The lawyer of Manchester moors murderer Ian Brady has been arrested after claims that the whereabouts of the serial killer’s last victim may have been disclosed to her.
Keith Bennett was 12 years old when he was abducted by Brady and his girlfriend Myra Hindley on June 16 1964 and his body is the only one to have not been found.
The couple buried at least five victims in Saddleworth Moors and officers now believe that Brady has disclosed the location of his last victim to his lawyer.
It is also believed he has written a letter to Keith’s mother Winnie Johnson that is not to be opened until after his death.
Jackie Powell, Brady's mental health advocate, was arrested in South Wales yesterday – a number of documents were seized from the address and are currently being examined by officers.
Martin Bottomley, Head of Investigative Review of Greater Manchester Police's Major and Cold Case Crime Unit, said: "The Moors murders cast a long and dark shadow over the history of our region but in 2009 we reluctantly concluded there was no longer any specific information to identify new search areas and the investigation to find Keith entered a dormant stage.
"However, we have always stressed this is a case we will never close. We have been, and always will be, open to pursuing any new lines of inquiry that arise from significant scientific advances or credible and actionable information.
"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.”
It is believed that Brady may have released the information to his lawyer in order to secure a transfer to a Scottish hospital in order to improve his living conditions.
Last month, Brady was due to attend a mental health tribunal to determine if he could be transferred closer to home but he suffered a suspected seizure and spent three days in hospital before returning to his cell at the high-security Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside.
Mr Bottomley added: "Since Keith was so cruelly taken away all those years ago, our thoughts have always been with his family as they try to come to terms with what happened.
“All they want is to finally be able to lay Keith to rest. What I would ask is that the media respect their privacy at this time. Winnie herself is very ill and continued speculation about this letter will only cause the family more upset.
"I would ask that we are allowed to examine all the evidence we have recovered and determine whether or not this letter actually exists."
Brady and partner Hindley, who died in jail in 2002 aged 60, always refused to disclose the location of Keith's body.
The pair were responsible for the torture and butchering of five youngsters in the 1960s and Keith’s body is the only one not to have been found.
His refusal to reveal the location of the youngster’s body has caused decades of heartache for Keith’s mother, who, while having treatment for cancer, recently made an appeal to Brady to disclose the information.
Mrs Johnson's lawyer John Ainley said: "She has remained steadfast in her resolve that Ian Brady has held the key to this tragedy.
"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.
"Now, she herself is ill and I am deeply concerned that the knowledge of this letter and its alleged contents may have come too late to bring her any solace.
"It would be the last tragic act of a truly harrowing story."
Ms Powell, Brady’s mental health advocate, told Channel 4’s 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."