The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around Manchester, England. The victims were five children aged between 10 and 17—Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans—at least four of whom were sexually assaulted. Two of the victims were discovered in graves dug on Saddleworth Moor; a third grave was discovered there in 1987, more than twenty years after Brady and Hindley's trial. The body of a fourth victim, Keith Bennett, is also suspected to be buried there, but despite repeated searches remains undiscovered.
The police were initially aware of only three killings, those of Edward Evans, Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride. The investigation was reopened in 1985, after Brady was reported in the press as having confessed to the murders of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett. Brady and Hindley were taken separately to Saddleworth Moor to assist the police in their search for the graves, both by then having confessed to the additional murders.
Characterised by the press as "the most evil woman in Britain", Hindley made several appeals against her life sentence, claiming she was a reformed woman and no longer a danger to society, but was never released. She died in 2002, aged 60. Brady was declared criminally insane in 1985 and confined in the high-security Ashworth Hospital. He made it clear that he never wished to be released, and repeatedly asked to be allowed to die. He died in 2017, in Ashworth, aged 79.
The murders were the result of what Malcolm MacCulloch, professor of forensic psychiatry at Cardiff University, called a "concatenation of circumstances". The trial judge, Mr Justice Fenton Atkinson, described Brady and Hindley in his closing remarks as "two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity".
The full extent of Brady and Hindley's crimes did not come to light until their confessions in 1985, as both had until then maintained their innocence. Their first victim was 16-year-old Pauline Reade, a neighbour of Hindley's who disappeared on her way to a dance at the British Railways Club in Gorton, Manchester, on 12 July 1963. That evening, Brady told Hindley that he wanted to "commit his perfect murder". He told her to drive her van around the local area while he followed behind on his motorcycle; when he spotted a likely victim he would flash his headlight, and Hindley was to stop and offer that person a lift. Brady and Hindley provided different accounts of the murder.