Ian Brady ‘letter to Winnie Johnson’ revealed in C4 documentary

In a recent interview given to a Channel 4 Cutting Edge documentary about Ian Brady, his Mental Health Advocate has disclosed the existence of a sealed envelope – the contents of which, it is alleged, could reveal the location of the body of Winnie Johnson’s son Keith Bennett. Keith is the last remaining missing victim of the ‘Moors Murderers’ Ian Brady and Myra Hindley – he was abducted by them in 1964.

Neither the producers nor Channel 4 have had sight or possession of the envelope. Documentaries Commissioning Editor and Editor for Cutting Edge, Emma Cooper says: “No-one can verify the contents of the envelope and therefore what information it does or does not contain but given the enormity of the implications as suggested by Brady’s letter, we felt we had a responsibility to inform the family via their family liaison officer. Winnie’s poor health was foremost in our decision-making and this is why we have decided to bring forward the broadcast of the film and make the existence of the envelope public.”

Ms Powell has been Brady’s Mental Health Advocate for the last 15 years, she is one of the executors to his will and has recently applied for power of attorney for his health and welfare. In one of several interviews she has given to the producers of Ian Brady: Endgames of a Psychopath she says she received a letter of instruction and a sealed envelope from Brady via his solicitors. She explains that the letter of instruction states the additional envelope contains three letters – one apparently addressed to Winnie Johnson.

Powell says the letter suggests that the contents of the unopened envelope might enable Keith’s mother to finally find peace. Johnson, now nearing 80 and battling cancer has campaigned for nearly half a century to locate her son’s body.

Jackie Powell explains the contents of the letter as follows:

Jackie: “I received a letter and a sealed envelope which said on the front of it, to be opened in the event of my death. He says that he doesn’t wish to take secrets to his grave and that within the sealed envelope is a letter to Winnie Johnson and that within that is the means to her possibly being able to rest. And that’s paraphrase that’s not verbatim.”

Interviewer (director Paddy Wivell): “What does he mean by that?”

Jackie: “Well clearly there’s something within the letter that may be able to find her son I would suggest.”

Jackie Powell, who has professional obligations in her capacity as executor and her role as Brady’s Mental Health Advocate told the documentary makers that she has not opened the sealed envelope, she cannot be certain of its contents.

Ian Brady: Endgames of a Psychopath is airing as part of Channel 4’s flagship documentary strand, Cutting Edge, airs on Monday 20 August at 9pm. CTCV is the production company, Paddy Wivell directs. Press description below:


Ian Brady: Endgames of a Psychopath

Despite nearly 50 years in captivity, Ian Brady, child murderer, psychopath and sadist and continues to exert a powerful and disturbing presence in the nation’s consciousness. This Cutting Edge film, through unprecedented access to those closest to him – charts Brady’s on-going attempts to exert influence and control over those around him.

When acclaimed director Paddy Wivell, set out to make a film about Ian Brady’s legal bid to be transferred from a psychiatric facility to a prison, he had no idea that he would find himself witnessing one of Brady’s notorious power plays. At the outset of filming, Wivell met with the solicitors and psychiatrists who have been closely involved in his cases over the last decades – many of them speaking publicly for the first time. But it was a meeting with Brady’s mental health advocate for the last 15 years – which would change the course of the film

His mental health advocate is also one of the executors of Brady’s will and recently applied for power of attorney for his health and welfare. Following Brady’s seizure which saw his mental health tribunal postponed indefinitely, she discloses, on camera, some startling information which appears to present further important evidence of Brady’s ongoing attempts to assert power over the victims’ families.

This film, airing as part of Channel 4’s flagship documentary strand, Cutting Edge, presents the inside story of the Moors Murderer since his crimes were discovered and charts his continued determination for power and control.