Detective who arrested Moors murderer Ian Brady died never having “total closure”

Ian Fairley, who was a 21 year old Detective Constable involved in the Moors Murders investigation.

Ian Fairley, who was a 21 year old Detective Constable involved in the Moors Murders investigation. - Credit: EDP © 1998

Former head of Norfolk CID Ian Fairley passed away almost a year before his most notorious arrest - Ian Brady - still convinced there were further victims hidden at Saddleworth Moor.

Ian Brady who has died aged 79. Photo: Handout/PA Wire.

Ian Brady who has died aged 79. Photo: Handout/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

As a 21-year-old detective constable with Hyde CID in Cheshire, Mr Fairley was the first to respond on Thursday October 7, 1965, to the home shared by Brady and Myra Hindley on Wardlebrook Road, Hattersley.

Police had been called by David Smith, who was married to Hindley's sister Maureen.

A petrified Smith told officers he had witnessed a murder at the terraced council house.

Hindley, said Smith, had invited him round to the house, at 16, where – as he watched in shock and disbelief – Brady 'split' 17-year-old Edward Evans with a knife.


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Smith, who feared for his own life, helped the killers clear up before he fled and called the police.

Early on Thursday October 7, Mr Fairley, who had been in the CID for 11 months, and two other officers, one disguised as a breadman so the couple would not be alerted, knocked on the door.

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'Brady was cool, calm and collected and so was she,' Mr Fairley told this newspaper in 1998. 'There was no flicker of emotion.

She was ice cold. 'All she ever said was 'I didn't do it, I didn't do anything, you haven't got anything to say to us.''

In an upstairs room the officers found Edward Evans' body. It was trussed up in a foetal position in a black plastic bag.

Mr Fairley, who lived at Aslacton, near Norwich, before moving to France in retirement, was with Evans' mother when she officially identified the body.

'I took her back to her house that night,' he said. 'She had nothing, she didn't have a penny to rub together.

'Now her son was gone as well. She just sat there all night and cried.'

Brady and Hindley were arrested and taken to Hyde police station.

Mr Fairley and Det Sgt Alec Carr, known as Jock, took a statement from Brady in which he confessed he had killed Evans.

Mr Fairley retired from the Norfolk force in 1995 after heading the CID for three years. He died last year after a long battle with cancer, aged 72.

Speaking in 2010, he described Brady as 'nobody's fool'.

'Brady was intelligent, nobody's fool, a very deep thinker,' he said. 'He thought everything through before he spoke to you. He was a man who likes to control.

'He knows we all want him to tell us where Keith Bennett's body is. Keith is the only one that has not been found, although in my opinion I think there are more.'

David Reeve, retired chief superintendent with Norfolk Police, and a friend of Mr Fairley after they both applied for the same job with the force, said he 'didn't talk about the case a great deal'.

'The only impression I ever got from him was there was never total closure because they never recovered all the bodies,' he said.

'It is like a lot of major investigations - you are never sure you have left every stone unturned. I am sure lessons learned and experiences gained from such a major investigation would have influenced his approach to major investigations in Norfolk.'

Greater Manchester Police will never close the Moor Murders case and Ian Brady's death 'does not change that', Martin Bottomley, the head of the force's Cold Case Review Unit has said.

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