Owner of moor where search for Keith Bennett taking place promised dying mum he’d find him

The owner of the Saddleworth Moor land where police are digging in the search for Keith Bennett says he hopes he is found after promising his dying mother that he would never stop looking for him. Chris Crowther is hoping Greater Manchester Police’s search is successful after being missing for nearly 60 years.

Schoolboy Keith was just 12-years-old when he was taken by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley as he walked to his grandmother’s house for tea in June 1964. He was then murdered by Brady and buried in the moors. The pair never revealed where they had buried Keith, to the anguish of his mother Winnie.

Mr Crowther, 65, says he promised Keith’s late mother that he would not give up on looking for him. This came when she visited him while ill with cancer shortly before her death in 2012, The Mirror reports.

READ MORE:Police issue update after third day of search for Moors murders victim Keith Bennett

The Crowthers family have owned the more than 5,000 acres of land for generations where Brady and Hindley buried their victims. Chris’ grandfather helped locate the body of John Kilbride in 1965.

Chris said he believes Brady would have buried Keith on the same side of the A635 road as John Kilbride, with all the female victims being on the other side of the road. Mr Crowther told the Daily Mail: “I’ll be pleased if they find Keith because Winnie came up to see me when she was pretty poorly with cancer. She came up for a cup of coffee and asked me to carry on looking for Keith.

Keith's mother Winnie asked the moor landowner to never stop looking for him
Keith’s mother Winnie asked the moor landowner to never stop looking for him
(Image: Getty Images)

“She said, ‘When you are gathering sheep, keep looking, keep looking Chris, will you promise me you will keep looking?’ I said, ‘Yeah every time I go out there, I’ll look and see what I can see’.

“I have always been looking ever since, just for something that was a clue to where Keith was. I’ve been looking for decades.

“I always said Keith will not be so far away from John Kilbride. He’ll have them both together somewhere. He put the girls together and he’ll [have] put the lads together.”

Forensic officers have been searching for remains over the weekend
Forensic officers have been searching for remains over the weekend
(Image: PA)

This latest search was launched after author Russell Edwards passed on images of what was described as part of a jaw bone after working with a team of experts to try and find Keith’s remains.

In the latest update issued by GMP yesterday evening, senior investigating officer Cheryl Hughes said: “Following information received which indicated that potential human remains had been found on the Moors, specialist officers from GMP have today (October 2, 2022) again resumed excavation of a site identified to the force. We have not found any identifiable human remains but work to excavate the site is continuing and will do so for the foreseeable time.”

Keith was killed after being lured into a van by Myra Hindley, who asked him to help her with some boxes, on June 16, 1964. Ian Brady, her lover and Keith’s fellow killer, was on the back seat.

He is known to be buried on Saddleworth Moor, but his body was never recovered. The pair’s other victims were Pauline Reade, 16, John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17.

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Manchester Evening News – Oldham