Manchester

Book by Moors Murder witness David Smith recalls horror

David Smith calls it his "car crash" - the year he met and befriended Ian Brady.

In October 1965, he witnessed the full horror of one of the Moors Murders, as Brady beat 17-year-old Edward Evans to death with an axe.

Forty-five years later, a new book entitled Witness has been published about his experiences.

Mr Smith said that, fearing for his own life, he helped to conceal the body before reporting the Moors murderers to the police.

"I wanted to do the right thing, and that was the only thing to do," he said.

"I knew that as soon as I walked out of the door."

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley murdered four children between 1963 and 1964 - John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, also 12.

Their bodies were buried on Saddleworth Moor but, despite numerous searches by police, the body of Keith Bennett has never been located.

Keith disappeared on his way to his grandmother's house in Longsight.

Greater Manchester Police say they have "exhausted all avenues" in their search for his remains but David Smith believes they could do more.

"I want them to give it one more looking at," he said.

"There is an area of the moors that they've investigated, and they know that Keith is within that.

"He has to come home."

Robberies and murder

In 1965, David Smith was just 17 and married to Myra Hindley's sister, Maureen.

The two couples would spend evenings together drinking and listening to music at their homes in east Manchester.

David Smith said they drunkenly talked of robberies and murder, but he said there was never any sign that it was anything other than a joke.

"There was no indication whatsoever. He was a slightly eccentric friend. That's all."

One night, he walked Myra home to the terraced house she shared with Brady in Hattersley where he witnessed the murder of teenager Edward Evans.

Image caption Keith had been on his way to visit his grandmother when he was abducted

David Smith became the prosecution's chief witness at the trial of Brady and Hindley in 1966.

Both Brady and Hindley tried to convince the jury that he had been involved in the murders too, a lie that many believed.

In the book, he describes being beaten by strangers in the street, and watching women spit at his baby son.

Now a 64-year-old grandfather living in Ireland, David Smith wants his grandchildren to know what happened.

"People put this aura around Brady that he doesn't deserve," he added.

"He's a paedophile. He's a child murderer. He's a coward. Brady's nothing."

Hindley died in prison in November 2002, aged 60.

Brady is a prisoner in Ashworth Hospital, the high security psychiatric unit in Maghull, Merseyside.

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