MAY 19 ― For some inexplicable reason, I am a big fan of serial killer mythology.
I would like to say that it is due to my adopted country’s fascination for criminology ― the older folks in Britain enjoy nothing more than a grisly murder and mug of hot tea ― but that is not really true.
I was fascinated by the subject long before I left Malaysia. I think the real credit should go to Thomas Harris, the author of the legendary Silence of the Lambs.
I picked up the book in early 1992 after watching the film, one of the very few films to win five Academy awards (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay).
Yes, the mind of a serial killer is one of twisted evil and it fascinates me to understand how it came to be so.
Just this week, the second and last Moors Murderer, Ian Brady, died after spending more than 50 years in prison.
No one is shedding a tear for this monster. His partner, both romantic and in crime, Myra Hindley, died in 2002. Both of them died because of respiratory related diseases; Brady from lung cancer and Hindley from bronchitis and pneumonia.
The Moors Murders happened in the Sixties and shocked the nation. I had a neighbour with whom I often discussed British life in the “good old days” and she told me that these murders were a national nightmare when they first happened and even today, remain firmly etched in British memory.
They happened in Manchester, a city which needs no introduction to Malaysians, I am sure. Being in the north of England, Manchester has the cold feel of northern cities which adds to the grisliness of this tragedy.
The economic depression “oop north”, as the British say mocking the Northern accent, also added to the grimness of these murders.
One can be forgiven for being surprised by the number of victims which surprisingly, was not so many.
Five victims compared to other notorious serial killers like John Wayne Gacy (33 victims) or Ted Bundy (30 victims that are known).
However, it is not the number of victims which cause the aforementioned nightmares. It was a combination of facts such as the age of the victims; from 10 to 17.
However, I think what really made these murders the very definition of depravity were the ways the victims were killed. It was as if they, particularly Ian Brady, took great pleasure from extracting pain from each of his victim. As if that was not enough, they even recorded the screams of some of their victims.
Another fact which adds to the public anger towards the Moors Murderers was their slow (and now impossible) co-operation in locating the bodies.
The first two were found early enough but the third was only located 20 years later and the fourth, that of a 10-year-old, was never found.
Even to the end, Brady refused to disclosed the location of this victim despite the pleas of his dying mother, desperate for closure after 50 years. That should tell us about the sheer evil of this man.
Is it possible that these murders are a thing of the past, given we now live in a high tech society where our every move is watched by CCTV and our digital footprints are easily tracked? I for one do not think so.
I feel that the mental states which produced these evil acts remain and worse still, they are now aided and abetted across global online networks. These networks are not easily visible but rather are hidden away on what is called the “deep web.”
These murders can only happen if we let our guard down. We must never forget to be vigilant at all times.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.