Updated: Thursday, 6th August 2020 @ 6:47am

Moors murderer Ian Brady loses legal fight to be returned to jail following Manchester mental health hearing

Moors murderer Ian Brady loses legal fight to be returned to jail following Manchester mental health hearing

By Reece Lawrence

Moors murderer Ian Brady has lost his legal bid to be transferred from his maximum security hospital to a Scottish prison, after an eight-day public hearing.

A panel of three experts ruled that Brady remained mentally ill and would continue to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act at Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside.

Brady has long fought to be returned to jail in his native Scotland, where he would have the right to starve himself to death under law.

The hearing at Ashworth where Brady, 75, has been detained since 1985, saw him give evidence and speak in public for the first time in nearly 50 years via a video link to Manchester Civil Justice Centre.

In the ruling, Judge Robert Atherton, head of the panel, said: "The tribunal has concluded that Mr Ian Stewart Brady continues to suffer from a mental disorder which is of a nature and degree which makes it appropriate for him to continue to receive medical treatment.

“It is necessary for his health and safety and for the protection of other persons that he should receive such treatment in hospital, and that appropriate medical treatment is available for him.”

Brady, who has been on hunger strike and fed through a tube since 1999, appeared during every day of the hearing wearing a suit and dark glasses, and has the right to appeal the tribunal’s decision.

The estimated £250,000 cost of the hearing has angered the families of the victims, who claim it has given Brady the opportunity to ‘grandstand’.

Dr David Fearnley, medical director at Ashworth, said: “We appreciate the time and effort the mental health tribunal has given to this case and its judgment is consistent with the expert opinions of our clinicians.

“Mr Brady suffers from a severe personality disorder and a mental illness which still require high quality care.

"It is a testament to the staff of Ashworth Hospital that we have been able to stabilise his schizophrenia to the degree we have.

“However, his condition is chronic and will require this support for the foreseeable future."

Brady described his horrific crimes as an ‘existential experience’ and suggested he was a ‘petty criminal’ during his evidence-giving sessions.

He also compared himself to notorious 19th century prostitute killer Jack the Ripper.

He said: "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."

Evidence was also given which claimed Brady ate toast and soup despite having a feeding tube.

Nurse Mark Sheppard told the tribunal: “I know he makes himself toast in the mornings. Most days we observe Ian eating.”

Brady also slammed the hospital where he is treated, calling it a ‘penal warehouse’, as well as the staff who work there.

“Some of these psychiatrists, I would throw a net over them. I would not allow them on the street,” he said.

Brady and Myra Hindley murdered five children in the early 1960s – burying four of them on Saddleworth Moor – and were both jailed for life in 1966 for three of the murders, before later confessing to a further two.

One of their victims, 12-year-old Keith Bennett, has never been found despite years of searching and his family’s pleas for Brady to reveal the location of his remains.

Hindley died in prison in 2002, aged 60, from bronchial pneumonia.

Sketch courtesy of Julia Quenzler, with thanks.

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