Moors Murderer Ian Brady refused to co-operate with police when they launched a covert operation nine years ago to find the body of Keith Bennett.

When he saw officers arrive on the ward at Ashworth High Security Hospital in Merseyside, he waved them away without uttering a single word.

Senior detectives at Greater Manchester Police asked themselves in 2003 whether they had pursued every possible angle in attempting to find the remains of Keith.

Following the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to prosecute Ian Brady over his murder, and that of Pauline Reade, the force came to the conclusion it had not and launched Operation Maida.

It was a secret investigation designed to avoid the glare of intensive media coverage which could disrupt the evidence-gathering process.

A small team of detectives were assigned to the case and as a starting point looked at the one obvious possible source of information - Brady.

He was approached via his solicitor but refused point blank to co-operate.

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Without Brady's co-operation they pressed on by analysing the original case file and re-examined the original statements of Brady and his fellow killer, and former lover, Myra Hindley, who died in prison in 2002.

In 1986 both killers were taken separately to the moors bordering Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire to help the search, and a year later the remains of Pauline were found, but the search for Keith proved fruitless.

Police were convinced the clue to finding Keith's body - likely to still be preserved in the peat of Saddleworth Moor - were photographs that Brady took of Hindley at the crime scenes. They were effectively souvenirs designed to act as signposts if they ever wished to retrace the path which led to their chilling deeds.

A remote area known as Shiny Brook, stretching up to five square miles, was identified from the photographs and was notable because it was up to a mile away from the burial sites of the other bodies.

Scientists indicated that modern geological techniques could provide a "feasible" chance of locating a foreign object in the moorland soil.

Detectives became excited when specialist sniffing dogs were sent in to comb the area and apparently picked up body vapour scents.

A collection of water and soil samples was then taken from Shiny Brook which showed more than 50 chemical "signatures" of human decomposition.

That narrowed the search area down to a more manageable area and digging took place to uncover what is thought would be a shallow grave.

keith bennett

Keith Bennett was one of five victims of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley

The search took place from 2005 to November 2008 without success.

It soon became apparent that the chemical activity was unique to the landscape, was naturally occurring and did not necessarily indicate decomposition.

In July 2009, Detective Superintendent Steve Heywood said the operation's team was satisfied it had explored and exhausted every possible avenue open to them.

As well as Greater Manchester Police officers, the investigation called on the support and resources of clinical psychologists, imagery experts, search advisers, geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, archaeologists and anthropologists.

Heywood dismissed theories that Brady would not know the location of Keith's body because of the passage of time, or fears that the moorland peat would have shifted over the decades and moved its location.

He was confident that Saddleworth Moor remained as much in place as it did in the 1960s when Brady and Hindley committed the murders.

"If you look back at all the victims they were triangulated so that he could come back," he said.

"Serial killers will generally try to use some sort of landmark - a way of coming back to a particular spot.

"They will revisit their activities on a daily basis. That is what they live for."

He added: "People like Brady know what they are doing. They will have planned everything.

"He will have rehearsed daily what he did.

"It is my personal opinion that he knows where the body is."

The case was not closed but it could only progress if there was a scientific breakthrough - or if Brady disclosed where he had buried Keith, he said.

They would not allow the psychotic killer to return to the Moors, fearing it could feed his twisted ego, but said he could assist by identifying the location using 3D maps of the area.

"If he (Brady) wants to take the opportunity to do the decent thing then we will listen, but there will be no deals," said Heywood.

"This is his final opportunity to come forward and give the information he knows where Keith Bennett is.

"It has to be something substantial though."

He added investigators would not subject themselves to the "whims" of a "psychopath" in returning to the scene of the murders which he last visited in 1986.

"I am not taking Ian Brady back on the moor," he said. "He will not be released.

"All the experts we have spoken to have advised against doing so."

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  • Brady discloses location of victim's body

    Undated file photo of Ian Brady. Detectives believe the Moors murderer has recently given details of the location of the body of one of his victims, 12-year-old Keith Bennett, to one of his long-term visitors, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

  • Brady discloses location of victim's body

    Undated handout file photo of Keith Bennett. Detectives believe the Moors murderer Ian Brady has recently given details of the location of the body of one of his victims, 12-year-old Bennett, to one of his long-term visitors, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

  • Brady discloses location of victim's body

    File photo dated 26/3/2010 of Winnie Johnson, mother of Keith Bennett. Detectives believe the Moors murderer has recently given details of the location of the body of one of his victims, 12-year-old Bennett, to one of his long-term visitors, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

  • Winnie Johnson, mother of Keith Bennett, on Saddleworth Moor, Saddleworth, as a privately funded search has begun for the body of the 12-year-old boy killed by Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. (Photo credit: PA)

  • THE MOORS MURDERS: Heavily swathed in plastic sheeting, human remains are carried from the screened grave on Saddleworth Moor, near Ashton-under-Lyne. Detective Chief Superintendent Sam Cross, head of the West Riding CID, said they were now making inquiries to establish the identity of the body. Myra Hindley and Ian Brady.

  • Ian Brady in the back of a police car prior to his court appearance for the Moors Murders for which he was later convicted. Archive-PA122200-52

  • PA NEWS PHOTO 8/12/65 THE DEFENCE COUNSEL IN HYDE, CHESHIRE FOR THE MOORS MURDER CHARGES HEARING AT THE MAGISTRATES COURT: DAVID LLOYD JONES (NEAR CAMERA) WHO IS APPEARING FOR IAN BRADY (27 YEAR OLD) STOCK CLERK ACCUSED OF THREE MURDERS AND MR. PHILIP COLLINS APPEARING FOR ESTHER MYRA HINDLEY, THE 23 YEAR OLD SHORT-HAND TYPIST ACCUSED OF TWO MURDERS

  • A police mounted search Saddleworth Moor near Woodhead for the bodies of the victims of the Moors Murderers. The Moors murders were committed by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley around the Manchester area of England between 1963 and 1965. The Moors murders are so named because four of the victims were buried to the north of the A635, Greenfield Road, over Saddleworth Moor between Oldham, then in Lancashire, and the Wessenden Road junction to Meltham, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Their five victims were children aged between 10 and 17 years.

  • A witness in the Moors Murder case, who gave evidence in the resumed hearing.

  • A Police party digging on the Saddleworth Moors in Yorkshire looking for moorland graves. Pictured to the right is six canes to mark the spot where the body of ten-year old Lesley Ann Downey was found in a shallow grave, victim of the Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

  • Detective Chief Inspector Joseph Mounsey of the Lancashire Police where he gave evidence at the charges hearing.

  • A composite picture of 12 year old Keith Bennett (L) and 16 year old Pauline Reade, who went missing around 30 years ago at the time of the Moors Murders. Myra Hindley and her lover Ian Brady were jailed in 1966 for the Moors murders. * Pauline Read's body was found on Saddleworth Moor, it was confirmed 03/07/1987.

  • Police use specially trained sniffer dogs, on Saddleworth Moor, near Oldham. They are searching for the bodies of Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12, who disappeared at the time of the Moors murders more than 20 years ago.

  • Police dig at one of the spots indicated by specially trained sniffer dogs, on Saddleworth Moor, near Oldham. They are searching for the bodies of Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12, who disappeared at the time of the Moors murders more than 20 years ago.

  • Moors Murderers Myra Hindley (L) and Ian Brady. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Allan Green QC, has decided it would be in the public interest to institute criminal proceedings against the killers, in relation to the deaths of Pauline Reade or Kieth Bennett. * 28/12/1999 : Hindley was tonight in hospital after being taken ill in prison. Hindley, aged 57, was this afternoon taken by ambulance from Highpoint Prison, Suffolk, to the West Suffolk Hospital in nearby Bury St Edmunds. *14/1/88 of Moors Murderers Ian Brady. A book written by Brady about serial killing could be banned in Britain, it was reported. The Gates of Janus, which is said to profile the minds of serial killers such as Peter Sutcliffe, has been sold to American publisher, Feral House, and will be in US bookshops by the end of the year. Under a deal with a British distributor, copies of the 300-page book were due to go on sale in the UK November. But BBC News Online said today that Ashworth Hospital, where Brady is being held, has won a temporary injunction stopping publication in Britain while the book's contents are checked.

  • Mrs Winifred Johnson, the mother of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett, on Saddleworth Moor with Det Chief Supt Peter Topping, the man leading the hunt for her son's body. Mrs Johnson was in London trying to persuade the Home Secretary to allow Myra Hindley to be hypnotised in the hope she can identify where the 12-year-old is buried.

  • Mrs Winnie Johnson with her 23 year old son Joey, digging on Saddleworth Moor near Manchester in a bid to find the remains of her 12 year old son Keith Bennett, victim of the Moors Murderers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady.

  • Ann and Alan West, the parents of Moors murder victim Leslie Ann Downey, at the Victims of Crime Trust launch. Lesley, 10, was snatched from a fair on Boxing Day 1964. Her body was found on Saddleworth Moor late 1965. * 9/2/99: Ann West died at home, aged 69.

  • Winnie Johnson, 65, from Manchester whose son Keith Bennett was one of the Moors murder victims, joins walkers in Dunblane starting a march to London. The charity Mothers Against Murder and Aggression hopes to raise money for a retreat and resource centre. *13/10/00 Mrs Johnson said that it would be wrong to release Hindley from jail under the new Human Rights Act, as suggested by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf.

  • Winnie Johnson, mother of moors murder victim Keith Bennett, outside the High Court today (Thursday) after hearing the news that Myra Hindley's bid to overturn the decision that she must die in prison had failed. See PA story COURTS Hindley. Photo by Ben Curtis/PA

  • Winnie Johnson wipes away a tear at a rally organised by the 'Mothers Against Murder and Aggression' held in Kensington Gardens, London. Winnie's son Keith Bennett was murdered by the "Moors Murderers" over 30 years ago and his body has never been found.

  • Meg Colpitts (L), from Newcastle and founder of Justice for Children, comforts Winnie Johnson who broke down in tears at a rally organised by Dee Warner (R) from the 'Mothers Against Murder and Aggression' held in Kensington Gardens, London. * Winnie's son Keith Bennett was murdered by the "Moors Murderers" over 30 years ago and his body has never been recovered.

  • Winnie Johnson, whose son Keith Bennett was killed by the "Moors Murderers" is hugged by American Marc Klaas, daughter Polly was also murdered. The two met during a rally organised by the 'Mothers Against Murder and Aggression' held in Kensington Gardens. * in London. Keith Bennett's body has never been recovered.

  • Winnie Johnson (left) the mother of Keith Bennett who's body is still missing, with Psychic Teresa Walsh (holding Keith's spectacles) on the Yorkshire Moors. * A BBC documentary Body Hunt: The Search for Keith Bennett is to be shown revealing that Mira Hindley has helped draw three maps which show the route she and Ian Brady took in 1964 onto Saddleworth Moor with 12-year-old Keith Bennett the night he was killed. Hindley and Brady were given life in 1966 for the murders of Lesley Ann Downey, 10, John Kilbride, 12, and Edward Evans, 17, although they admitted in the mid-1980s that they had also murdered Keith.

  • Winnie Johnson, the mother of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett, cries during her son's memorial service at Manchester Cathedral. Picture date: Friday March 5, 2010. See PA story MEMORIAL Keith. Photo credit should read:Chris Gleave/Manchester Evening News/PA Wire

  • Previously unissued photo dated 8/11/2007 of a large stone with a message from the family of Lesley Molseed on the spot where her body was found high on the moors between Oldham and Ripponden. Comic book dealer Ronald Castree was today found guilty at Bradford Crown Court of the 1975 murder of 11-year-old Lesley. Picture date: Nov. 11th, 2007. See PA story COURTS Molseed. Photo credit should read: John Giles/PA Wire

  • Members of the Global Rescue Services and International Rescue Training Centre teams, dig holes in a marked out area for sniffer dogs to search an area of Saddleworth Moor in Saddleworth during privately funded search has begun for the body of Keith Bennett, the 12-year-old boy killed by Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Picture date: Sunday, March 26, 2010. See PA story POLICE Keith. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

  • Members of the Global Rescue Services and International Rescue Training Centre teams, dig holes in a marked out area for sniffer dogs to search an area of Saddleworth Moor in Saddleworth during privately funded search has begun for the body of Keith Bennett, the 12-year-old boy killed by Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Picture date: Sunday, March 26, 2010. See PA story POLICE Keith. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

  • Policemen digging at the scene where the body of Moors murder victim Lesley Downey was found. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

  • circa 1965: Myra Hindley (1942 - 2002), left, who in 1966 was convicted on two counts of murder in conjunction with her partner Ian Brady. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • A search is carried out on Saddleworth Moor for missing children Keith Bennett (top right), Pauline Reade (bottom left) and John Kilbride (bottom right), October 1965. All three were the victims of so-called Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Mrs Ann Downey watching the police search Saddleworth moors for the body of her daughter Lesley, a victim of the Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 18: Evidence Research In The Lesley Downey Murder Case In Cheshire On October 18Th 1965 (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

  • 27th October 1965: Two RAF men studying a map after the discovery of the body of moors murder victim Lesley Anne Downey on the Pennines. (Photo by Peter Dunne/Express/Getty Images)

  • 25th November 1965: Teams of searchers at Doctor's Gate at Snake Pass, between Manchester and Sheffield, searching for graves after the Moors Murders. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • December 1965: Lesley Ann Downey aged 10. She was a victim of the Moors Murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

  • Maureen Smith, the sister of Moors murderer Myra Hindley, with her husband David during the hearing at Hyde, Greater Manchester, 9th December 1965. They are both witnesses in the case, in which Hindley and her lover Ian Brady are to be charged with multiple murders. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • 6th May 1966: Moors Murderer Ian Brady being taken to court in a car. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • SADDLEWORTH, UNITED KINGDOM: In this undated handout photo supplied by the Greater Manchester Police, a police search team looks for the body of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett. Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were convicted in 1966 of the murder of 3 children. The remains of the children were then buried, by Hindley and Brady, on Saddleworth Moor. It was today announced, July 1, 2009, that the search operation for the missing remains of Keith Bennett will enter a dormant phase after Greater Manchester Police exhausted all of the avenues currently available to them. Operation Maida was launched in 2003 as a new attempt to locate the body of Keith, who was murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley after going missing on 16 June 1964. (Photo by Greater Manchester Police via Getty Images)

  • SADDLEWORTH, UNITED KINGDOM: In this undated handout photo supplied by the Greater Manchester Police on July 1, 2009, Myra Hindley is seen photographed by Ian Brady at an unknown location. Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were convicted in 1966 of the murder of 3 children. The remains of the children were then buried, by Hindley and Brady, on Saddleworth Moor. It was today announced, July 1, 2009, that the search operation for the missing remains of Keith Bennett will enter a dormant phase after Greater Manchester Police exhausted all of the avenues currently available to them. Operation Maida was launched in 2003 as a new attempt to locate the body of Keith, who was murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley after going missing on 16 June 1964. (Photo by Greater Manchester Police via Getty Images)

  • SADDLEWORTH, UNITED KINGDOM: In this undated handout photo supplied by the Greater Manchester Police on July 1, 2009, Myra Hindley is seen photographed by Ian Brady at an unknown location. Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were convicted in 1966 of the murder of 3 children. The remains of the children were then buried, by Hindley and Brady, on Saddleworth Moor. It was today announced, July 1, 2009, that the search operation for the missing remains of Keith Bennett will enter a dormant phase after Greater Manchester Police exhausted all of the avenues currently available to them. Operation Maida was launched in 2003 as a new attempt to locate the body of Keith, who was murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley after going missing on 16 June 1964. (Photo by Greater Manchester Police via Getty Images)

  • MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 01: Winnie Johnson, 83, the mother of Saddleworth Moor murder victim Twelve-year-old Keith Bennett, is consoled by her friend Elizabeth Bond, as she watches TV coverage of Greater Manchester Police announcing that the search for his body is now entering a dormant phase on July 1, 2009 in Manchester, England. The 12-year-old was killed by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964. Greater Manchester Police said that intense scientific and manual searches of Saddleworth Moor for Keith have yielded no results and the operation has now entered a dormant stage until further evidence arises. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)