Lesley Ann Downey
26th December 1964

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Lesley Ann Downey

Lesley Ann Downey

Boxing Day. 1964. While Manchester undid its collective belt buckle to slumber in a post-Christmas haze in front of the TV, Brady and Hindley remained inhumanly immune from festivity. 

The pair visited a fairground and noticed 10 year old Lesley Ann Downey standing alone by a ride. Their plan was both simple and awful in its understanding of the cheerful, helpful mentality that typifies girls of that age. Dropping some shopping they were carrying, they asked for her help in picking it up and carrying it to the car.

Poor trusting, public-spirited Lesley did exactly that. And then agreed to go home with them in their car to help them get their shopping into the house.

Arriving back at Wardle Close, her helpfulness was rewarded in the cruellest way imaginable. She was stripped to her shoes and socks and bound. Using a tape recorder, Brady carefully documented the last 16 minutes of her life. When the tape was later played during their trial it, perhaps more than anything, revealed the monstrous callousness of the Moors Murderers.

Throughout the tape, Brady and Hindley alternatively cajole and bully the confused, terrified girl as they assault her - stuffing a scarf into her mouth and binding her arms and legs. A photograph of her in that position that was shown at the trial is available on the internet - as are transcripts of the tape recordings (I'm undecided as to whether or not to publish them here).

She repeatedly pleaded for her mum and to God until, some minutes after Brady threatened to slit her throat there was silence. The recording ended with three clicks - which are assumed to have been the sound of Brady placing a tripod's legs on the ground from which to shoot the pictures.

Hindley claimed to have been upstairs drawing a bath for the girl when the killing was committed, but even if that were the case, her presence during those final few minutes indicates exactly her complicity. During the recording, Hindley repeatedly takes a 'reassuring' role - telling Lesley that she'll be 'alright'.

Later, her body would join those of the others on the lonely sweeps of the Pennine moors, buried with her clothes at her feet.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 12th August 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2019
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