Moors murder: Keith Bennett’s brother voices frustration over search

<span>Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA</span>
Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

The brother of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett has said he is frustrated, annoyed and confused by an author’s claims in the media to have discovered the 12-year-old’s body as police said the search would continue for the “foreseeable future”.

Forensic science teams who have been digging since Thursday have so far found nothing at a spot on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester, where Russell Edwards said he came across what he believed to be the remains of Keith, who was murdered in 1964 by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

Posting on Facebook, Alan Bennett, Keith’s closest surviving family member, wrote: “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.

“There’s a lot more I would like to say and ask but out of respect and gratitude for the cold case team and the forensic team I’ll keep quiet for now.”

In a follow-up comment, he said he was “confused, to say the very least” at why the dig, near where Brady and Hindley’s four other child victims’ bodies were found, had yielded no results.

He said there appeared to be “more than meets the eye” to Edwards’s claims.

“I am just getting frustrated, annoyed, confused and feeling a lot more emotions because there is more to this than meets the eye and I cannot understand why that bloke appears not to have been exact in his information to the police about the location.

“Surely, he cannot have forgotten exactly where it is after his claims about his years of investigations. Just a few of the hundreds of thoughts running through my mind.”

Keith’s family have suffered decades of futile searches and false alarms, many of which were reported to the press before the police.

Watch: Hunt for Keith Bennett restarts 60 years on

Alan Bennett wrote: “There are two (out of many) occasions that stick out in my memory of finds on the moor. One was found by ourselves when we came across some material with press stud fastener, like those on a casual jacket. We immediately contacted the police and the site was investigated the following morning.

“Unfortunately, somebody informed the press once everybody had returned home to their various locations on the day of the find. It turned out to be nothing related to Keith, it was piece of camping equipment.

“Then a sheep farmer found some bones, unfortunately he contacted the press before the police (does that ring a bell in this case as well). The police went to the moor and erected a tent before examining the find. It turned out to be sheep bones.”

On Sunday, senior investigating officer Cheryl Hughes from Greater Manchester police said: “Following information received which indicated that potential human remains had been found on the Moors, specialist officers from GMP have today again resumed excavation of a site identified to the force.

“We have not found any identifiable human remains but work to excavate the site is continuing and will do so for the foreseeable time.”

Keith is the only Moors murder victim whose burial location was never revealed. Brady, who claimed he had forgotten where he buried the boy, died in 2017 and Hindley in 2002.

Keith’s mother, Winnie Johnson, regularly returned to Saddleworth Moor in the hope of finding the remains of her son before her death in August 2012.

The forensic archaeologist who identified a child’s jaw bone in pictures taken by Edwards at the site said she was “absolutely” sure there is a body but the forensic team’s progress is likely to be “painstakingly slow”.

Dawn Keen told the Guardian: “I know my profession. I know what I saw on the day.”

Progress by police on the site has been slow due to incredibly strong winds and driving sleet. Forensic science teams were forced to halt for the day at about 4.45pm on Friday due to wind uprooting the two blue forensics tents.