Saddleworth Moors murderer Ian Brady denied ‘offensive’ funeral wishes by High Court judge

THE final funeral wishes of Saddleworth Moors murderer Ian Brady have been branded offensive and prohibited by a High Court judge.

After a two-day hearing on October 9 and 10, 2017, Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, passed the judgement and plan for the disposal of the body.

Winnie Johnson, mother of victim Keith Bennett whose body has never been found (Picture by Ken Bennett)

Ian Stewart-Brady, formerly Ian Brady, died on May 15, 2017 aged 79 at Ashworth secure hospital in Merseyside half a century after being found guilty of crimes that shocked the world.

He was serving life imprisonment for torturing and murdering five children between the ages of 10 and 17 in the 1960s, along with Myra Hindley who died in prison in November 2002.

Most of the bodies of their victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor, but the body of 13-year-old Keith Bennett has never been found despite extensive searches.

In his will, which appointed Mr Robin Makin, a solicitor, as his executor, Brady requested the fifth movement of the Symphony Fantastique to be played at his cremation.

The piece, written by French composer Hector Berlioz in 1830, tells of an artist in the depths of despair who has poisoned himself with opium.

The artist’s funeral is compared to a witches’ Sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind.

But in his final judgement, Sir Geoffrey Vos ruled: “I decline to permit the playing of the fifth movement of the Symphony Fantastique at the cremation as Mr Makin requested.

“I have no difficulty in understanding how legitimate offence would be caused to the families of the deceased’s victims once it became know what this movement had been played at his cremation.

“It was not suggested by Mr Makin that the deceased had requested any other music to be played or any other ceremony to be performed, and in those circumstances, I propose to direct that there be no music and no ceremony.”

The claim put forward to the court by Oldham Council and Tameside Council sought for orders to be given in respect of the disposal of Brady’s body.

Sir Geoffrey Vos said in his judgement: “The deceased’s wishes are relevant but they do not outweigh the need to avoid justified public indignation and actual unrest.

“The claimants were right to bring these proceedings when they genuinely feared that the deceased’s body might be disposed of in such a way as to give legitimate offence to the families of the victims of the deceased and to the public generally.

“I do not think Mr Makin has been justified in being so secretive about how he was intending to dispose of the deceased’s body.

“Had he discussed the matter openly with the claimants and with Sefton Borough Council and given clear undertakings that he was not intending to scatter the deceased’s ashes in their areas, these proceedings might have been avoided.

“Even now, he has refused to say what he intends to do with the ashes if he is allowed custody of them.

“Mr Makin said he only intended to tell one other (unidentified) person how he would dispose of the ashes.

“But there remains the possibility that his plans would be discovered and there could be public disorder if a member of the public sought to stop Mr Makin doing what he wanted to do with the ashes.

“I am entirely satisfied that it would be dangerous and inappropriate to allow Mr Makin to dispose of the deceased’s ashes.

“It is unfortunate that Sefton Council is no longer able to arrange their disposal, but instead Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council will do so.”

In a joint statement after the hearing, Tameside Council and Oldham Council said: “Tameside Council and Oldham Council sought the assistance of the High Court to ensure the body of ‘Moors Murderer‘ Ian Stewart-Brady is disposed of in a manner that does not to cause offence and distress to the public, and particularly the relatives of the victims who reside in our boroughs.

“We know the relatives and residents alike found even the suggestion that his ashes may be scattered over Saddleworth Moor to be abhorrent and distressing, especially because 13 year old Keith Bennett has never been found, despite his mother’s best efforts to locate him to give him a proper burial.

“The Court has supported our duty as local authorities to ensure that public order is maintained and the wishes of the families of his victims and our local communities are respected to ensure Ian Stewart-Brady’s body and remains are disposed of expediently in a manner compatible with the public interest and those of the victim’s relatives.”

 

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