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Horror fan Brady nicknamed Dracula
Even before his evil and sadistic crimes shocked and appalled Britain, Ian Brady stood out as a grim character.
He was born in the Glasgow ghetto of the Gorbals on January 2, 1938, the illegitimate son of a tearoom waitress.
He never knew who his father was and, unable to cope, his mother, Margaret Stewart, put him into foster care.
As a young child he displayed the sadistic streak which resurfaced in a horrifying manner later in life.
He had a bad temper, often banging his head against a wall in rage - and was described by neighbours as a "terrible heartbreak" to his foster mother.
As a child he tortured animals, once throwing a cat out of a top-floor window, and at school he beat up other children and repeatedly appeared in court for petty crime.
The young Brady was fascinated by horror movies, spending his pocket money on going to see horror films over and over again, earning him the nickname Dracula.
In 1951 he appeared in Glasgow Sheriff Court on charges of housebreaking and theft.
He was later given two years' probation for nine similar charges, and sent to live with his mother in Manchester.
She had married an Irishman, Patrick Brady, and the young man took his stepfather's name.
Brady picked up his life of crime where it had left off and in December 1955 he appeared on a theft charge and was sent to borstal.
He later said he felt the sentence was not deserved, and the time he spent there triggered his bitter hatred of society.
After he was released in 1958 he began working at Millwards Merchandise, a small chemical distributing firm in Gorton, Manchester.
During this time Brady became obsessed with Hitler, buying records of Nazi speeches and a copy of Hitler's political doctrine, Mein Kampf.
It was at the factory two years later he met 18-year-old Myra Hindley.
Brady, then 23, ignored her for a year before the couple began their sick love affair.
Hindley became obsessed with him, and Brady grew to love the idea of being worshipped and adored and decided to include her in his plans for a crime spree.
After moving in with her at her grandmother's home in Hattersley, Cheshire, Brady made Hindley buy a car and taught her to shoot, and eventually persuaded her to become involved in his twisted fantasies.
As their relationship escalated they began taking explicit photos of each other, before their interest turned to kidnapping, child molestation and murder.
Shortly after the pair moved in together they killed Pauline Reade, who lived nearby and was a friend of Hindley's sister Maureen.
The murders of John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans followed.
After his conviction in 1966 Brady seemed to accept his life sentence.
But at Gartree Prison in Leicestershire he staged hunger strikes to force the Home Office to allow him visits from Hindley, which were refused.
In 1985 he was transferred to Park Lane special hospital in Merseyside, which was later renamed Ashworth, the home of some of the country's most infamous criminals as past patients.
Brady, now 74, has publicly stated he would never apply for parole, but has repeatedly campaigned for voluntary euthanasia for UK patients in special hospitals.
He has never shown any remorse for his crimes or empathy for his victims and psychiatrists have concluded he has an overwhelming need for control, played out repeatedly throughout his life - not least in his constant refusal to reveal the location of Keith Bennett's remains.