Decoy boy vanishes as ambush goes wrong (23.10.67)

Daily Mail, 23rd October 1967


1 comment
  1. Troyhand said:
    Daily Mail – 19 July 2013
    Myra Hindley, the former nun and their lesbian trysts in prison after table tennis

    *Moors Murderer Myra Hindley had trysts in prison with female warder
    *They met playing table tennis at Holloway prison and fell in love
    *Pat Cairns was jailed for six years for trying to help Hindley escape

    Details of how Myra Hindley was allowed to conduct a three-year lesbian affair with a prison warder have been revealed for the first time.

    The Moors Murderer’s relationship with former nun Pat Cairns was common knowledge among staff at Holloway, files reveal.

    The pair’s romance began during table tennis sessions and the child killer even knitted cuddly toys as presents for her lover.

    But Hindley managed to convince the prison governor that tales of an affair were false and Cairns merely provided ‘spiritual guidance’.

    When a fellow inmate reported them, Hindley convinced the governor it was a lie and the other prisoner was punished for making false allegations.

    The relationship continued until a plot by the pair to spring Hindley from jail and escape together to South America was uncovered.

    The warder who exposed their scheme, Heather Longhurst, told police: ‘It was general gossip that there had been association between Patricia Cairns and Myra Hindley.’

    Hindley had been found in the prison chapel and escorted back to her wing by Miss Longhurst.

    Another officer searched the chapel and found Cairns in a ‘very flustered’ state. Later Cairns confessed to Miss Longhurst how she had met Hindley playing table tennis on the wing and the pair, both then 27, had fallen in love.

    The previously secret files have been studied by Dr Tom Clark, a Sheffield University lecturer who is researching a book about Hindley.

    They reveal how Cairns and the killer had trysts in the prison chapel and exchanged more than 100 letters – with the warder posing as Hindley’s cousin.

    Between 1971 and 1973 Hindley wrote 74 letters to Cairns, addressing them to ‘Glenis Moores’ – she had a cousin Glenys.

    The murderer received 51 typewritten replies from Cairns, which were later destroyed.

    Miss Longhurst said: ‘Cairns told me she loved Hindley more than anything else in the world. They seemed to have a perfect understanding in every way.

    ‘Pat showed me knitted articles in the form of animals which Myra had made for her.’ Cairns even showed her photographs she had taken of Hindley in her cell.

    The affair was able to continue, not least because the governor, Dorothy Wing, had a high opinion of Hindley and even took her for walks on Hampstead Heath.

    In March 1971, inmate Pat Ali was caught with a £5 note hidden inside a pen. She claimed it was a reward for acting as a go-between for Cairns and Hindley.

    Hindley said these were ‘mendacious and wicked allegations’ and that Cairns had provided her with ‘considerable spiritual help’ when she asked advice about a ‘particularly painful religious struggle’.

    Ali was found guilty of making a false malicious allegation against a prison officer.

    Governor Wing even wrote about Hindley: ‘As a prisoner she presents herself as a very disciplined, very controlled person anxious never to transgress prison rules.’

    But in November 1973 police heard rumours of a plot by Hindley to escape using forged keys.

    Hindley became desperate to warn her lover and when Miss Longhurst heard talk of ‘key impressions’ she arranged to see Cairns.

    Suspecting prison keys had been copied in a serious escape bid, she decided to turn her colleague in.

    Cairns was jailed for six years and never saw Hindley again. Hindley continued to write to her until 1976. Her letters were returned unread.

    Hindley, who with Ian Brady tortured and murdered at least five children in Manchester in the 1960s, burying their bodies on Saddleworth Moor, died in Cookham Wood prison in 2002, aged 60.

    Her prison records were originally intended to be sealed for 100 years, but were released into the national archives after her death.

    Cairns assumed a new identity on release from prison and moved to a spot near the moors, close to where Hindley’s ashes were scattered.
    The Canberra Times – Wednesday 3 April 1974
    ‘Miss Myra Hindley
    Former nun in plot with killer

    LONDON, Tuesday (AAP-Reuter). — A former nun turned prison officer was jailed yesterday for six years after a court was told she had had a love affair with a convicted child murderer, Miss Myra Hindley, and had plotted her escape so they could become missionaries in Brazil.

    Miss Hindley, 31, is serving a life sentence for her part in what were known as the Moors Murders: the torture-killing by her and her then boyfriend, Mr Ian Brady, of two children whose bodies were found buried on the Yorkshire Moors.

    Today she received a token 12-month sentence for her role in the escape plot.

    Miss Hindley said in a statement read in Central Criminal Court that she was “very friendly” with the prison officer. Miss Patricia Cairns, 30, and carried photographs of her in a leather pouch next to her body.

    They had been having a relationship, and she had sent love letters to Miss Cairns.

    Tried to have keys made

    The prosecutor said the two used another prisoner, Miss Maxime Croft, as a go-between, and attempted to have prison keys made, using soap and plaster impressions.

    The plot was discovered when Miss Croft lost her nerve and told the details to a probation officer.

    Miss Croft, already serving a three-year sentence for possessing forged banknotes, was sentenced to a further 18 months.

    Earlier, the prosecutor read a long statement by Miss Cairns in which she said she and Miss Hindlev shared the same deep love for the Roman Catholic faith.

    She had planned to take Miss Hindley to Sao Paulo in Brazil where they would do missionary work.

    Lord Longford, a well known anti-pornography campaigner who was called as a defence witness, said he had visited Miss Hindley in prison 20 times over the past five years and found her deeply religious.

    He described her as “a good woman making a determined effort to make amends for her past”.
    Daily Mail – 2007
    The Making of Myra: Hindley’s jail love affair

    While Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were on remand in the same prison awaiting trial, they insisted on their rights.

    All unconvicted, co-habiting prisoners were allowed to visit each other – and there was no reason, they argued, for them to be treated differently.

    They were able to see each other several times a week.

    They talked, shifting through apparently mundane topics of conversation to bore the guards. They chatted about films they’d seen, trips they’d taken. The ‘screws’ didn’t know what ‘else’ had happened on those days. By hints and suggestions, the two murderers were able to relive their appalling crimes. They still had their love and their secrets.

    In the witness box, they stuck rigidly to their agreed strategy of resolute lying and denial. On their way into court, they clasped hands.

    One day, Myra smuggled a Quality Street Easter egg into the van taking them to the hearing; they scoffed it together so quickly that they both felt sick by the time they arrived.

    Years later, in her letters to me, Hindley said that she was ‘under Brady’s spell’ throughout this period. This implies, if not resistance, at least a degree of passivity.

    I find this difficult to reconcile with the police record of her strong, defiant manner during interrogation.

    Indeed, a story in her unpublished autobiography – part of the vast number of papers passed to me by her friends after her death – shows she was still actively enjoying sadistic sexual fantasies while on remand for child murder.

    One day, while the two of them were with their solicitor, Brady managed to slip Myra a notebook. It was filled with stories about harming children, written in a secret code. He also handed her a slip of paper on which he’d written the key.

    When she got back to her cell she copied these messages into an exercise book. She disguised them as verse and interspersed them with real poems. When decoded, one read: ‘Why don’t you throw acid on Brett?’

    Brett was the younger brother of Lesley Ann Downey, one of their victims. The messages, Hindley recalled, made her feel that she and Brady were still as one.

    That oneness continued after they were each sentenced to life imprisonment in 1966 for the killings of Downey, Edward Evans and John Kilbride, and were taken away to separate jails, never to see each other again.

    From a distance, Brady and Hindley worked at sustaining their love. They wrote to one another every day and started the same German course, exchanging hints and comparing marks.

    The idea that they were intellectually superior, and above the common herd, had always been one of the bonds between them.

    At German, Myra was the more diligent student: she sat her O-level before Brady and got an A grade. He wrote to tell her he was proud.

    Behind these innocent communications, he was sending her other messages, in their secret code, about harming children. The descriptions weren’t explicit; the slightest allusion to a shared secret was often enough to recall an experience.

    But sadistic sex was still the fire that burned at the heart of their relationship. And there was the big secret they shared in defiance of the police and the world – that they had killed more children than anyone knew about; that there were more bodies to be found.

    None of this could be communicated in person. To their fury, the couple’s pleas for conjugal visits were now denied. They took it in turns to bombard the Home Secretary with ‘petitions’, which were declined with metronomic efficiency.

    Not being able to see Brady became an increasing burden for Hindley. In letters to her mother, Nellie, her references to him became desperate.

    ‘I’ve been in prison for three years now, Mam,’ she wrote, ‘and haven’t seen Neddy (her pet name for Brady, after Neddy Seagoon in The Goons) for two and a half of them, which I think is awful, thinking how many other prisoners have been granted this privilege.’

    Solace came from another direction. Although Holloway Prison was housed in Victorian buildings, its morals were those of Sixties London.

    When she first arrived there, Myra had never seen women holding hands before, or kissing. Now, she witnessed open displays of affection between her fellow inmates. At night, lovers called to one another through the bars.

    Initially, she described all this in her letters to Brady as an observer, not yet part of it. Later, she too had relationships – though none threatened her bond with Brady.

    Then, in 1970, four years into her sentence, Myra’s fellow inmate Carole O’Callaghan came to her in a state of high excitement – she’d seen a woman who was just Myra’s type!

    Myra did not get over-excited. Carole was always picking out women as potential lovers for her. Just what, she asked, made Carole think she knew what her type was? No, no, came the breathless reply, this one was really lovely. Her name was Trish Cairns – and she was a prison officer!

    Not long after, the door to the wing opened and a lithe, brown-haired young officer emerged. As soon as she saw her, Myra knew she was the one. She recollected that the officer turned and stared, and ‘something happened’ deep inside. Just like with Brady, it was love at first sight.

    Myra’s cell faced the main gate, and she took to standing on her bed when the warders changed shifts – at 7.45, 12.15, 1.30, 5.15 and 9.15 – in the hope of catching a glimpse of the officer.

    In the end, they met by chance. Myra was being taken to the library, a heavy iron door swung open and there was the object of her desires. Myra noted in her autobiography how the warder escorting her had laid a hand on her head and said: ‘This one’s Category A.’

    ‘I know,’ replied the new officer. She turned and led the group inside. Over three decades later, when I spoke to Patricia Cairns, her recollection of this meeting with Hindley remained bright in her mind.

    ‘She stood out, straight-backed and calm, not like the others. They were chatting away. She would think that was beneath her. She was very dignified. And she was very bonny.’

    Cairns recognised Hindley’s name but, oddly, had very little idea of her crimes. During the Moors murders trial she was living as a nun in an enclosed Carmelite convent in Salford. By the time a crisis of faith prompted her to leave, Hindley and Brady were behind bars.

    After their first encounter, Myra’s infatuation steadily grew. Trisha was attractive. More than that, there seemed to be a warmth about her. But there was no point even thinking about it: Hindley was an inmate, Cairns a warder.

    But the following week, at lock-up, Myra managed to smuggle a letter to Trisha in which she told her she loved her. That night, she recalled, was hell. If Trisha reported her she’d be up before the governor. Even worse was the possibility of rejection.

    Already, though, the significance of her feelings was clear. Brady’s spell had been broken; she wanted someone else.

    She had come to realise that she was never going to see Brady again. Unlike him, she could no longer find nourishment in the crimes of the past. She needed new experiences, and love, in the present.

    The first time she and Cairns were alone together was while everyone else was watching a film. Trisha was smart in her off-duty clothes -jeans, an olive green suede jacket and matching Chelsea boots. Myra felt awkward in her black bell-bottoms and granny-like nylon housecoat.

    Trisha gave her a present, a recording of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini. They walked to the music room to listen to it, and Trisha passed Myra a card showing Dali’s Christ on the Cross. On the back were the words: ‘The feeling is mutual.’

    Myra was the happiest she had been for years. She and Trisha discovered they had much in common – both working-class Catholic girls from homes dominated by a violent, hard-drinking father.

    In Myra’s letters home now there were no more expressions of frustration at not being allowed to see Brady. One night, Myra heard a knocking on her cell door. She got up and there was a rose bud, wet with dew, in the centre of the spyhole. She took it, and found Trisha staring at her. ‘I love you,’ the warder whispered. ‘It’s hopeless, but I can’t help it.’

    I found it hard to understand how anyone could fall in love with a multiple child murderer. Cairns explained the nature of prison life meant people’s crimes were rarely discussed; they were taken at face value.

    What’s more, Myra did not rush to discuss her past. ‘She told me after a few months. I was upset when I found out it was children. But it was beyond my control. I was in love with her.’

    Security at Holloway was lax, and it did not take long for them to work out ways of meeting every day. There was no shortage of private places – the craft room, the prison chapel, even her cell – to snatch time together.

    Nevertheless, Cairns was uneasy. ‘Some people like the risk of situations like that,’ she told me, ‘but I found it worrying. My feelings were so strong they were overpowering.’

    The relationship gave Myra a reason to cut off all ties with the man she described as her ‘one-time God’. She began to dread getting Brady’s letters and having to fake love in her replies.

    This new relationship was different from her previous ones in prison. It went far beyond sex. Trisha was the love of her life; in her autobiography, Hindley wrote that Cairns had ‘led her by the hand out of the wasteland’.

    Myra knew there was one thing she had to do before she could reach closure with Brady. There were 200 photographs the two of them had taken on Saddleworth Moor, which the police had originally confiscated but which had been handed back to Myra’s family.

    They were in a tartan-covered album, which had been sent to her mother for safe-keeping. They were a strange collection – many of them of empty landscapes, the sort of pictures most half-decent photographers would throw away.

    To Brady, who was skilled with a camera, they had assumed a huge importance. There were five in particular he was desperate to see, and for ages he had been begging Myra to get her mother to send them to him. But Nellie stalled; she had her suspicions about what the pictures really were.

    Professor Malcolm MacCulloch, the forensic psychiatrist who was helping me understand the evidence I was accumulating, had no doubt what Brady wanted. His memory of events was fading. He needed reinvigoration.

    ‘Those pictures portray, or remind him of, burial sites. He wants them so he can relive the murders, and enjoy possession of the bodies.’

    As her love for Trisha deepened, Hindley put increasing pressure on her mother to do as Brady wanted. ‘Ian’s going on about photos again – he thinks of little else – please post the things to him.’

    But Nellie refused until May 1972, when Myra wrote the words that her mother had longed to see from her. ‘I have decided to bring our relationship (mine and Ian’s) to a close,’ Myra wrote. With this assurance, Nellie sent Brady the five pictures he wanted.

    Professor MacCulloch told me that letting Brady have the photographs was the only hope Myra had of achieving a clean break.

    ‘She’s spent all these years corresponding with Brady about what they’ve done. She knows he has got to have closure. If she’s going to cast him aside he has got to have what he needs.’

    Myra sat down to write her final letter to Brady. The words did not come easily, even though she was clear about the decision and had committed herself to Trisha. They had shared so much. She forced herself to go on, posted the letter, and waited for the reply.

    ‘He was furious,’ Patricia Cairns told me. ‘He was blazing that she should reject him. ‘Do you think he realised you had replaced him?’ I asked. She paused before replying. ‘He must have picked up signs in her letters. It’s hard to fake emotion convincingly.’

    Brady refused to accept that the relationship was over, that he no longer had someone to share his secrets, a lover who might one day be free to send back sounds and smells from the outside world to sustain him.

    Myra was unmoved. She asked the governor to return his letters unopened. Then she burned all correspondence with him in a brazier at the bottom of E-wing. Trisha helped her.

    Myra and Patricia’s relationship continued for the next three years. The affair was an open secret among the staff, but there was a lot of sympathy for the pair: many officers were gay and involved in relationships either with one another or with inmates.

    Hindley found the situation deeply frustrating. She wanted a complete life with Trisha. The brief moments they shared began to feel like footholds on an impossibly steep climb.

    It was then that another inmate, Maxine Croft, in for fraud, came up with a solution: why didn’t they escape? ‘That’s what I would do in your position,’ explained Maxine. ‘You’ll die in here otherwise.’

    The idea began to take hold in Myra’s mind. But where would they go? Abroad, replied Maxine. She could get hold of passports, visas, cash. Some people on the outside owed her favours.

    It was a mad idea, but it nagged away at Myra. It seemed the only chance she and Trisha had of living together. The more she thought about freedom, the more impossible the idea of a life without it felt.

    They would flee over Holloway’s perimeter wall using a ladder, drive to Heathrow in a hired car and take the ‘very convenient’ 11pm flight to Rio. Once there, she and Trisha would enquire about missionary work.

    Trisha went along with the plan, seeing it as just one of Myra’s fantasies. ‘But then it turned from a fantasy into a reality.’

    They got as far as Trisha and Maxine making an impression of the prison’s master key and posting it to a forger. But there was an alert on at the time about IRA parcel bombs, and the suspicious package was intercepted. The police descended on Holloway.

    In court, Trisha was sentenced to six years for conspiracy to help a prisoner escape. An officer tried to stop Myra as she reached out across the dock for her lover. ‘I almost crushed her hand as I held it for the last time.’

    Brady followed the court case from his prison cell. According to Professor MacCulloch, who spent years treating him, he was devastated by Hindley’s ‘disloyalty’ to him.

    ‘But they hadn’t seen one another for years,’ I said.

    ‘He called her “my girl” to the day she died,’ MacCulloch told me. ‘And she was. He always had a hold over her.’

    Hindley was faithful to Trisha during the initial pain of separation, but she knew they had very little prospect of ever being together again. It was only a matter of time before she took a new, sexual partner.

    ‘Weren’t you jealous of Myra having other relationships?’ I asked. Cairns replied: ‘She couldn’t have coped without someone else. It’s a question of depth – what we had endured.’

    Myra increasingly turned to her family for emotional support. Now that ‘the love of her life’ had gone from her day-to-day existence, there was a needy, almost desperate tone in her dealings with them.

    She allowed herself to imagine what things would be like when she was released, able again to play a part in life outside. I found repeated descriptions in Myra’s letters home of how she would care for her mother and make things up to her. ‘I’m living for the day when I’ll be able to look after you,’ she said.

    It seemed as though she could not survive without at least the flickering hope of freedom. The candle might spit and gutter, but if it went out completely she would no longer be able to survive.

    Her supporters, notably Lord Longford and David Astor, former editor of The Observer, encouraged her to believe this was possible. But when she applied for parole, barely ten years after being convicted, there was an outcry.

    Hindley heard on the radio that her case had been rejected. ‘I just couldn’t believe the decision could be so savage and callous,’ she told her mother. ‘I feel spiritually battered and shattered.

    ‘But I’ll pull myself together because we have to keep each other going. As long as you’re alive and waiting for me out there, I’ll struggle along somehow.’

    When her younger sister Maureen died suddenly, that resolution faltered. She was consumed by grief. I asked Professor MacCulloch: ‘Do you think Maureen’s death made her reflect on the suffering she’d inflicted on others?’

    ‘She did not think of it in those terms,’ he said. ‘She retained the immunity to violence that allowed her to carry out the crimes in the first place.’

    The pressure, however, was building. When a newspaper got hold of the tartan album of photographs from her mother, Myra was apoplectic.

    Losing control of the album made her feel deeply insecure. The more people who saw it, the greater the risk that it would give up its secrets.

    She had yet to admit to any of the murders she’d been convicted of, let alone reveal that there were two more victims buried on Saddleworth Moor – Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett.

    I asked Professor MacCulloch what he thought her state of mind was at this time. ‘She needed to get out of prison,’ he replied, ‘and she thought the best way was to stick to the original plan she’d made with Brady when they were caught – stay silent, admit nothing.

    ‘The trouble was, he knew the plan too and could easily scupper it.’

    And so he did. Embittered and vengeful, Brady came up with a plan to ensure that Myra died behind bars. He invited a reporter to Ashworth Special Hospital on Merseyside and, when he was sure of his man, delivered a devastating fact – there were more bodies on the moor.

    Four days later the Home Secretary announced that the parole board would not reconsider Hindley’s case for another five years. Brady’s revenge for her ‘betrayal’ was complete.

    Cornered, Myra decided the only chance she now had of ever getting out of prison was to give up the denials she had kept up since her arrest and make a formal confession.

    In February 1987, she was interviewed by police. Even now she tried to minimise her role in the killings, pinning all the blame on Brady. ‘She was always in the other room, or over the hill,’ one officer said. ‘She was never there when things happened.’

    Nevertheless, from the oblique things she told them, they were able to find the grave of Pauline Reade.

    That just left Keith Bennett – the victim whose remains are still missing to this day …

    • Abridged extract from The Lost Boy by Duncan Staff, published by Bantam Press on March 1 at £14.99. ° Duncan Staff 2007. To order a copy (p&p free), call 0870 161 0870.

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