Why Ian Brady wants you to know he's not mentally ill

The infamous Ian Stewart Brady, 75, has resided in a high security hospital since 1985 after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. The diagnosis of psychopathy is befitting for Brady following the meticulously planned murders of 5 children between 1963 and 1964 with his accomplice Myra Hindley.

Brady’s psychopathic traits have been evident throughout his life. His desire for continued media attention and strategic ‘game playing’ in August 1987 resulted in him contacting the BBC to inform of his participation in 5 additional murders.


This reinforces my view that Brady wishes to remain a constant in the public arena. His desire for control and manipulative behaviour was no more evident than in his refusal to disclose the location of Keith Bennett’s body prior to his mother’s death. He is adept at furthering his personal agenda by disclosing snippets of information to the media which has enabled him to remain prominent, thus fuelling his perception of power. He has spoken of his similarities to Jack the Ripper and British Classics such as Wuthering Heights and Hound of the Baskervilles. He believes he deserves acknowledgment of the highest calibre for his depravity. His claims of being on hunger strike and his request to return to prison are again media seeking acts. Brady is most likely aware that if he is granted permission to return to prison that attempts to take his life will be made. His has asserted a preference for a ‘quick death’. Additionally if he is killed in prison this strengthens his superiority complex. He has remained powerful over the media and public for 60 years. He was only arrested due to demonstrating his ability to murder – he had a pathological need to prove he could kill. To die at the hands of another prisoner for his offences will reinforce his view that he is exceptional and distinct from other killers – he is special.

His statements regarding method acting appear to be testament to his manipulative intent. He is an intellectual, well read, a self-taught expert. My beliefs are based on theory as I have not met Brady, however, as a psychopath he has an unwavering yearning and capacity to deceptively control. He is nearing the end of his natural life. He is playing his final game and every calculated decision that he had made since childhood has been orientated towards this moment. His wish to achieve eternal recognition.


Katherine Goodsell is a Chartered Psychologist currently working within a forensic environment.  She has extensive experience of working within the prison system with people who have been sentenced for the most serious crimes including murder.  She has successfully delivered the healthy relationships programme to prisoners and continues her academic studies into forensic psychology.