Author denies using fresh Keith Bennett Moors Murders probe to court publicity

Moors Murders hunt Keith Bennett
Fresh searches have taken place on Saddleworth Moor. Credit: PA

The author who sparked a fresh search for Moors Murders victim Keith Bennett has refuted suggestions he is using the investigation to court publicity.

Russell Edwards triggered a new police search on Saddleworth Moor, on the border between Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, after claiming to have found part of a child's skull during his own investigations.

It prompted speculation that it could provide a breakthrough in the search for Keith, who was snatched by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in June 1964 at the age of 12, but whose remains have never been found.

Mr Edwards, who has carried out seven years of research into the case, said he showed pictures of the "human jaw" to police. But officers say they have so far found no "identifiable human remains".

Keith Bennett was snatched by Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in south Manchester in June 1964. Credit: Family picture

Writing on Facebook, Keith's brother, Alan Bennett, said he was "frustrated, annoyed, confused" that nothing had been discovered.

In reference to Mr Edwards, he added: "Instead of doing the rounds of media outlets, maybe that bloke should return to the moor and be a lot more accurate about the facts and location of his find."

He made further comments questioning his level of "morality, ethics and humanity".

But Mr Edwards has denied the claims, saying he had spent years of his life searching for Keith's remains and his reputation was being "destroyed".

Addressing Alan Bennett directly in an interview with ITV News, Mr Edwards said: "I've literally dedicated seven years of my life to find justice for Keith, closure for your family and defeating Brady in his ambition to create the perfect murder and this is the thanks I get.

"Why not go and meet me, let me show you what I've got and explain the stories instead of just trying to destroy me and my reputation, which is what has happened on social media since."

Keith was one of five victims of Brady and Hindley, alongside Pauline Reade, 16, John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17. All the other victims' bodies have been found.

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were given life sentences Credit: PA

Following Keith's murder, Brady ignored repeated requests from his mother, Winnie Johnson, to identify the location of his makeshift grave so she could give her son a proper burial. She died in 2012.

Officers have dug around 3ft in the immediate area identified by Mr Edwards, as well as several metres beyond that. They say they will continue their search for the "foreseeable time".

Alan Bennett said on Facebook that he was "not ruling anything out", but he believes "Keith is not in that location".

He said he does not understand why Mr Edwards "appears not to have been exact in his information to the police about the location".

Mr Edwards said he would release the photograph of the jaw at some point, but would not return to the Moors to search for Keith's remains, saying: "I'm done... I'm looking at a further project now."

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