Ian Brady’s mental health advocate has told police she gave a letter, in which he apparently reveals the location of one of his victims, back to him.
Police launched an investigation after Jackie Powell told a Channel 4 documentary the Moors murderer gave her a sealed envelope to pass to Winnie Johnson, mother of 12-year-old Keith Bennett, in the event of his death.
The TV production team passed on the information to Greater Manchester Police on Jul 30 and Ms Powell, 49, who was appointed Brady’s mental health advocate in 1999, was detained yesterday on suspicion of preventing the burial of a body without lawful exercise.
However, police sources say she claims she returned the envelope to Brady at some point between Jul 30 and her arrest.
Detectives examining a large number of documents seized from Ms Powell’s home in south Wales have so far found no letter or any evidence to suggest Brady has disclosed the location of Keith’s body.
A search of Brady’s cell at Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside has also failed to uncover the alleged letter.
Ms Powell has been released on bail pending further inquiries.
It is thought she operates on a freelance basis.
Ashworth, where Brady has been detained since he was declared insane, confirmed she was not employed by the hospital or by the independent mental health advocacy service provided there.
Martin Bottomley, head of investigative review at Greater Manchester Police’s cold case crime unit, said his officers were trying to establish if the letter existed or was “simply a ruse”.
He said: “I want to be explicitly clear about this: Ian Brady has not revealed to police the location of Keith’s body.
“What we are looking at is the possibility, and at this stage it is only a possibility, that he has written a letter to Keith’s mum, Winnie Johnson, which was not to be opened until after his death.
“We do not know if this is true or simply a ruse but we clearly have a duty to investigate such information on behalf of Keith’s family.”
Brady, 74, has always refused to disclose the location of Keith’s body.
His refusal has caused constant heartache for Mrs Johnson, who has cancer, and recently appealed to him to break his silence before she died. She is receiving care in a hospice and is said to be unaware of yesterday’s developments.
Her lawyer, John Ainley, said he was “sceptical” about the possibility that Brady has revealed the location of Keith’s body.
“She has remained steadfast in her resolve that Ian Brady has held the key to this tragedy,” he said.
Brady and his partner Myra Hindley, who died in jail in 2002 aged 60, were responsible for the murders of five youngsters in the 1960s. Their victims were sexually tortured before being buried on Saddleworth Moor above Manchester.
Pauline Reade, 16, disappeared on Jul 12, 1963, and John Kilbride, 12, was snatched in November the same year.
Keith Bennett was taken on Jun 16, 1964, after he left home to visit his grandmother. Lesley Ann Downey, 10, was lured away from a funfair on Dec 26, 1964, and Edward Evans, 17, was killed in Oct 1965.
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