Burial rights do not extend beyond death


flowers at Saddleworth Moor where some of the victims were buried

Where and how should the most hated man in England be buried? Ian Brady and his lover Myra Hindley were described by the trial judge as "sadistic killers of the utmost depravity". They tortured and killed five children between 1963 and 1965.

Hindley died in 2002 and Brady finally passed away on May 17. He left explicit instructions in his will about how to dispose of his body. But such is the hatred of the “Moors Murderer” that local authorities want nothing to do with him. As a consequence, the body has been in a morgue for five months while his lawyer fights for his client’s last wishes.

While normally people are to be buried as they wish under English law, all that is required is that the disposal of the remains be “decent” and “lawful”. There is no requirement that the wishes of the deceased be honoured.

The details of Brady’s will not be released until after the burial. In the meantime the British media have had a field day publishing tales of posthumous depravity. Not that such suggestions are at all improbable, for Brady played mind games with the prison system, the legal system and the families of his victims until he died at the age of 79.

According to newspaper reports, he asked that his ashes be scattered on the moors where he had buried his victims, to the music of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, a macabre composition in which the 19th Century French composer imagined his own funeral as a satanic orgy haunted by demons and witches. Another version cites the location as Glasgow, where he was born.

The government and the court fear a public outcry. It has been hard enough to find a crematorium which will dispose of the body. None of the authorities wants local land polluted with his remains.

A High Court judge hearing the case directed that responsibility for disposing for the remains be taken away from Brady’s solicitor and that there should be no music and no ceremony. He entrusted the disposal of the remains to a person whose name was redacted from the court document. 




MORE ON THESE TOPICS | burial law, moor murderers

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