Saturday, 18 August 2012

Winnie Johnson - a fighter to the end

I was only one year old when Keith Bennett was murdered by Myra Hindley and Ian Brady but the Moors murders were something that I grew up hearing about, mainly because they shocked a nation and for as long as those two evil people were alive and in prison, they were always going to be in the news when it came to the anniversary of the murders.

One woman I grew up respecting and feeling totally sorry for, was Winnie Johnson, the mother of Keith Bennett.

For as long as I can remember, she has been a constant reminder of the devastating effect of losing a child in such horrific cirsumstances can have on someone.

It was bad enough that Winnie had to endure the pain of losing her young son, but unlike the  parents of the other children who were murdered, Winnie did not get the clousure that she desperately needed in finding where her son had been buried on the Moors and no amount of pleas or letters from her to Ian Brady and Myra Hindley gave her the news she wanted.

Her death came a day after the latest news that Ian Brady may have written in a letter 'to be opened after his death' that finally would have given Winnie the news she waited nearly 50 years to hear.

Or, as I suspect, was it just another sick ploy for Brady to get himself in the news again?

Whatever the outcome of the speculative letter is, it did not come in time for Winnie to get her dying wish.

Unless you have lost a child in the way that Winnie lost hers, you can not imagine what the last half decade has been like for her. I just know that I wished she had got the news she longed for before she passed away.

I doubt Keith Bennett's body will ever be found. Saddleworth Moor would have changed drastically over the years and Brady's memory, no matter how long he's had time to think about it in prison, will not be up to pin-pointing the final resting place of this little lad, whose cheeky grin, podgy face and round glasses is the image we all have of him.

Whatever your beliefs, I'd like to think that Winnie is now reunited with her son and her long journey to find him is now at an end.