Tabloid Promotes “Paranormal Researcher” Linking Jimmy Savile to Moors Murderers

From the Daily Star:

Moors murders BOMBSHELL: Jimmy Savile part of ‘paedo ring with Ian Brady and Myra Hindley’

…Before their arrest in 1965, Savile ran the BBC studios from Manchester’s Dickenson Road – where Top of the Pops was filmed – and has been accused of meeting with Brady and Hindley to buy indecent images of children.

Erica Gregory – who has devoted years of her life investigating the Moors murders – believes they even formed a twisted “paedophile ring”.

…In 2014, Dan Davies noted that Savile chillingly replied “I am the Myra Hindley story” when asked on his opinion of it.

And Gregory believes that Savile continued to communicate with the killers after their incarceration – visiting them and using songs played on the radio to transmit coded messages.

Erica Gregory appears to be the source for a never-ending stream of tabloid fodder about the Moors Murderers: she is the author of a book, The Secret Key To The Moors Murders (2013), in which she argues that there are secret messages in Brady’s writings and that there is coded significance in the locations where his victims’ bodies were hidden. She also claims to have found objects on Saddleworth Moor that relate to the crimes.

Gregory believes that her researches will bring to light the undiscovered remains of Brady’s victim Keith Bennett; in recent weeks, the Daily Star has run articles suggesting that Gregory and investigators are “closing in” on the location, and promoting Gregory’s theory that Hindley’s late brother-in-law was also involved in the killings. But while the former story remains unresolved and the latter unsubstantiated, we now move on to yet another dramatic revelation that has somehow escaped the scrutiny of police and serious journalists: the supposed involvement of Jimmy Savile!

Savile, like the Moors Murderers, will probably be selling newspapers for years to come, and there is therefore an incentive to shoehorn him into other narratives of scandal and unsolved crime (another example: the Daily Mail ran a piece in 2015 suggesting that it was Savile who introduced Bishop Peter Ball to the Prince of Wales). It’s easy enough in this case – Savile’s cryptic “I am the Myra Hindley story” comment (given to Louis Theroux) is admittedly weird, and his association with Peter Sutcliffe at Broadmoor has already prompted lurid speculation. The idea of Savile using his position at the BBC to secretly communicate with Brady will also appeal to tabloid anti-Beeb sentiment.

However, Gregory’s new suggestion is both highly speculative and inherently unlikely, and it should be noted that her  claims to have found significant objects relating to the Moors Murders have been criticised by Keith Bennett’s brother Alan:

“Gregory must have a couple of large size wheelie bins full of all the stuff she has found on the moor and she invents some way to connect it all, whatever it may be, to Brady and Hindley. During my own ongoing search of the moor we have found many things, but the difference is that we do not invent things to go with what ever the finds may be…

“I have to try and come to terms, once again, with the fact that journalists like a ‘Sensational/exclusive’ and people like E Gregory continue with their fantasies and inventions but it does not alter the fact that it all means absolutely nothing in the end. All it does is cause grief and hamper serious investigations.

“Brady has been given his platform once again. Gregory has been given the publicity she craves in her wicked, hurtful, spiteful fantasy world.” 

That was after Gregory appeared on Channel 5 claiming to have found the remains of a shotgun used by Brady.

Some important context here is that Gregory also spends time hunting for ghosts, as part of the Worsley Paranormal Group. The website for her book about Brady no longer exists, but some of its content has been preserved on a blog run by Hayley Stevens, who takes a sceptical approach to the paranormal. Stevens noted that “the group rely largely upon Electronic Voice Phenomena” (a pseudo-scientific term for “spirit voices”), and that  EVP had been used to guide researches on the moors.

Stevens’s post dates to 2013, and it was published in response to angry messages from Gregory in the wake of a post Stevens had published the year before, entitled “Unethical Ghost Hunters Play Detective“. Stevens was here responding to a Daily Mail report that the group had found an old spade on the moor; the discovery was headlined as a “potential breakthrough in hunt for body of Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett”.

The group had the spade tested by a lecturer in forensics, but it was not apparently passed to the police. Stevens made some obvious points:

If they genuinely believed it to be linked to the murder case they should have handed it straight to the police, and Kershaw had no business testing it himself. If their aim truly was to help with the discovery of Keith Bennett they shouldn’t have even removed the spade from the scene and should have left it exactly where it was while calling the police and they had no business contacting the Bennett family directly or through their lawyer.

In a further helpful post, entitled “Debunking Ghost Hunter Erica Gregory and her Ian Brady Conspiracies“, Stevens expresses the view that the Group has “simply been manipulated by the rantings of a paranoid schizophrenic with a narcissistic personality disorder”, and that Gregory is “a time-wasting conspiracy theorist with a hero complex.” Stevens further notes that Alan Bennett had

shared on Social Media how Gregory had sent somebody messages claiming that her work revealed that his late mother, Winnie, who died never knowing where her son was buried, was a prostitute and that his murdered brother, Keith, was purposefully visiting Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

Are the newspapers that have so eagerly promoted Gregory aware of this context, or are they just turning a blind eye to it while Gregory provides them with more usable sensationalising material?