Moors murderer Ian Brady won’t get a funeral

Moors murderer Ian Brady should not get a funeral and no music should be played during the disposal of his body, according to a ruling by a senior judge.

The decision made by Sir Geoffrey Vos, the chancellor of the high court, rejected a request from Robin Makin, Brady’s former solicitor and executor, to permit the playing of the fifth movement of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique at the cremation.

According to Wikipedia, in the programme notes for the piece, Berlioz wrote that: “[The musician] sees himself at a witches’ sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind who have come together for his funeral.” Mr Vos said that he had “no difficulty in understanding how legitimate offence would be caused to the families of the deceased’s victims once it became known that this movement had been played at his cremation” and that he declined to permit it.

Commenting on the need to respect the deceased’s wishes, Mr Vos said: “It was not suggested by Mr Makin that the deceased had requested any other music to be played or any other ceremony to be performed and, in those circumstances, I propose to direct that there be no music and no ceremony.”

He also clarified that while the “deceased’s wishes are relevant” they “do not outweigh the need to avoid justified public indignation and actual unrest.”

Oldham and Tameside councils intervened in the matter following concerns that, five months after Brady’s death, no arrangements had been made for the disposal of his body. The decision by the court removes responsibility for supervising the funeral from the solicitor and instead, Tameside Borough Council will dispose of the remains.

In the judgement, Mr Vos said: “I am satisfied … that it is both necessary and expedient for the matter to be taken out of Mr Makin’s hands if the deceased’s body is to be disposed of quickly, lawfully and decently.”

Mr Makin had refused to reveal what he intended to do with the ashes if he was allowed custody of them, leading to fears that the ashes might eventually be scattered on Saddleworth Moor where his victims were buried. In response, the judge ruled that the solicitor could not be entrusted with the ashes and said that the whole matter had gone on far too long.

He added: “Had [Makin] discussed with the [local councils] and given clear undertakings that he was not intending to scatter the deceased’s ashes in their areas, these proceedings might have been avoided.”

Sections of the judgment have been redacted to prevent the arrangements for the disposal of Brady’s body becoming known. In a joint statement, Tameside and Oldham councils said that the wishes of relatives of the victims and local communities would be respected.

Ian Brady tortured and murdered five children along with Myra Hindley in the 1960s. 13-year-old Keith Bennett has never been found despite his mother’s best efforts to locate him to give him a proper burial.

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