I am not psychotic, Moors murderer Ian Brady tells tribunal

Ian Brady seeking right to return to prison from mental hospital

Court artist sketch of Moors murderer Ian Brady (left)appearing via video at his mental health tribunal at Manchester Civil Justice Centre last week. Photograph: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Moors Murderer Ian Brady told his mental health tribunal today that he is not "psychotic" and should be allowed to return to prison.

But the child killer refused to directly answer if he would kill himself in jail if he gets his wish to be transferred from a maximum security hospital.

Brady (75), has brought the tribunal, which is being held in public, because he believes he is not mentally ill and wants to be transferred to a prison from maximum security Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside, where he has been held for 28 years.

Ian Brady: jailed for life in 1966.
Myra Hindley, partner of Ian Brady, who died in prison in 2002. Photograph: ITV/Wild Productions/PA Wire

The child killer, who claims to have been on hunger strike since 1999, is being fed through a tube in his nose.


Wearing a dark suit, white shirt and tie and his customary dark glasses, Brady spoke for the first time publicly at length since he was jailed for life in 1966 for killing three children.

His barrister, Nathalie Lieven QC, asked him directly if he wished to kill himself in prison. “If you are transferred back to prison, you will try to commit suicide, is that right?”

He replied: “I have been asked the question repeatedly. I have answered hypothetically from all angles.

“In prison you are a monkey in a cage being poked with a stick. How can you pretend to be omnipotent? You cannot make plans when you have no freedom of control, movement or anything. As I say, a monkey in a cage being poked by a stick.

“You cannot talk sensibly about anything with a question like that.”

Brady was directly asked why he wanted to leave Ashworth. He said originally it was a “decent and progressive” regime when it was the “star” of the specialist hospitals such as Broadmoor and Rampton. But he complained that the regime changed when Ashworth went from being run by the Home Office to being under the control of the NHS.

“Security ruled care,” he said. “Of course, that was not official policy, it was covert.” He described Ashworth, and the like, now as a “penal warehouse”.

Ms Lieven asked Brady why he was not prepared to be treated with anti-psychotic drugs.

He replied: “I am not psychotic.”

He went on to criticise psychiatrists as he told the panel that he was “not interested” in being analysed.

“Some of these psychiatrists, I would throw a net over them,” he said. “I would not allow them on the street. They are unbelievable. How has this person got the job in the first place and how is it they’re able to hold the job?”

He also reserved scorn for the media and its continued interest in him. “Why are they still talking about Jack the Ripper, after a century? Because of the dramatic background, the fog, cobbled streets.

“Mine’s the same... Wuthering Heights, Hound Of The Baskervilles.”

Brady said he had “more freedom” in prison - he spent time in Durham, Parkhurst and Wormwood Scrubs. He remembered mixing with the Kray twins, the Great Train Robbers and various terrorists. He laughed as he recalled how the above was recounted in the book Hard Bastards, written by Ronnie Kray’s wife, Kate.

He also alluded to his time as a barber at Wormwood Scrubs in the 1970s when he said he would trim the beards of prison staff and also recalled setting up a Braille unit.

Brady’s legal team say he has a severe narcissistic personality disorder but is not mentally ill and could be treated in prison rather than hospital. But officials at Ashworth argue that Brady is still chronically mentally ill and remains a paranoid schizophrenic who needs round-the-clock care.

Brady has previously claimed that he wants to starve himself in jail where he cannot be force-fed and also claims to be on hunger strike although the tribunal heard yesterday that he makes himself toast.

Brady said his relationship with other patients at Ashworth is “unremarkable” and that his so-called paranoia of them is “sensible suspicion”. He said he has mainly remained in his room for the past 10 months because of the “negative, regressive, provocative staff that I am avoiding”.

Brady was given life at Chester Assizes on May 6th, 1966 — the last time he spoke in a public forum as he denied a series of child murders.

Brady and his partner, Myra Hindley, were convicted of luring children and teenagers to their deaths, with their victims sexually tortured before being buried on Saddleworth Moor in Lancashire.

Pauline Reade (16), disappeared on her way to a disco on July 12th, 1963 and John Kilbride (12), was snatched in November the same year. Keith Bennett was taken on June 16th, 1964 after he left home to visit his grandmother; Lesley Ann Downey (10), was lured away from a funfair on Boxing Day 1964; and Edward Evans (17), was killed in October 1965.

Brady was given life for the murders of John, Lesley Ann and Edward.

Hindley was convicted of killing Lesley Ann and Edward and shielding Brady after John’s murder, and jailed for life. She died in hospital, still a prisoner, in November 2002 at the age of 60.

Judge Robert Atherton has said that no questions will be heard about the whereabouts of Keith’s body because the tribunal has no authority to investigate the matter. The hearing is being relayed to the press and public on TV screens at Manchester Civil Justice Centre. The judgment of the panel will be released at a later date yet to be fixed.