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Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

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CPS statement in relation to Jackie Powell and letter supposedly written by Ian Brady


John Dilworth, Head of the CPS North West Complex Case Unit, said: "We have completed our review of the evidence concerning an alleged failure by Jackie Powell to disclose information about the location of Keith Bennett's remains. This allegation centred on a letter, supposedly written by Ian Brady, which may have led police to where Keith Bennett was buried.

"The only offence that might have been committed by Ms Powell was preventing a lawful and decent burial. It is possible to prosecute a person for preventing a lawful burial through a failure to act, but there must be sufficient evidence to prove that the suspect either prevented the burial or intended to do so when they chose not to act.

"After careful consideration, we have decided that Ms Powell should not be charged, as it cannot be established that she knew the contents of the letter referred to, that the letter in question existed or what information it might have contained. The only evidence of the letter's existence was in comments given by Ms Powell to an interviewer and she stated only that she believed it may contain information about Keith Bennett.

"Even if it could be proved that this letter existed, there is no evidence to suggest that Ms Powell ever knew the nature of its contents and there is insufficient evidence to prove that she genuinely believed it contained the information in question. As such, it could not be established in court that Ms Powell either prevented Keith Bennett's burial or intended to do so.

"We understand that this is still a very sensitive matter for the relatives of Keith Bennett. We have written to Keith Bennett's brother to explain our decision and have offered a meeting to discuss this matter."