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Ever wanted to read a really mundane letter written by the Moors Murderer Ian Brady? Well, you're in luck. It may seem trivial but by reading these seemingly dull letters, you actually get a greater insight into who they are... or (more importantly) who they think they are.
Before we begin, I feel I need to add some background on the Moors Murderer Ian Brady (for those who are unaware of him) as it’ll put this letter in an entirely different context. Between 1963 and 1965,Ian Brady, along with his girlfriend Myra Hindley kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered five young children, between the ages of 10 and 17, and buried their bodies in shallow graves on the desolate wiles of Saddleworth Moor. After his arrest and conviction, Brady never expressed any regret or remorse for his actions, and even taunted the victim’s parents with knowledge of their child’s cruel death and the possible location of their shallow graves, which he never revealed.
So, it seems almost bizarre, that in a letter dated 11th January 2001, whilst incarcerated in Ashworth Psychiatric Prison, Ian Brady corresponded with an unidentified schoolboy called Thomas, who Brady appears to have taken under his wing and has given him some important advice on life.
"Dear Thomas. Thank you for your letters. Now I want you to read this letter very carefully to ensure you fully understand the important point I intend to make. I’ve told you repeatedly in previous letters, that crime is a mug’s game and that you can earn more by training for a skilled job, as you are presently doing, getting good results from your courses and exams, which I tried to assist you with…
If you find life boring and dull in the ordinary world, imagine what it’s like in prison. If you could you would lose any interest in crime and criminals. Try imagining sitting in a cell for forty years, while your friends outside are enjoying themselves. I get the feeling that you have written to other prisoners and if they have let you to believe that crime is an intellectual occupation, they are lying simply to comfort themselves.
As for me, well my example says it all, I’m already a dead man walking. What’s to be admired about having death as a sole occupation? What’s even interesting about that? I am weak now, and also have the flu, so I’m losing all interest in the outside world, and have nothing left to teach you or anyone else, except the futility of crime. So I’m beginning to say goodbye to all the people I write to, including you. I enjoyed our letters and the many intelligent questions you asked, and hope you guide your interests in a more positive direction. My life was over, long ago. It has no relevance for me, as I’ll never see it again…
It is also important to realise that your innocent letters to me would get you into a great deal of trouble if certain people outside found out about it. That alone could ruin your life. Understand? Destroy all my letters and remember the good advice I’ve given. There’s no need to answer this letter. I wish you all the best. Thanks for writing. Best wishes. Ian”.
Oddly, even as he gives advice, his tone is self-pitying, narcissistic and (although he mentions that crime is a mug’s game) he never expresses regret, shame, pity or empathises with his victims or their families, and is entirely self-absorbed by his own needs.
If you found this interesting? Check out the Mini Mile episodes of the Murder Mile UK True-Crime Podcast, or click on the link below to listen to an episode.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London”, nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British Podcast Awards 2018", and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totaling 50 deaths, over just a one mile walk
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster of Murder Mile UK True Crime and creator of true-crime TV series.
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