Photo links infamous child killers to east of Scotland

A chilling photograph taken by serial killer Ian Brady of his accomplice Myra Hindley has been identified as a Fife beauty spot.

Wednesday, 24th May 2017, 1:01 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:13 pm
The shot of Myra Hindley in Fife, taken by Ian Brady. Copyright: Duncan Staff/SWNS

A recently published holiday snap of Hindley standing near the Doocot at St Monans has for decades been labelled ‘location unknown’.

Author and journalist Duncan Staff, who interviewed Hindley as he researched the Moors Murders, was handed the child killer’s archive of personal papers and photographs after she died in 2002.

He passed them to police but, according to Staff, officers were unable to “nail down all picture locations simply because the list was so long.”

The Doocot at St Monans

It is not possible to date when the St Monans image was captured on camera.

Using a van or Brady’s motorbike, the evil pair would often travel to Scotland for holidays, starting soon after they struck up a relationship and during their killing spree in the years 1963-66.

It is known that Brady and Hindley used photographs as a grave marker system and pictures were used by officers in the hunt to find the bodies of Pauline Reade and Lesley Anne Downie on Saddleworth Moor.

According to Staff, Hindley revealed that photographs offered clues to the whereabouts of Keith Bennett, whose remains are yet to be found.

Duncan Staff

The emergence of the St Monans connection now raises the question over what possible significance the area could have held for Brady and Hindley.

In memoirs published by Sir Peter Topping, who lead the Greater Manchester Police hunt for the victims in the 1980s, he recalled how Brady asked him a “strange question” in interview about whether Scottish jurisdiction applied south of the border.

“He said that something had happened and he was puzzled why he had never heard more about it,” said Topping.

For Glasgow-born Brady, Scotland had special significance.

The Doocot at St Monans

“He had this thing about landscapes,” explained Staff, who wrote the book ‘The Lost Boy’ about the Moors Murders.

“He experienced his first hallucination while cycling around Loch Lomond.

“He introduced his idea of the perfect murder to Hindley while they were on a trip to Scotland.

“The landscape, the rawness of it, is something that mattered to him and something that he found echoes of on Saddleworth Moor.”

Duncan Staff

A spokesman for Police Scotland said it was not currently conducting any investigation north of the border in connection with Brady, who died last week, aged 79.

“If credible new information comes to light we would always investigate, however, at this stage there are no ongoing inquiries into Ian Brady,” the spokesman added.