CHARLES GRAHAM - Never give up hope

I HAVE always opposed the demands for Ian Brady’s execution (or indeed for his own pleas to end his own life), because the greatest punishment for this vile specimen is to deny him what he wants and make him suffer for as long as possible.

Whatever living hell the multiple child-killer might be going through, it is nothing compared to that suffered by Winnie Johnson in the last 48, tortuous years.

The 78-year-old’s torment in this world was ended at the weekend by cancer, her cherished hope of finding the remains of her son, Keith Bennett, unfulfilled.

It is something of a blessing that Mrs Johnson was too ill to have been made aware of the latest raising of hopes about the whereabouts of the 12-year-old’s body.

To be frank, I will be very surprised if it does lead to a discovery.

If Keith’s body is buried on the moors of Saddleworth - and no-one save Brady really knows (we can only assume so because the murderers’ other victims were interred there) - it is highly unlikely that Brady could now pinpoint the spot even if he wanted to, given fading memories and the extent a landscape will change geologically in nearly half a century.

But we should never give up hope entirely. Keith’s surviving relatives need that consolation just as much as his poor mother did.