Prayers for Myra Hindley

 Prayers were said in many churches yesterday, Prisoners Sunday, for Myra Hindley, Britain's longest-serving and most reviled female prisoner, who died on Friday night. Hindley spent 36 years in prison for her role in the 'Moors Murders'. Aged 60, she died of respiratory failure at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. She had suffered ill health for many years. A Catholic priest was at her bedside. In 1966, Hindley was jailed for life with Ian Brady for a series of horrendous child murders that shocked the world. At her trial, she said Ian Brady had threatened and intimidated her into committing the crimes, but later she admitted she had played an active part in several of the murders. In 1994, Hindley wrote that she was "wicked and evil" and had behaved "monstrously". She said: "Without me, those crimes could probably not have been committed." Hindley became a Catholic in prison, and also obtained an Open University degree in humanities. For many years, she asked for parole but each appeal was rejected. She had many supporters including the late Lord Longford, and David Astor. Lord Longford said he followed the biblical imperative to "hate the sin, but love the sinner". He once told the Sunday Telegraph: "Myra Hindley was totally unlike that picture of her with blonde hair and staring eyes that appears in all the papers. She was a quiet, dark woman. I took to her at once. Many people have done terrible things. The point about Myra is that she was a good Catholic girl before she met Brady ... She fell under his spell." He added: "She has become very religious, really religious, like Jonathan Aitken. These people are haunted by their own crimes." An inquest is taking place today. A funeral service will be held later at a secret location.

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