Myra Hindley


In 'Longford', Lady Elizabeth Longford said:

"Ironically, the thing that finally persuaded me to offer her my help was the very same thing that had so made me hate her in the first place: the fact that she is a woman...The reason that Myra Hindley is still in jail and has never been considered for parole, is because she is a woman."

Does anybody think that this statement is true or believe that women are vindicated more than men in the media for committing crimes?

Thank you!

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At the risk of seeming petty, I think the word you are looking for is "vilified" rather than "vindicated", which means proved right.
The short answer is, I believe, yes. Look at the vaguely similar recent case of Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr. She, who we are told was a mentally ill woman totally dominated by her partner, provided him with a false alibi (if my memory serves) and served a prison term for it. But the tabloid press pursue a campaign to give her "equal billing" and equal punishment with Huntley.
I remember reading that women convicted of crime are seen as offending against nature, as well as morality, and society and it's rules, that both sexes are seen to transgress. I'm no sociologist, but that seems to ring true.
In the case of Hindley, who was quite active in the crimes, I don't believe if she had been a man she would have been paroled. However, the public reaction to the murders, probably the most reviled and remembered crime of 'sixties Britain, might have been a little less shock.

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I agree with you Vortimer, especially when it comes to crimes against children. I think society expects all women to have some inherent gene that should make them somehow immune to the urge or ability to harm a child. In a way, that might be true since I think most pedophiles are men. So when a woman harms a child, people tend to see it as not only a crime against society, but a crime against nature, and the punishment tends to be harsher.

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I think that's all a very logically correct approach; except for the fact that public villification of Ian Brady was just as strong. The difference was not, necessarily one based primarily on gender, but on the fact that Hindley made a strong protestation of repentenance and claimed (I have my doubts about her genuinity, although I accept that's only speculation) to have been reconciled to Catholicism, thus appreciating her sinfulness. Brady has remained unrepentantly evil; for a lot of British people, Hindley's attempts to be parolled, claims of penitence whilst still refusing to accept responsibility for what she had done, made her a target of more sustained hatred. A new book based on a man who interviewed her and had access to her private papers has been serialised in the Daily Mail (UK) and he's in no doubt that her v.o.e didn't add-up and that, as 'Longford' shows, she was a devious and manipulative figure who knew precisely what she was doing when she participated in the killings and gloried in it. I'm not saying women don't get a harsher public deal - I'm working on an extended research paper on the posthumous reputation of queen Marie-Antoinette, so I know how vituperative the attacks of female figures can be (and, by the way, I am obviously NOT drawing comparisons between the two figures in any way, shape, form or manner, just to be clear.) Yet, unlike the demonisation of Marie-Antoinette or hostility to other 'public' woman like Evita Peron or Anne Boleyn, or in the world of crime, Maxine Carr or Mata Hari, in the case of Myra Hindley, I think it had less to do with gender & far more to do with her suspicious repentenance but paradoxical refusal to accept the necessary amount of culpability.

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Wasn't the fact that Brady was considered more of an out-and-out psychopath, whether that was entirely accurate or not, also a factor in this? Hindley, I gather, was rather more collected and "cold", or perceived to be collected at least. I find people generally are less likely to loathe the insane in such cases, no matter what they do, even if it could be inappropriately applied here for Brady.

Moreover, I can also accept your explanation of Hindley's deception and blasphemy being a huge factor, which is not necessarily to say that gender was of no significance.

I'm not greatly concerned with the relative treatment Hindley or Brady (I don't have much "sympathy" for either) and their ilk receive in public discourse, and how balanced it is, but it is somewhat interesting how responses differ, and how often they seem out of proportion to the respective crimes committed.

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Absolutely correct!
In all Hindley's years of imprisonment, never once did she admit ANY culpability, neither during post original investigation or the renewed search in the eighties.
Myra was 'over the hill' at the time, or, 'looking out of the window' or 'waiting in the mini'...nor did she, in spite of the overwhelming and most damning piece of evidence of all: the spool of tape... did she admit any culpability. In fact, had she had some of Brady's admission of guilt and remorse, her later quests for freedom could possibly have been different.

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Absolutely correct!
In all Hindley's years of imprisonment, never once did she admit ANY culpability, neither during post original investigation or the renewed search in the eighties.
Myra was 'over the hill' at the time, or, 'looking out of the window' or 'waiting in the mini'...nor did she, in spite of the overwhelming and most damning piece of evidence of all: the spool of tape... did she admit any culpability. In fact, had she had some of Brady's admission of guilt and remorse, her later quests for freedom could possibly have been different.


And if the stupid bint didn't smoke 20 a day then The European Court of Human Rights might of had her released!

The thing is, apart from the tape there isn't any evidence of Myra's involvement, she claims that she wasn't present when Lesley Anne Downey was killed, she was running a bath to "clean her up", whereas Brady made a mistake of saying "we all got dressed" at the trial, as if they had both been involved in the sexual molestation of the child.

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In terms of women’s treatment by the criminal justice system, it seems to be a mixed bag. On the one hand, most evidence suggests that female prisoners convicted of similar offences to men are less likely to receive custodial sentences and more likely, if they do, to receive lesser sentences. But it is difficult to judge these things objectively, as men are more likely to have aggravating factors associated with their crimes.

The point about the moors murders – and the other crimes mentioned – is that they became cause célèbre, and that the media conducted its own trial. In these case there can be rough justice and bias against notorious female criminals. Maxine Carr was treated in the media like a sequel in the Myra Hindley franchise. Portions of the media clearly wanted to sell their papers that way. However, when you look at the sentence, it is actually quite light. Perverting the course of justice has no upper limit to the sentence: it depends on the predicate offence and the consequences of the actions of the persons convicted. Maxine Carr was very lucky that Huntley was convicted and did not kill again. Had he done so, I suspect she may have got something approaching life. In the end, she was given a relatively light 3.5years, and was out in just over 18 months.

In terms of Hindley, she became a special case, and by their nature special cases are unjust. I personally doubt that the fact that she was a woman made much difference to the judicial process. She received a harsher treatment than other similar criminals because the murders themselves touched a nerve, and she had a knack of co-inciding her gestures of remorse with the proximity of parole hearings.

However, a countervailing point is worth mentioning. I find the argument suggesting that a person who admits their guilt will WANT to be punished indefinitely perverse. We forget the time period involved. It seems to me perfectly possible to accept guilt, and still yearn for release. Certainly after decades in jail. I can’t see much of an argument for it in Hindley’s case though.

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The thing about the women in M/F serial killer teams, and there have been others besides Myra Hindley as you attest, is that all their crimes would have been unlikely to ever have happened if it hadn't been for their obsessive love for the man in their lives. If Myra Hindley had gone to work for any other business in Manchester other than the one that assigned Ian Brady to be her boss, she'd in all likelihood have had a quiet and unexceptional life and nobody outside her work and family would ever have heard of her. You can't say that about the men in these teams: Brady was fascinated by killing and would have done so eventually even if Hindley had never even existed. The fantasies about sadism and murder were all his fantasies alone until he carefully taught her to share them, "grooming" her over a lengthy period of time as a prospective accomplice the way other psychopathic killers are said to sometimes "groom" their prospective victims. If someone says she wouldn't let a man groom her for picking up and killing kids, I believe it, and most women wouldn't. But young Myra the new typist bobbed up in Brady's life as this nearly empty vessel from the intellectual or moral point of view, and then to her doom fell into crazed blinding love with him, to the extent where there was nothing she wouldn't do to not lose him. Then he had her in the palm of his hand.

That's why I would agree at least with the argument that if released--at any point--she would have represented no further danger to society, at least not in the sex-murder line. And it must be one reason why some such women do get out of prison eventually while Society locks the men up and just throws away the key.

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I don't know if I agree with WesternBreed's assertion that in M/F serial killer teams "all [the women's] crimes would have been unlikely to ever have happened if it hadn't been for their obsessive love for the man in their lives"

Looking at the Paul Bernardo/Karla Homolka situation, Karla would certainly like us to see her and her husband's crimes in the way you describe, but most people feel that, if anything, she was the catalyst in escalating her husband's actions from rape to murder. Paul Bernardo was a long-term, unconvicted rapist when he met Karla. When they married they teamed up to rape, torture and kill young women (one of whom was Karla's sister).

Ironically, in their situation, the police totally screwed up the search of their home and didn't find the videotapes hidden in the attic that would have secured a conviction against both of them. They made a deal with Karla in return for her testimony against her husband - she's now out of prison while he will likely never get out.

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[deleted]

"Maybe had she not met Brady she would have died obscurely"

I think that is almost undoubtedly true. She never committed any crimes before meeting Brady and even her brother in law who turned her in and called her evil says that if she hadn't met Brady she never would have done anything like that.

"Brady was having her read everything from Mein Kampf to De Sade to Crime and Punishment. Someone from the working classes is not going to take to such material readily unless they there already existed some kind of disposition towards it"

What has her being working class got to do with anything? I know plenty of working class people who love to read. My dad is working class and he read Mein Kampf (because he is a WW2 history buff) and Crime and Punishment because he loves Dostoevsky. Reading de Sade isn't necessarily a bad thing many surrealists admired de Sade, Simone de Beavoir wrote essays on him, Angela Carter and Susan Sontag defended him and Dita von Teese says she used his book Justine as inspiration for her act.

However I do agree Brady could not have gotten her to do such evil things if she had been a decent person.

I do think society has a particular hatred reserved for women involved in crimes. They don't even have to be that involved. Maxine Carr told a lie to protect a man she believed was innocent (okay she might have known but there is no evidence she did) and she turned against him and gave evidence which helped get him prosecuted yet she is treated as if she was a killer by the press and the lynch mobs that try to kill her.

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That was the point I was going to raise, Snowsurvivor. I just saw Longford for the first time this morning, and all I kept thinking was, "Wow...I had no idea there was a Bernardo/Homolka-like team 30 years earlier!"

Having read nearly every bit of literature out there on the Homolka case, it's my opinion (for whatever that's worth!) that she wasn't "vilified" enough by the courts, and that was because she played the I'm-a-pretty-young-woman-who-got manipulated card. But anyone who knows much about what happened to their victims - and perhaps especially the rape and murder ("accidental death") of Karla's own sister - can see that she got off incredibly easy. And I can't count how many psychiatrists have said, as you did, that she seemed to be the catalyst for his Scarborough Rapist days turning into their murderous rampage. (Granted, he might have gone that way anyway; a lot of violent criminals escalate without help, but seeing as Karla had so much involvement in it, it seems VERY wrong that she got to cut a deal and is now out, married, with a BABY, instead of serving time equal to that of Paul's sentence.)

Bottom line, for me, anyway, is that in some cases (at the very least the Homolka case), the female accomplice actually gets it much easier than the male counterpart. She served her time in a prison that allowed her to have birthday parties, and paid for her to get a university degree, among other things, while Paul Bernardo is on 23-hr lockdown for the rest of his life (rightfully so). Given what EACH of them contributed to the torture of those girls, which was proven by their videotapes, I think Karla's blond hair and little-girl voice won her freedom. No matter how you slice it, you certainly can't say she was treated worse by the justice system because she's a woman.

That was really just a long way of saying: Well put, Snowsurvivor!

For anyone interested in the details: http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/notorious/bernardo/homolka_ jump_page.html




~http://prettyh.livejournal.com/~

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[deleted]

But would Homolka and Hindley have been involved in the activity if it weren't for the men in their lives and would the men have done it regardless of whether they had a woman to conspire with? The answers are obvious to me.



Redheads not warheads

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[deleted]

Karla Holmoka got off because she struck a deal before it was revealed she was equally guilty didn't she? Not because she was a woman.

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[deleted]

Well this situation is a tough one, the reports state that she was vilified more because of her gender but certain reports and Brady's own words were that she was the one who 'brought' out the evil in him and helped and allowed him to live out his sick fantasies. And, by her own admission, she says that she was the one who knew better but still allowed it to happen.
So its not a case of gender but responsibility?

Who is more hated out of Fred and Rosemary West? Despite the fact that Rosemary was rumoured to have done more killings, Fred appears to be the more talked about one (to me anyway).






Ashmi any question

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