HC Deb 20 July 1988 vol 137 cc632-3W
Mr. Dickens

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Greater Manchester as to what further steps the police are taking to locate the remains of Keith Bennett, murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and as to which officer is now in charge of the inquiries; what further consideration he has given to the request from the chief constable of Greater Manchester for the use of hypnosis in seeking to establish the general area of Keith Bennett's burial; what representations he has received from the relatives of Keith Bennett; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

I understand from the chief constable of Greater Manchester police that all the available evidence about the location of Keith Bennett's grave has been thoroughly investigated and that the police do not intend to take any further action unless new information is received. Should the chief constable consider further inquiries justified in the future, it would be for him to decide which of his officers should supervise them.

In response to a request from the chief constable of the Greater Manchester police and representations from Mrs. Johnson, Keith Bennett's mother, my right hon. Friend has given very careful and serious consideration to a request from Miss Hindley that she should be hypnotised. She hoped that in that way she might be able to remember more precise details of the place where Keith's body is buried. Its general area is already known. We have been most anxious that every practicable effort should be made to find Keith's body so that it may be given a proper burial. That is why my right hon. Friend twice authorised visits to the moor by both Myra Hindley and Ian Brady. But on the basis of the information available we have not been persuaded that hypnotising Myra Hindley is likely to produce information which would be of material assistance in identifying more accurately the location of Keith's grave. Quite independently of this case, we are about to issue a circular to the police warning against the use of hypnosis in criminal investigations.

We have received two letters from Mrs. Johnson, and letters from Mrs. M. Prescott, Keith's sister, and Mr. A. Bennett, Keith's brother.

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