Monday, July 02, 2012

David Smith and the Moors Murderers

I only found out today that David Smith died on May 5th, his obituary appearing in the Daily Telegraph on 30 June. Smith was the brother-in-law of Myra Hindley, married to her sister Maureen. He witnessed the murder of Edward Evans and, along with Maureen,  blew the whistle on Hindley and Brady.

Like many who grew up in Gorton it is strangely surreal, even now, reading about those events back in the 1960s. I was only five or six when Hindley and Brady were caught, but we lived two or three doors from Millward's Chemicals where the pair worked and met.

My dad used to deliver the mail to Millward's and used to chat to the blonde receptionist he handed the mail to, Myra Hindley. Hindley and Brady used to drink in the Haxby pub, just over the road from our house. Hindley was even having instruction in the Catholic faith at my old church Sacred Heart, where my Aunty Kath and Uncle George were married around 1965.

Years later a friend of my dad's told me how he delivered the mail in West Gorton in the late 60s, early 70s and used to hear Winnie Johnson out on the streets calling for her son, Keith Bennett, believed to be one of their victims whose body has never been found. Before she died Hindley never tried to ease the pain for Winnie Johnson and even now Brady refuses to say whether or not Keith was a victim or not. Winnie Johnson's agony is even now being prolonged by the evil Brady.

Smith and his wife lived in Hattersley in October 1965, in a block of flats behind the house where Hindley and Brady lived and were finally caught. My grandparents lived down the road, on the same sprawling council overspill estate in the foothills of the Pennines housing whole Mancunian communities exiled from their terraced homes in Gorton, Ardwick, Beswick and elsewhere when the bureaucrats decided their homes were to be demolished.

If Smith hadn't phoned the police in the early hours in October 1965, who knows how many other young children would have been murdered by Hindley and Brady? But there was a still a mood of retribution in Hattersley when the true nature of the Moors Murders came to light and my grandparents witnessed the abuse that Smith became a victim of as the media covered the events during and after the trial. In the eyes of many, although innocent, Smith was judged guilty by association and eventually was forced to leave the area.

Unlike Hindley and Brady, Smith was guilty of nothing more than naivety and of being easily led. He had no peace in his life, we can only pray that he now finds the peace he deserves.


Anonymous said...

I only found out about his death today myself, I have followed the case over the years and am of the opinion that he should have been given a medal. His book is a fascinating read and I was hoping to go to Galway at some point and meet him.

I pray that Keith Bennett's body is found soon as Brady might not have long to last either.

Gregg said...

Completely agree with you.

I remember the sense of relief for people, especially her family, when Pauline Reade's body was eventually found. It may be Brady's last chance to actually behave like a human being and give Winnie Johnson some closure as she seemingly approaches her own death.

highmyope1955 said...

Brady and Hindley confessed in 1987 to the murders of Pauline and Keith. Brady wanted to make sure that Hindley never, ever got out of prison.

Unknown said...

My family lived on Ruth Street, a row of small terraces houses just in front of Millwalls chemicals. The watchman was a small man who we called 'little billy'. My dad used to drink in the Haxby pub. We lived on the end house near the croft. I am the eldest of seven children, and attended old hall drive and Ryder Brow, we eventualy moved when i was 12 to Wythenshawe. I remember Bradburns grocers and walter halls veg shop on levenshulme road. We had bonfires on the croft, my dad broke old barrels up that Millwalls gave us. Our neighbours were Joe moony and family also brenda beckett, her daughter was lorna. Also Mary Westwood. Good days they were !

Alf Henshall said...

We lived on Ruth street, a row of small terraced houses in front of Millwalls chemicals during 1950's until we moved to Wythenshawe in 1961. We lived on the end house next to the croft. My dad used to drink in the haxby pub. Our neighbours were Joe Moony and his wife and daughter, also Brenda Beckett who had a daughter called lorna, i think brendas husband was called bernard. Also Mary Westwood, i used to talk to her while she was doing her homework in the porch listening to her records. The watchman at Millwalls was a small man who we called 'little billy' . We had bonfires on the croft. My friend was kenneth sutton. Happy days!

Alf Henshall said...

Sorry folks, i wrote second blog thinking the first one had not gone through.