By Michael Holden
LONDON (Reuters) - One of Britain's most notorious killers, "Moors murderer" Ian Brady, who murdered five children with his lover and accomplice Myra Hindley during a sadistic two-year reign of terror in the 1960s died on Monday.
Brady and Hindley were jailed for life in 1966 for abducting, torturing, sexually abusing and then murdering the children before burying their young victims on the bleak Saddleworth Moor near the northern city of Manchester.
Brady died at Ashworth secure hospital in Liverpool, where he has been housed since 1985 after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, aged 79.
"We can confirm a 79-year-old patient in long-term care at Ashworth High Secure Hospital has died after becoming physically unwell," a spokesman for the hospital said.
For many of his last years, Brady had been on intermittent hunger strike and staff at Ashworth fed him via a tube through the nose on the grounds he was insane and incapable of deciding to end his own life.
In 2013, a Mental Health Tribunal rejected his request to return to prison, ruling it was necessary in his interests and for the safety of others that he remain at Ashworth.
The sadistic nature of the Moors Murderers' killings made them among the most despised figures in Britain.
Brady was found guilty of snatching and killing 12-year-old John Kilbride, Edward Evans, 17, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, while Hindley was convicted of murdering Downey and Evans and shielding her lover in the third case.
In the 1980s, the couple admitted abducting and murdering 16-year-old Pauline Reade on her way to a Manchester disco in 1963 and killing Keith Bennett, 12, in 1964.
They were finally caught when Hindley's brother-in-law tipped off police
During their trial the court heard tape recordings made by the couple of their victims pleading for mercy before they were tortured and killed.
One tape featured the voice of Downey, filled with pain and fear, whimpering: "I want to see my mummy. Please God, help me."
Although their crimes took place 40 years ago, the revulsion felt by Britons and the hatred directed at them by the tabloid press hardly diminished.
Hindley was Britain's longest serving female prisoner when she died in 2002 after 36 years in jail.
Successive UK governments had refused to release her despite her claims she had reformed and was driven to commit the murders by the psychopathic Brady. He insisted she was as much to blame.
Hindley had tried to court favor by helping police to find the missing body of Bennett. But despite exhaustive searches, his body has never been found.
When she was cremated, a banner which read "Burn in hell" was left outside the building.
(Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Lisa Shumaker)