Pauline Reade
12nd July 1963

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Pauline Reade

Pauline Reade


On the evening of 12th July 1963, Brady and Hindley went out. Not for a drink or to catch a film, but to commit murder. The plan was simple: Hindley would drive alone in the van until they found a suitable victim. Brady would follow on his motorbike and signal to Hindley when he thought he'd seen someone who fitted the bill.

She would then stop and offer the victim a lift and once they were in the car, their plan could proceed to its horrifying conclusion.

Driving down Gorton Lane on that evening, Brady first indicated a young girl of around 7 or 8  but Hindley refused to stop. When Brady pulled her over to ask why, Hindley said that the girl was Marie Ruck, the daughter of her mum's neighbour. This is possibly the last glimpse of a twisted humanity in Hindley's involvement in what was to follow. Some have speculated that the reason Hindley refused to use Marie was because she thought that the outcry over such a young girl would be too much.

Later on, down Froxmer Street, they spotted 16 year old Pauline Reade. Hindley recognised her too as she was a friend of her younger sister. Only this time, any human feeling was absent. She stopped the car and wheedled Pauline into going with her to Saddleworth Moor to look for an expensive "lost glove."

Arriving on the moor, Hindley stopped the van - and they were joined by Brady who, it was explained, was also going to help look for the glove. By Hindley's account, Brady took Reade onto the moor while she waited in the van. Hindley's accounts of the murders were seemingly always designed to place her conveniently away from the scene at the time of the murder itself - presumably in an attempt to lessen her own guilt. One need only look as far as the taped evidence of Lesley Ann Downey's death as proof that Hindley was far more culpable than she would later admit.

Half an hour later, Brady returned by himself. He led Hindley to a secluded spot where Pauline lay, dying with a cut throat. He instructed Hindley to wait there until he fetched a spade. Alone with the body, Hindley noticed that Pauline's clothes were in disarray and concluded that Brady had sexually assaulted her. (Further caveats about the reliability of Hindley's testimony here must also be considered.)

The two buried her body and drove nonchalantly back into town, passing Pauline's mother and brother as they searched for her.

Brady's vision of a life untrammelled by morality was now a reality. He had shown that his talk of taking whatever pleasure you wanted regardless of the consequences for others was, for him, no mere idle flight of fancy. And naturally, it wasn't long before he and Hindley would look to their next murder.

The Search for Pauline's Body

Pauline's body was only discovered in 1987. At the original trial in 1966, Brady and Hindley were not tried for her murder, and it wasn't until 1985 that Brady confessed to the killing to reporter Fred Harrison (although he would later deny making this confession).

Shortly afterwards - having heard of Brady's confession - Myra Hindley too confessed to Pauline's murder and that of Keith Bennett and offered to try to help locate the bodies. While there was much scepticism about her motives for doing so she returned to the moors with the police to try and recollect where the body might have been buried.

The first visit was widely considered to be a farce - with Hindley seemingly completely lost and evidently disturbed by the presence of helicopters - but a second visit prompted Hindley to remember that she had seen the outline of Hollin Brown Knoll against the sky when Pauline had been murdered.

Prompted by this and the knowledge that the body of Lesley Anne Downey had been found within this location, police began a thorough search of the area. On July 1st 1987 after over three months of patient searching, police finally located Pauline's remains in a shallow grave just 100 yards from where Lesley Anne Downey's body had been found in 1965.

As Brady and Hindley were already serving life sentences without parole, it was decided that it would be pointless to prosecute them for the murders of Pauline and Keith Bennett, despite their admissions of guilt.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 25th July 2013 | © Weird Island 2010-2020


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