This starts the first in a series of posts about female killers, which are a source of fascination, and are often more interesting than their male counterparts. Even with the abundance of violent female offenders, it is still difficult for many to stomach women can be just as evil (if not more so) than men. This reminds me of a quote by Louis CK:
When girls go wild, they show their tits to people. When women go wild, they kill men and drown their kids in a tub.
Not all the time, but you know what I mean.
In the coming weeks, there will be plenty of women killing men, and a few drowning kids in a tub. Just giving everyone a fair warning.
Myra Hindley along with her boyfriend Ian Brady tortured, sexually assaulted, and murdered five children between July 1963 to October 1965, in a crime spree known as the Moors Murders.
Myra Hindley was born on July 23, 1942 in Manchester, England to a working class family. Her family lived in poverty and her father beat her regular basis. After Hindley’s sister was born, the family did not have enough space for both children and sent Hindley to live with her grandmother. Her father served in the English Army during World War II and taught Hindley how to fight at a young age. When Hindley was eight, she punched and knocked out a local boy who had bullied her and later Hindley wrote “at eight years old I’d scored my first victory”. The normalization of violence is a major contributing factor in later violent offenses, especially in this case.
She was traumatized by the death of a close childhood friend after he drowned in front of her. Hindley became a devout Catholic and found steady employment as a clerk at an engineering firm. Hindley eventually found another job where she met Ian Brady. At 18, she became fascinated and entranced with Brady and it did not take long for Brady and Hindley to become a couple. Brady had a criminal record and Hindley was often concerned about his behavior. Brady had been arrested several times as a teenager for breaking into houses. The couple was fascinated with the macabre and spent many hours reading about Nazism, crime, and torture (my husband and I do the same, but we aren’t murderers). She was also enrolled in martial arts and gun lessons.
Brady, Hindley and Hindley’s brother in-law David Smith, planned several bank robberies, but were never carried out due to the fact that Hindley had difficulty driving. Soon after, Brady began talking about committing murder after seeing the 1959 film Compulsion about two men who murder a twelve year-old boy and get away with it.
In July 1963, Hindley and Brady committed their first murder. They killed a 16 year-old former classmate of Maureen Hindley, Myra’s sister. David Smith was questioned in the murder but was released. Their next victim was in November 1963 in which the boy’s stepfather was questioned four times for two years after his murder and disappearance. It was David Smith, who witnessed Brady murdering 17 year-old Edward Evans with an axe. Smith feared Brady’s psychotic nature and reported him to the police. Smith told the police about several of their other victims and claimed that the bodies were buried on Hindley and Brady’s property.
Hindley and Brady went on trial in 1966 in which they both pleaded not guilty to three murders. Brady was found guilty of the three murders, and Hindley was found guilty of two and for harboring Brady. Brady and Hindley were placed in separate prisons with life sentences. Hindley professed her innocence for most of her sentence and claimed that she participated in the murders because Brady had drugged her and threatened to blackmail her with pornographic pictures he took of her and threatened to kill her sister, Maureen. Brady and Hindley stayed in contact for several years while in prison via letters, but ended their relationship after Hindley fell in love with a female prison guard.
In 1987, Hindley released a full confession stating that she had been involved in all five of the murders. Later that year Hindley made an appeal for parole, which was denied. Hindley has claimed that she “knew better” but then stated that “I ought to have been hanged. I deserved it. My crime was worse than Brady’s because I enticed the children and they would never have entered the car without my role … I have always regarded myself as worse than Brady”. Hindley died in prison from heart disease on November 16, 2002.
It’s interesting to me she considered herself worse than Ian Brady. This is possibly because she herself still held the belief women could not be violent. Hindley is also quoted as saying in referring to Brady, “Within months he had convinced me that there was no God at all: he could have told me that the earth was flat, the moon was made of green cheese and the sun rose in the west, I would have believed him, such was his power of persuasion.”
Women are often influenced and manipulated by the men in their lives to commit crimes and serve as accomplices. While this does happen and it is legitimate, it is often used by female offenders as a defense. In general, women tend to receive lighter sentences, even for violent offenses. However, that is not always the case. Male and female violence is both perpetrated by the same things: mental illness, drug abuse, unstable upbringings, etc. M.O. and victimology vary between male and female, but the true differences end there, which we will explore more of in the upcoming weeks.
Edge, S. (2009, September 10). Evil of the Lady Killers. The Express.
McVeigh, K. (2002, November 16). Death at 60 for the woman who came to personify evil. Scotsman.
Ritchie, J. (1988). Myra Hindley—Inside the Mind of a Murderess. Angus & Robertson.
Staff, D. (2007). The Lost Boy . Bantam Press.
Topping, P. (1989). Topping: The Autobiography of the Police Chief in the Moors Murder Case. Angus & Robertson.