THE top Oldham lawyer trying to locate the body of the missing child victim of the notorious Moors Murderers is “highly optimistic” of a legal break through.

John Ainley, senior partner at North Ainley solicitors, told The Oldham Times of the hour-long zoom meeting last week with home secretary Priti Patel and Alan Bennett, brother of Keith Bennett, murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

Speaking from his Clegg Street office, Mr Ainley said the high level meeting had been “very positive”.

He said: “We have been hoping for a change in the law so police have wider powers to obtain documents that belonged to Ian Brady and may contain information to help find the whereabouts of Keith’s body.

“There are two briefcases of particular interest containing papers which belonging to Ian Brady and now held by his executors but despite several requests to view the contents, access has not been granted.

"Ian Brady had told my client in the past there would be important information concerning Keith in his will but again this has not been disclosed.

“If probate is not obtained, there is no prospect of it being in the public domain.

“However, my client was reassured by the personal interest shown by the home secretary in the case and her empathy with Keith’s family who she knew had suffered so much over the years.

“The fact my client’s plight is being considered at such a high level gives rise to real optimism facts may emerge to aid the search for his brother.

‘I had many conversations with Keith’s mother, Winnie Johnson, before she died and she was convinced Ian Brady could identify where her son was buried if he chose to do so.

‘Sadly that did not happen during her lifetime but her family fights on in her memory.

“That is why the support of the Home Secretary is so important and appreciated,” Mr Ainley explained.

He said it is anticipated the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will be placed before Parliament in the coming weeks and hopefully will be passed without opposition so that powers are in place to help in this and other such cases.

Taking to social media Mr Bennett, 64, said: “The meeting went better than I could have expected going off past experience and let downs.

“The bill is large and wide ranging and will change the laws in a major way regarding police investigations.

“The home secretary and her team were very complimentary towards me regarding all I have done in the past and the battles we as a family have faced over so many years. It was nice, on personal level, to hear that directly from someone with the power and the desire to change things.”

Some of the bill’s details were outlined at the meeting and Mr Bennett said he was hoping the bill would be passed.

He went on: “There may be some do-gooders for the rights of the criminal over the victims, as had been the case for far too long.

“But I hope common sense and justice for the victims and their families will win through and there will not be any cold-hearted opposition to the bill.

“Sincere and humble thanks to everybody that has had Keith in their thoughts for all these years and supported his family.

“Thanks to my solicitor for being in the meeting with me and asking questions on a legal level that may have left me fumbling a little.

“Thanks to the home secretary and her team for working on the changes desperately needed for justice for us and so many other families.”

He added: “I have written many letters to the Home Office over the years and, to a large extent, I didn't get very far, so it was very uplifting to know my requests and grievances over the last two-three years, especially after Brady's death, were hitting home and causing a stir. Credit where credit is due now.

“Fingers crossed the bill will be passed as soon as possible and we may get some more answers. Thank you all again for your support.”