Moors farmer fears Keith Bennett’s body may never be found after police halt latest search

FARMER Chris Crowther doubts if the body of Saddleworth Moors murder victim Keith Bennett will ever be found.

A recent eight-day dig by specialist officers, working with Greater Manchester Police’s Cold Case Review Unit, raised hopes the 12-year-old’s body may have been located after 58 years.

But the search for Keith’s body, sparked by initial information from author Russell Edwards, was eventually called off.

Chris and his family have farmed the moors, above their Greenfield home, for decades and know the terrain inside out.

However, speaking to the Independent after investigators finally left the scene, close to the A 635 ‘Isle of Skye’ road, Chris expressed fears any future searches may also draw a blank.

“The moors have changed so much in the last 30 years or so,” said Chris. “A lot of heather has re-generated and it is very difficult to find anything.“You have heather growing three feet deep where previously there was none when sheep grazed it.

“I don’t think they will ever find Keith now which is a real shame. Initially, I thought we had from information I got from the police,” he said.

“I thought there would be a result and Keith could be taken back to his family which would have been great.

“Sadly, it has all come down to nothing. I can’t understand why they came back searching if they hadn’t got proper research and reconnaissance. But a pathologist definitely thought a human jaw bone had been found.

“Russell had previously flown a drone over the site and thought he had seen a grave. But they dug and dug and found very little. It is very strange.”

Birkenhead-born Edwards has been criticised by Keith’s brother, Alan, in a series of posts on his Facebook page, including: “I believe that area is the wrong location for Keith.
“Edwards is still claiming he found Keith, despite being exposed for what he really is and for sickening things he has done.”

In another response Alan wrote: “What makes him think that a team of highly trained professional forensic archaeologists, scene of crime officers, a botanist, a facial features expert, lab technicians, another team of officers walking the moor both in front and behind of his supposed find searching the ground, drone operatives and the complete professionalism and care to conduct a search thoroughly could not find what he is supposed to have found?

“From his supposed find of bone fragment, skull, hair, material and body tissue there is absolutely nothing to be found now and no trace of any of those things.”

Edwards has since claimed he hasn’t been wasting anyone’s time.

Keith was one of five child victims of killers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady. He disappeared on June 16, 1964. His is the only body not to have been found. The other victims were Pauline Reade, 16, John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17.

In confirming the search had ended Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Jackson, GMP’s portfolio holder for crime, said: “Since 1964, Greater Manchester Police has remained committed to finding answers for Keith Bennett’s family.

“Keith’s family is central to any action we take in relation to this case and the thoughts of everyone involved remain with them.

“Dedicated officers remain in regular liaison with them to ensure they are updated on any progress we make.

“We have always said that we would respond, in a timely and appropriate manner, to any credible information which may lead us towards finding Keith.

“Our actions were a highly visible example of what that response looks like, with the force utilising the knowledge and skills of accredited experts, specialist officers and staff.

“It is these accredited experts and specialists who have brought us to a position from where we can say that, despite a thorough search of the scene and ongoing analysis of samples taken both by ourselves and a third party, there is currently no evidence of the presence of human remains at, or surrounding, the identified site on Saddleworth Moor.

“However, I want to make it clear that our investigation to find answers for Keith’s family is not over.”

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Hughes added: “Officers met with the member of the public (Edwards) who later provided us with samples and copies of the photographs he had taken.

“He also took officers to the location from which he had obtained these and provided grid references.

“The items given to us by the member of the public have been examined by a forensic scientist and though this hasn’t yet indicated the presence of human remains – more analysis is required.

“At this stage, the indications are that it would be considerably smaller than a juvenile jaw and it cannot be ruled out that it is plant-based.

“The excavation and examination at the site is complete and, to reiterate, we have found no evidence that this is the burial location of Keith Bennett.”

One Reply to “Moors farmer fears Keith Bennett’s body may never be found after police halt latest search”

  1. I really feel for the family I was a young boy back then I do hope that Keith is found so that he can be at rest and give his family peace

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *