alex, now 71, says: "Yes, it was very upsetting. I was full up when I came home. It wasn't something I wanted to talk about.

``I thought about this little girl's voice on the tape and about how I would feel if that had been my daughter. I found it deeply distressing. My overwhelming feeling was one of revulsion.

Listening to those sounds, you could only conjure up the worst images of what was going on with wee Lesley Ann Downey, Hindley and Brady.

"Whenever I hear The Little Drummer Boy at Christmas, it brings back that awful day we sat in the CID office and listened to the tape. I will never forget it.

"What makes it worse is that Hindley, a woman, was involved. You'd think every woman's instinct is to protect a young child, not let her come to harm.

"Here was a kiddie's voice crying and pleading to be allowed to go home and, far from showing sympathy or compassion, Hindley was a willing partner in the atrocities that were taking place."

He added forcefully: "I do not believe Hindley should ever be released. Life for her should mean life. Both she and Brady were evil." The pair missed being hanged because the death penalty was abolished - FOUR weeks after they were arrested.

Alex says: "That is very unfortunate. It has cost the taxpayer millions of pounds to keep her and Brady behind bars. Now it is costing us again as her lawyers go back to court to plead once more for her freedom.

"If Hindley was released, the chances are another murder would be committed - only this time she would be the victim.

"Some may say that wouldn't be a bad thing, but it just means that someone else will suffer - go to jail - because of her crimes.

"If she does go free, she will write a book, make countless TV appearances which will earn her more money than I did in my 30-year career. She will become a celebrity. And that is wrong, very wrong."

Until now, Alex has never spoken publicly about "the most horrific and traumatic" case of his career.

But as Hindley's lawyers prepare to return to the High Court on December 8 to try to overturn former Home Secretary Michael Howard's decision that Hindley will spend the rest of her life in jail, he has agreed to speak out.

The son of a Rosyth docker, who retired from the police force almost 20 years ago, says: "I think the public should know the facts."

He adds: I had a duty to arrest Hindley and Brady in 1965 and now I believe it is in the public interest for me to give my side of the story. Myra Hindley was evil then and I believe she is still evil now, as is Brady who, of course, will never be free because he is mentally ill and is locked away in a top-security hospital forever.

"I was surprised that Hindley was not also found to have a psychiatric illness. I cannot believe that a normal woman could commit these crimes. It is said that she fell under Brady's spell, but I think if she became a convert, then she became more dedicated to their terrible acts even than him."

Channel 4 reveals the results of a specially-commissioned MORI poll tonight in a powerful documentary, Witness: Mercy For Myra Hindley? (9.00pm). Alex Carr speaks, along with families of the victims, who also say there can be no forgiveness.

GRUESOME JIGSAW OF EVIL NAILED THE TWISTED KILLERS

Police forces across Manchester slowly pieced together a gruesome jigsaw of evil to pin the murders of five youngsters on Hindley and Brady.

Detectives were tipped off about the murder of Edward Evans by Hindley's brother-in-law, David Smith, who had witnessed the killing.

Alex Carr said: "I was called in on a rest day and went with Superintendent Bob Talbot to the house in Hattersley where Hindley and Brady were staying.

"Brady was asleep downstairs - which was just as well because we had been warned that there were guns and ammunition in the house, and these were found upstairs.

"Hindley's granny was asleep in a room. Then, in a locked bedroom, we found the body of Edward Evans, who had been killed with an axe.

"He was tied up like a turkey and was no doubt destined for a grave on the moors.

"I took Brady in for questioning ... but not, at that point, Hindley. At that time we didn't know about the other murders."

But that soon changed when police, on Alex's intuition, recovered two suitcases from the left luggage at Manchester Central Station and were stunned by their shocking contents.

Alex added: "That was when we found the terrible audio tape, pornographic books and literature on Brady's obsession with Hitler and the Nazis.

"There was also a roll of film in a little halibut oil capsule tin. They were photographs of sexually-assaulted Lesley Ann Downey and they had Hindley's fingerprints on them. Lesley Ann had been missing from Manchester.

"We began to realise the enormity of what we were finding.

"A school jotter had Brady's doodling on it, with names written in a circle round a sketch of a face. One was John Kilbride who was missing.

"His body was found along with Lesley's on the moors. All the others have been found now, except Keith Bennett's. His mother, poor haunted woman, still searches the moors every week."

Hindley later admitted that she "drove the car" when Edward Evans was picked up. Questioned by Alex, Brady made only one statement, admitting that he had hit Evans with an axe, and Alex still has a copy. In it, Brady told how Evans "gurgled" as he fell to the floor and how he had cleaned up the blood before tying up his body and taking it upstairs before deciding "to get rid of it later".

Alex's lasting memory of Hindley - whose bleached hair and staring eyes from the 1965 photo still chill the world - was of a "cold" woman.

He said: "She was totally lacking in emotion. She never showed any remorse at any time when I spoke to her.

"She was hard and evil."

FAMILIES SAY LIFE .. OR DEATH

Ann West, the mother of 10-year-old victim Lesley Ann Downey, is just one of those who have pledged to kill Myra Hindley if the Moors Murderer is ever released.

In tonight's Channel 4 programme, viewers will hear how Mrs West had to listen to the tape Hindley and Ian Brady made of her daughter's final moments, so that she could identify Lesley's voice ....

How she heard Lesley begging to go home to mummy, promising not to tell anyone what the evil pair had done to her ...

And how she also had to identify her daughter from two graphic photographs - one of her naked, gagged and bound over a chair, the other of her gagged and bound on Hindley's bed.

Mrs West says: "And those were the two that the police said were good, that I could look at ..."

Families of the other victims also say Hindley should never be freed.

Danny Kilbride, whose 11-year-old brother John disappeared from Ashton- under-Lyme in November 1963, says: "Whether she's repented or not, she should pay the price - life imprisonment."

And he warns: "Without any doubts, if I ever come face to face with Myra Hindley, she's dead."

Pauline Reade was 16 when she disappeared on her way to a dance in 1963 - the first victim of the Moors Murderers.

Her mother Joan says: "Even now, I think about her every day, and the way she had to go. That's never to be forgotten. Never."

Penal reform campaigner Lord Longford has long backed Hindley's battle for apardon.

He befriended her just a few years after she was jailed and says he remembers her as a "quiet, courteous, very pleasant girl".

He attacks the media for their "exploitation" of Ann West and says: "I'm tremendously sorry for her, but letting her decide Myra's fate would be ludicrous."

But Mrs West - who has had to move her daughter's grave because of sick vandals claiming to be "Hindley followers" - reveals how Longford told her that unless she forgave Hindley and Brady, she would not go to heaven.

She adds: "I called him and said ... `You're the Devil's advocate'."
Contact : bernard.omahoney@bernardomahoney.com
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