Fresh hope for Winnie Johnson

Keith Bennett's mum, Winnie Johnson
Keith Bennett's mum, Winnie Johnson
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POLICE are investigating whether Moors Murderer Ian Brady has written a letter to be opened on his death revealing the location of Keith Bennett’s body,

But Martin Bottomley, head of investigative review of Greater Manchester Police’s major and cold case crime unit, said: “We do not know if this is true or simply a ruse.”

Murder victim Keith Bennett

Murder victim Keith Bennett

Police launched their investigation after Brady’s mental health advocate told a Channel 4 documentary that he gave her a sealed envelope to pass to Winnie Johnson, the mother of his 12-year-old victim Keith Bennett, in the event of his death.

Jackie Powell, 49, who was appointed Brady’s mental health advocate in 1999, was detained on suspicion of preventing the burial of a body without lawful exercise.

But detectives examining documents seized from Ms Powell’s home have so far found no evidence to suggest Brady has disclosed the location of Keith’s body. And Ms Powell has since been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Mr Bottomley said in a statement: “The Moors murders cast a long and dark shadow over the history of our region but in 2009 we reluctantly concluded there was no longer any specific information to identify new search areas and the investigation to find Keith entered a dormant stage.

“However, we have always stressed this is a case we will never close. We have been, and always will be, open to pursuing any new lines of inquiry that arise from significant scientific advances or credible and actionable information.

“I want to be explicitly clear about this: Ian Brady has not revealed to police the location of Keith’s body.

“What we are looking at is the possibility, and at this stage it is only a possibility, that he has written a letter to Keith’s mum Winnie Johnson which was not to be opened until after his death.

“We do not know if this is true or simply a ruse but we clearly have a duty to investigate such information on behalf of Keith’s family.

“Since Keith was so cruelly taken away all those years ago, our thoughts have always been with his family as they try to come to terms with what happened.

“All they want is to finally be able to lay Keith to rest.

“What I would ask is that the media respect their privacy at this time. Winnie herself is very ill and continued speculation about this letter will only cause the family more upset.

“I would ask that we are allowed to examine all the evidence we have recovered and determine whether or not this letter actually exists.”