Moors murder victim Keith Bennett: Police begin dig after skull found on Saddleworth Moor

 The 12-year-old is the only Moors Murder victim to never have been found

Police have launched a dig on the Moors around Manchester after a skull that could belong to missing murder victim Keith Bennett was discovered.

The boy, who was snatched by killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley over half a century ago, is the only Moors Murders victim to never have been found.

But today (September 30), detectives from Greater Manchester Police revealed they had made a breakthrough in the infamous case after what is believed to be a child’s skull was found on Saddleworth Moor.

Forensic anthropologists from the force have been examining potential samples of body tissue taken from the area while officers prepare to undertake the dig in search of Keith’s remains.

It is understood the development has come about after author Russell Edwards, who wrote ‘Naming Jack the Ripper’, gathered together a team of specialists to solve the case.

The police stated they are in touch with Alan Bennett, Keith’s younger brother who was eight-years-old at the time of his murder.

Floral tributes overlook Saddleworth Moor where the body of missing Keith Bennett may be buried on June 16, 2014 in Saddleworth.

Full statement from Greater Manchester Police

GMP Force Review Officer Martin Bottomley said: “At around 11.25am on Thursday, September 29 2022, Greater Manchester Police was contacted by the representative of an author who has been researching the murder of Keith Bennett, a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

“Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest.

“The site was assessed late last night and, this morning, specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity. We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind.

“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered and this is expected to take some time.

“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. As such, we have informed his brother of the potential development - he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected.”

The Moors Murderers: Ian Brady and Myra Hindley

TheMoors Murders took place between July 1963 and October 1965 in Manchester and were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

The couple’s victims were five children - Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans. The victims were aged between 10 and 17, and at least four of them were sexually assaulted.

A portrait of Moors Murderer Ian Brady.

The bodies of two of the victims were discovered in graves dug on Saddleworth Moor in 1965. A third grave was discovered in 1987, more than 20 years after Brady and Hindley faced trial.

Hindley, who was jailed for life for the murders in 1966 but always protested her innocence, died in prison in November 2002, aged 60, after suffering respiratory failure.

Brady also received a life sentence and was moved to Ashworth Hospital in 1985 after being declared criminally insane - he died on May 15, 2017, aged 79.

In this undated handout photo supplied by the Greater Manchester Police, Myra Hindley is seen photographed by Ian Brady at an unknown location.

Who was Keith Bennett and what happened to him?

Keith Bennett was the second victim to be killed by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

The 12-year-old was on his way to his grandmother’s house in Longsight on the evening of June 16, 1964 when Hindley approached him, asking for help loading boxes into her van.

Keith Bennett was murdered by Ian Brady after he and his girlfriend Myra Hindley snatched the child while he was walking to his grandmother’s in 1964.

Brady was in the back of the van. Hindley drove to a lay-by on Saddleworth Moor and Brady walked off with Keith, asking him to help him look for a lost glove.

Brady then returned alone carrying a spade and said he had sexually assaulted then strangled Keith.

Keith’s remains were never discovered after Brady cruelly refused to reveal where he had buried him, despite a plea from Keith’s devastated mother, Winnie Johnson.

Winnie Johnson, the mother of Saddleworth Moor murder victim Twelve-year-old Keith Bennett, is consoled by her friend Elizabeth Bond, as she watches TV coverage of Greater Manchester Police announcing that the search for his body is now entering a dormant phase on July 1, 2009.