Monday 3 September 2012


The front page of the Sunday Mirror claimed it had an 'exclusive' about a 'breakthrough' in the search for the body of Keith Bennett:

'Moors murders spade clue', it promises. Simon Wright's article states:

This spade could unlock the mystery of where Moors murder victim Keith Bennett is buried.

But skip to the end of the 1,500-word article and it says this:

Tonight, a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said in a statement: “We are aware of the claims and are satisfied they would be of no assistance in finding Keith Bennett’s body.

So in what way is this a 'breakthrough'?

The Sunday Mirror is not entirely transparent about who discovered the spade. It says it was found by 'justice campaigners' and 'campaigners searching for the body of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett'.

But they are, in fact, members of 'Worsley Paranormal Group' - according to their website:

the group is one of the North West's most respected paranormal investigators

An hour after this story was posted on the Mirror's website, a version appeared on MailOnline. It also had a hopeful headline:

It also includes quotes that contradict the headline, this time from someone who had been examining the spade:

Steve Kershaw, senior lecturer in forensic analytical science at Manchester Metropolitan University...said he has been unable to trace its history.

He said: 'It is very, very corroded. The metal in it appears to be a reasonable steel that pre-dates the start of recycling.

'There was some vegetation attached to it and was found in an area of peat.

'The handle had been broken off, but even if we had lots more time, and even if we had established that it was a spade from the 60s or pre-dated the 60s, we would not have necessarily established if it was anything to do with Ian Brady.

'The only way we would have been able to tell is if it had DNA on it and that is harder to tell with the handle gone, with it being so corroded.

'Although some vegetation has survived, there is very little chance of DNA having survived.'

He said the spade has now been returned to its finders.

Today, the Mail has another article on this subject - this time, reporting comments from Keith's brother Alan:

'This is complete nonsense as is the Worsley Paranormal Group’s theories and activities.

'They are to be found all over the internet chasing anybody who they think will listen to them. They also post videos claiming to have picked up Keith on a "ghost box" machine, all of which I find totally disgusting.

'They know my thoughts on their "findings" and when they realised, finally, that I could not take them seriously, they got very angry to the point of being abusive.

'It seems now they, just like the other "oddballs" in the news lately, have gone to a newspaper. They have seen their moment to jump on the bandwagon with all the recent publicity about the case.

'This is just another of several spades that have been found on the moor. It is not near any real area of interest to anybody but themselves. I have spoken about these people with the police and we all agreed their "evidence" was of the sort that did not warrant further consideration - to put it mildly.'

He added: 'I am and will continue to be offended and angered by these people.'

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