Moors Murderer Ian Brady has died at the age of 79 at a high security psychiatric hospital in Merseyside.

A spokesman for the NHS trust said: “We can confirm a 79-year-old patient in long term care at Ashworth High Secure Hospital has died after becoming physically unwell.”

Ian Brady was the longest serving prisoner in England and Wales.

Brady was convicted of torturing and murdering five children in 1966 and sentenced to life in prison. His accomplice, Myra Hindley, died in prison in 2002 at the age of 60.

Brady and Hindley were convicted of the murders of John Kilbride, aged 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17.

Brady later confessed whilst serving his life sentence to the murders of Keith Bennett, 12, and Pauline Reade, 16.

Greater Manchester Police said they ‘will never close this case’ and the death of Ian Brady, “does not change that”.

The bodies of four of Brady and Hindley’s victims were found buried on Saddleworth Moor near Manchester. However the body of their fifth victim, 12-year-old Keith Bennett, has never been found. There have been extensive searches in recent years, but Brady took the secret of where Keith is buried to his grave.

“Police will never close this case. Brady’s death does not change that.”

Martin Bottomley, head of Greater Manchester Police’s Cold Case Review Unit, said that Brady’s death won’t change their aim to find where Keith is buried.

“I do not want to comment on Brady at all,” he said. “The thoughts of everyone within Greater Manchester Police are with the families who lost loved ones in the most painful and traumatic way.

“They have lived with the shadow of Brady hanging over them for so long, and have showed incredible dignity in the face of such adversity.

“It is especially saddening for the family of Keith Bennett that his killers did not reveal to police the whereabouts of Keith’s burial site. A week hardly goes by when we do not receive some information which purports to lead us to Keith but ultimately only two people knew where Keith is.

“Whilst we are not actively searching Saddleworth Moors, Greater Manchester Police will never close this case. Brady’s death does not change that.”