Mar 12 2013 by Jamie Bowman, Formby Times
TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Formby Times journalist who went on to become the first person to link the deaths in the Moors Murders case.
Manchester Evening News reporter Ian Fowler, who has died aged 73, wrote a feature on the disappearances of Pauline Reade, 16, John Kilbride, 12, Lesley Anne Downey, 10, and Keith Bennett, 12, which was published on February 19, 1965 – eight months before Ian Brady and Myra Hindley claimed their last victim, 17-year-old Edward Evans, and precipitated their arrest.
Mr Fowler looked at the pattern and concluded that they must be linked. He used the article to call for the setting up of a central missing persons bureau.
He went on to cover the first court appearance of Brady at Hyde magistrates and later corresponded with Hindley in prison and visited her several times with his wife Patricia Roberts, also a M.E.N. journalist, for a series of features.
Mr Fowler was born in Bootle and attended Merchant Taylors’ School in Crosby before entering journalism on the Formby Times.
After National Service he became editor of the Maghull Herald, then after working for Caters news agency in Birmingham, he came to the M.E.N. in 1964. His work ranged from hard news to features, including one for which he shadowed George Best for a day.
In the February 1974 general election he fought a campaign as the Liberal candidate in Manchester Withington, more than doubling his party's vote in the previous election.
Mr Fowler was also active as a member of the National Union of Journalists and was a long-serving father of the NUJ chapel at the M.E.N, where he won significant improvements to members' pay and conditions.
He later founded Newsbeat, his own news agency covering the north-west, and went on to work in Public Relations for the NHS.
Mr Fowler, leaves behind his wife Patricia, two sons, Robert and Jonathan, and four grandchildren.