Police end search for Moors murder victim Keith Bennett as no remains found

The family of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett face fresh heartache as police confirmed no human remains have been found in a new search for the murdered schoolboy.

The 12-year-old was on his way to his grandmother’s house when he was snatched in June 1964 by murderers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady – the third child killed by the couple.

Cruelly, the evil pair refused to reveal where Keith’s body was buried before their deaths, leaving the family devastated.

But their hopes were raised last week when amateur detective and author, Russell Edwards, claimed to have found a partial skull on the site, which he believed to be Keith’s remains.

Police confirmed they had launched a new search in a bid to find these “potential human remains” on Thursday evening last week.

But cops have now ended the search as it was confirmed no evidence to indicate human remains was found, despite a complete excavation by accredited forensic experts.

The search concluded there was no evidence to indicate the presence of human remains, Greater Manchester Police said.

The officers in white hazmat suits spent days in fierce downpours and heavy winds combing the area with the help of a drone.

The original development had come after author Russell Edwards – who has been researching the murders for a book – contacted police when he and his team found a skull.

Mr Edwards believed he had located the youngster’s remains following “extensive soil analysis” by independent experts who are reported to have concluded the skull as human.

Forensic anthropologists had been examining potential samples of body tissue taken from the area in the hope they were of the youngster.

Keith was last seen by his mother in the early evening of June 16, 1964 after he left home in Eston Street, Longsight, Manchester, on his way to his grandmother’s house nearby.

Brady and Hindley murdered five people in total, and three were later found buried on Saddleworth Moor.

The victims were: Pauline Reade, 16, who disappeared on her way to a disco on July 12, 1963; John Kilbride, 12, who was snatched in November the same year; Lesley Ann Downey, 10, who was lured away from a funfair on Boxing Day 1964; and Edward Evans, 17, who was axed to death in October 1965.

Brady and Hindley were caught after Edward’s murder and Lesley and John’s bodies were recovered from the moor.

They were taken to Saddleworth Moor to help police find the remains of the other victims, but only Pauline’s body was recovered.

Brady claimed he could not remember where he had buried Keith.

Brady was jailed for life at Chester Assizes in 1966 for the murders of John, Lesley Ann and Edward.

Hindley was convicted of killing Lesley Ann and Edward and shielding Brady after John’s murder, and jailed for life.

In 1987 the pair finally admitted killing Keith and Pauline.

Pauline’s body was found on the moor later that year, but Keith’s body has never been found, which had been a source of constant torment to his mother Winnie Johnson who died in 2012.

In 2009, police said a covert search operation on the moor, which used a wealth of scientific experts, also failed to discover any trace of the boy.

Hindley died in jail in 2002 at the age of 60 and Brady died in a high-security hospital in 2017 aged 79.

In 2012 – 48 years after Keith’s death – his mother Winnie Johnson died aged 78 without fulfilling her wish to give him a Christian burial.

Brady died in 2017 and Hindley in 2002.

Keith’s brother Alan Bennett has always remained skeptical about the latest efforts being a success, saying on Friday it was clearly the wrong location and did not fit in with the other burial spots.

Land owner Chris Crowther said he’d hoped the search was a success after promising Mrs Johnson that he would never stop looking for her son.

He made the vow when the heartbroken mum visited him while she was ill with cancer shortly before her death.

The Crowthers have owned the 5,000 acres of lands where Brady and Hindley buried the bodies for generations and Chris’ grandfather helped locate John Kilbride’s remains in 1965.

Farmer Chris subscribes to the theory that serial killer Brady would have buried Keith on the same side of the A635 as John, with his female victims all hidden on the other side of the road.

What’s more, Mr Edwards believes Brady was creating a swastika with his victims’ bodies.

He said it was unfinished but the “half of a zig-zag” was obviously significant to the killer who held a fascination for Adolf Hitler.

Girlfriend Hindley even dyed her hair blonde to mimic an Aryan woman.