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Keith Bennett - Moors Murders lost victim

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image captionKeith Bennett was 12 when he was snatched as he walked to his grandmother's home

Keith Bennett is remembered as the "lost" victim of the Moors Murders - the third victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley and the only one of the five children they killed never to have been found.

It is the search for his body that propels Brady into the spotlight every time a clue is revealed that might bring to an end the 48-year mystery.

And it is because Keith, who vanished aged 12, has not been found that he has become one of the most well known victims.

His family have campaigned tirelessly for answers and his mother Winnie Johnson has pleaded for the chance to offer her son the last thing she can give him - a decent burial.

Decent burial

Adding fresh impetus to the search, in 2011 Mrs Johnson revealed she has cancer and appealed to Brady on a DVD as she feared she had months to live.

Later that year Mrs Johnson said she would attend a public hearing which would decide if Brady could be returned to prison from hospital, but later decided it would be "too traumatic".

In the past she has described this fight as a nightmare, a life in limbo as she holds on to her hope that she will live long enough to see her son's body found.

Speaking in 2009 when Greater Manchester Police (GMP) announced they had called off the hunt for his body on Saddleworth Moor, she said: "I want Keith found before anything happens to me because I want to give him a decent burial."

At the time she pleaded publicly for Brady to reveal the location where her son's body is hidden.

With the arrest of mental health advocate Jackie Powell, and the possibility of a letter finally revealing the location of Keith's body, Mrs Johnson may finally get the answer she has waited so long for.

A search of Saddleworth Moor in 2008 tried to match up photos taken by Hindley and Brady with aerial shots of the moor in an attempt to find him.

The investigation into the boy's disappearance was classified as dormant by GMP with the force stating only a major scientific breakthrough or fresh evidence would see the hunt for his body restart.

His mother had to wait 23 years before her son's killers admitted his murder.

They were originally convicted of three murders but two more victims could not be found.

In 1987 Hindley and Brady confessed to killing Keith and Pauline Reade, aged 16.

Police managed to locate the remains of Pauline but, despite many weeks of digging, they were unable to find Keith's body.

Scientists believe that, due to the nature of the soil on the moors, it would be likely that some of the 12-year-old's remains would still be preserved.

And it is this hope of finding her son that prompted Mrs Johnson to launch a fund and website in 2009 to arrange additional searches of the moors.

The website is now managed by Keith's brother Alan who has also appealed for the location of his brother's body to be revealed.

Loved animals

Alan was eight when his brother was snatched by Brady and Hindley on 16 June 1964, after he left his home in Longsight to go to his grandmother's house nearby.

On the website Alan describes a happy home life with his brother Keith, with whom he shared a bedroom, his two sisters, another brother and a stepsister as well as his mother and stepfather.

He described Keith as having "little time for anything but laughter and nature" a boy who loved animals and summer flowers but who also excelled at swimming.

In March 2010 Winnie Johnson spoke at a memorial service held at Manchester Cathedral in lieu of a funeral.

She said she would "fight forever" to get her son back.

Later that month a privately funded search was carried out on the moors but nothing was found.

Brady has been on hunger strike since 1999 and wants to escape "the powers of compulsory treatment".

A tribunal to hear his plea to be transferred to a regular prison was delayed after a judge ruled he was too ill to attend.

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  • Ian Brady 'may have revealed' Keith Bennett burial place

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