London - Child killer Ian Brady was allowed contact with vulnerable teenage prisoners for five years until one young inmate told the authorities they had sex, it was revealed yon Wednesday.
The Moors Murderer was allowed to stay in the hospital at Wormwood Scrubs Prison, where boys from nearby Borstal were sent for treatment for mental health problems.
He was allowed to mix with boys as young as 15 – a similar age to some of the five child victims he tortured, sexually assaulted and slaughtered with lover Myra Hindley in the 1960s.
His privileges were only revoked after the inmate came forward.
Newly released Home Office files reveal wardens at the jail in west London raised fears about his ‘unusual interest in any adolescent inmate’ and wanted to return him to segregation. But Brady threatened to go on hunger strike. He complained to prison reformer Lord Longford, and was subsequently allowed to stay on the hospital wing.
The ex-Labour minister’s interventions on Brady and Hindley’s behalf led to widespread criticism that he was naive and misguided.
Brady was apparently allowed unsupervised access to boys having treatment on the hospital wing. He was transferred to Wormwood Scrubs in 1974, eight years after he was convicted of the murders of Edward Evans, 17, John Kilbride, 12, and Lesley Ann Downey, ten. He was placed in segregation but went on hunger strike until he was moved to the hospital and then to a room on the Mental Observation Landing, known as G2.
During the five years he was there, boys from Feltham Borstal were taken to the prison hospital for mental health treatment.
Despite warnings from prison staff, Brady was allowed to watch television with other patients and given duties that let him move beyond G2, including cleaning showers.
Brady only lost those privileges in 1981, after the young inmate told the authorities they had sex, and Brady was transferred back to Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight a year later. He was later moved again to Ashworth secure hospital in Merseyside, where he died in 2017 aged 79. His other two victims were Pauline Reade, 16, and 12-year-old Keith Bennett – whose body he refused to locate.
Brady and Hindley were jailed for life in May 1966. An early prison report from Durham in 1969 described Brady as ‘polite but distant’ and said that he would occasionally give a ‘long, cold smile without apparent reason’.
The report, by a senior prison welfare officer, said: ‘He has sought my aid in getting a large number of books of an erotic, sadistic or masochistic nature. In this respect his mind appears to function much as it did before he came to prison.
‘He does not like to talk about his offences, he seems to have dismissed them from his mind.’
The files included letters to Lord Longford, whom he addressed as ‘Dear Frank’, in which he lobbied to stay on the hospital wing. He said conditions were ‘more pleasant’ than in the segregation unit.
Lord Longford passed his request to then home secretary Roy Jenkins, who said Brady ‘could be assured he would stay in the prison hospital for as long as he needed for his health’.
Ex-Wormwood Scrubs assistant governor Peter Meakings said he supervised meetings between Brady and Lord Longford, and was shocked at Brady’s curt attitude towards the peer. Brady was ‘angry’ Lord Longford had forgotten to bring his preferred Gauloise French cigarettes to one 1976 meeting.
Mr Meakings said he tried to avoid Brady, adding: ‘One of the children he murdered was the same age as my son at the time. I would get an odd feeling, a kind of shiver down my spine, when I was in the room with him.’ A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘There have been huge changes in the criminal justice system in the last 40 years and allegations of sexual assault are taken extremely seriously.’
WARNINGS BY PRISON STAFF
From Brady’s newly-released Wormwood Scrubs files:
Sept 1976 - ‘He takes an unusual interest in any adolescent inmate who may be located on the landing and his influence in such a situation is certainly not a wholesome one.’
March 1978 - ‘There is little change in his hard remorseless egotistical attitude. He is one of the few men to who I would attach the label “evil”.’
June 1978 - ‘If he is sent back to the segregation unit he will go on hunger strike and we shall be back to where we were several years ago.’
August 1979 - ‘Into ward G2 are admitted both boys and men who are mentally ill. Is it proper to have Brady in with them?’
January 1980 - ‘Under the present circumstances it would be impossible to prevent borstal trainees who are admitted to G2 from coming into contact with Brady.’