Moors Murderer Ian Brady says insanity was 'method acting'

Ian Brady said people were "obsessed with this case...for theatrical reasons"

Related Stories

Moors Murderer Ian Brady has told a mental health tribunal he used "method acting" to be classed insane.

Brady, speaking publicly for the first time in 47 years, claimed he put on the act to get transferred from prison to Ashworth Hospital.

He is now fighting to be found sane so he can return to prison, though he accepts he will never be freed.

Hospital staff believe Brady, who has fought for the right to kill himself, is mentally ill and should stay there.

Brady, now 75, and Myra Hindley tortured and murdered five children.

The pair buried some of their victims' bodies on Saddleworth Moor in the Peak District.

Brady gave evidence for more than four hours at the tribunal, which is sitting at Ashworth high-security psychiatric hospital in Maghull, Merseyside, where he has been held since 1985.

Eleanor Grey QC, counsel for Ashworth, asked Brady if he was mentally ill when he was transferred to Ashworth.

He replied: "Have you heard of Stanislavski?

"If you knew who Stanislavski is... have you heard of method acting? Does that make it clear to you?"

Brady also said: "I am not psychotic."

'Not eating anything'

Brady's legal team say he has a severe personality disorder but is not mentally ill and could be treated in prison rather than hospital.

But staff at Ashworth say he remains a paranoid schizophrenic who should stay at the hospital.

Brady is said to have been on hunger strike since 1999, with doctors feeding him through a tube in his nose under mental health law - but on Monday a nurse told the tribunal Brady made himself toast every day and ate other food offered to him "most days".

When asked about this, Brady replied: "According to whom? I'm not eating anything."

As to why he wanted to leave Ashworth, he said he hated it because "the regime has changed to a penal warehouse".

"They give you false drugs and turn you into a zombie," he added.

For almost 50 years the high walls of prison and hospital silenced Ian Brady.

Well, on Tuesday, he finally got what he has wanted for years - to speak about the way he says he has been misdiagnosed.

Brady sat in the hearing quietly and, never looking up once, began a long list of complaints - some clear to understand, others less so.

He has a soft voice and speaks carefully - apparently weighing his words. Sometimes he adds caveats to qualify what he wants to say. At other times he tries to use sarcasm and wit - such as describing medicated patients as zombies.

Brady is clearly a clever man. But the question is whether he is clever enough to get out of Ashworth.

His crimes involved dominating his victims. The experts at Ashworth believe that he now wants to dominate them and, through this mental health tribunal, control how the public perceive him.

They are determined he will not.

But Brady refused to answer a question from his own lawyer about whether he wanted to kill himself if he was declared fit to return to prison.

"I have been asked the question repeatedly," he said.

"I have answered hypothetically from all angles.

"In prison you are a monkey in a cage being poked with a stick. How can you pretend to be omnipotent?

"You cannot make plans when you have no freedom of control, movement or anything.

"You cannot talk sensibly about anything with a question like that."

Brady called Britain a "psychopathic country", referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and described himself as a "comparable petty criminal".

When asked about his own crimes and what "value" he got out of killing, Brady responded: "Existential experience."

Public opinion

He said he would never be released because the British public wanted him to stay in custody.

"Whatever I want, the public and the press want the opposite," he said.

"That's my experience in the last 50 years."

Speaking about the media, he added: "Why are they still talking about Jack the Ripper after a century? Because of the dramatic background, the fog, cobbled streets.

"Mine's the same... Wuthering Heights, Hound of the Baskervilles."

Asked how he had spent his time in prison over the years, he said he had studied psychology and German and had worked on Braille texts.

He said he had also worked as a barber at Wormwood Scrubs before he was sent to Ashworth.

Brady said he had mainly stayed in his room for the past 10 months because of "negative, regressive, provocative staff that I am avoiding" and disputed that this was because of paranoia about other patients.

The serial killer, who said he had mixed down the years with the Kray twins and IRA terrorists, added: "Only the authorities call it paranoia - the prisoners say it is sensible suspicion."

'Affront to justice'

The brother of one of Brady's victims has called the mental health tribunal "a complete waste of taxpayers' money".

"To give him anything is an affront to moral justice," said Terry Kilbride, brother of John, who was snatched in November 1963 aged 12.

"He gave his victims nothing."

Mr Kilbride said the money should have gone towards finding the body of another victim, Keith Bennett.

David Kirwan, former solicitor of Keith Bennett's mother, who died last year, estimated the tribunal would cost £250,000 in total.

The hearing is being relayed to the press and public on TV screens at Manchester Civil Justice Centre.

The tribunal will hear closing statements on Wednesday, with its decision expected on Thursday.

The last time Brady was heard in public was in 1966 at Chester Assizes, where he denied the murders.

He was eventually found guilty of three of the murders and jailed for life. He and Hindley later confessed to the other two. Hindley died in prison in 2002, aged 60.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More UK stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • TravelAround the world

    BBC Travel takes a look at the most striking images from the past seven days


  • BatteriesClick Watch

    More power to your phone - the lithium-ion batteries that could last twice as long

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.