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'I gave letter back to Ian Brady'
Ian Brady's mental health advocate has told police she gave a letter in which he apparently reveals the location of one of his victims back to him, sources said.
Police launched an investigation after Jackie Powell told a Channel 4 documentary the Moors murderer gave her a sealed envelope to pass to Winnie Johnson, mother of 12-year-old Keith Bennett, in the event of his death.
The TV production team passed on the information to Greater Manchester Police on July 30 and Ms Powell, 49, who was appointed Brady's mental health advocate in 1999, was detained on Thursday on suspicion of preventing the burial of a body without lawful exercise.
But police sources said Ms Powell claims she returned the envelope to Brady at some point between July 30 and her arrest.
Detectives examining a large number of documents seized from Ms Powell's home in South Wales have so far found no letter or any evidence to suggest Brady has disclosed the location of Keith's body.
A search of Brady's cell at Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside has also failed to uncover the alleged letter.
Ms Powell has been released on bail pending further inquiries.
It is thought that Ms Powell operates on a freelance basis.
Ashworth, where Brady has been detained since he was declared insane, confirmed she was not employed by the hospital or by the independent mental health advocacy service provided there.
Martin Bottomley, head of investigative review at Greater Manchester Police's major and cold case crime unit, said his officers were trying to establish if the letter exists or is "simply a ruse".
He said: "I want to be explicitly clear about this: Ian Brady has not revealed to police the location of Keith's body.
"What we are looking at is the possibility, and at this stage it is only a possibility, that he has written a letter to Keith's mum, Winnie Johnson, which was not to be opened until after his death.
"We do not know if this is true or simply a ruse but we clearly have a duty to investigate such information on behalf of Keith's family."
Brady, 74, has always refused to disclose the location of Keith's body.
His refusal has caused constant heartache for Mrs Johnson, who has cancer and recently appealed to him to break his silence before she died. She is receiving care in a hospice and is said to be unaware of the developments.
Her lawyer, John Ainley, a senior partner at Oldham-based North Halliwell Ainley, said he was "sceptical" about the possibility that Brady has revealed the location of Keith's body.
"She has remained steadfast in her resolve that Ian Brady has held the key to this tragedy," he said.
"Over the years she has appealed directly to Brady and through me for him to reveal where Keith's body was hidden so she could at least give her son a decent burial before she died."
Brady and his partner Myra Hindley, who died in jail in 2002 aged 60, were responsible for the murders of five youngsters in the 1960s.
Their victims were sexually tortured before being buried on Saddleworth Moor above Manchester.
Pauline Reade, 16, disappeared on July 12 1963, and John Kilbride, 12, was snatched in November the same year.
Keith Bennett was taken on June 16 1964 after he left home to visit his grandmother. Lesley Ann Downey, 10, was lured away from a funfair on Boxing Day 1964, and Edward Evans, 17, was killed in October 1965.
Brady was jailed for life at Chester Assizes in 1966 for the murders of John, Lesley Ann and Edward.
Hindley was convicted of killing Lesley Ann and Edward and shielding Brady after John's murder, and jailed for life. In 1987 the pair finally admitted killing Keith and Pauline.
Both were taken back to Saddleworth Moor to help police find the remains of the missing victims but only Pauline's body was found.
On his website, www.searchingforkeith.com, Keith's brother, Alan Bennett, posted: "It is good news that the police have finally been able to search Brady's room and also to make an arrest.
"I would say that, until some definite information is found regarding Keith's whereabouts, we do not want to raise our hopes too high at this stage. Nonetheless, it is a very important development."
Earlier, documentaries commissioning editor and editor for Cutting Edge Emma Cooper said: "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 told the Cutting Edge documentary: "I received a letter and a sealed envelope which said on the front 'To be opened in the event of my death'.
"He says he doesn't wish to take his secrets to the grave and within the sealed envelope is a letter to Winnie Johnson.
"Within that is the means of her possibly being able to rest."
The programme, Ian Brady: Endgames Of A Psychopath, will be broadcast on Monday night at 9pm.
Brady was due to go before a mental health tribunal last month, but it was delayed after he suffered a seizure.
The tribunal was to consider his application to be transferred to a Scottish prison and be allowed to die. He has been tube-fed since refusing food 12 years ago.
No new date has been set for the hearing in Manchester but it is not thought to be imminent.