Her name was Mary Bell, a wickedly intelligent, manipulative, cold little girl with dazzling blue eyes and dark, short hair. Mary was one to tell ‘tall tales’, according to school teachers who knew her, and she was also one to kill. More than once, and completely, unbashedley without remorse.
The summer of 1968 saw the disappearance of two toddlers. Bordering the town was a railroad, an abandoned home, and an old construction site. Normally places where the children played, they would also figure in to the deaths of Brian Howe, 3, and Martin Brown.
Early in August, Mary Bell and her friend Norma Bell, (the girls were not related,) offered to help Brian Howe’s sister Pat search for the boy, who had not come from being out playing. Pat accepted the girls’ offer, and they set off to look.
The whole while, Mary and Norma led Pat on a fruitless search through the usual places children played. Finally they found themselves in the town’s broken-down industrial area, and a series of huge concrete blocks that children were warned never to play on.
At a loss, Mary surmised that ‘he might be playing behind the blocks, or between them.’ Norma countered that little boys, even those as young as Brian, knew better. The industrial area and the railroad tracks were a dangerous place to play. With no Brian safely in tow, Pat Howe, Mary, and Norma went home and notified the police.
The Newcastle Police Department pulled Brian Howe’s body from between the stone blocks at 11:00 p.m. that night. He had been strangled, puncture wounds were dotting his thighs, his hair had been cut, and, worst of all, his penis had been partially skinned. When authorities removed his clothing they found the letter ‘M’ cut into his stomach, which may have been inflicted with the broken scissors found lying nearby. Parents and children panicked.
Police invaded the town, and immeadiately found Mary and Norma Bell suspicious. They were reported to have been smiling the entire time, as if it were all ‘a huge joke’. Even more alarming and creepy, detectives noticed bizarre reactions to the funeral on Mary Bell’s behalf. When the coffin was carried from the Howe’s home, she merely rubbed her hands together and laughed, delighted at the spectacle.
Sadly, Brian Howe was the second child who had died at Mary’s small hands. In May 1968, young Martin Brown disappeared while playing, and was found on May 25th, dead inside an abandoned house on the outskirts of Scotswood. The police, with no leads, declared the cause of the boy’s death as ‘open’.
Mary had been a time bomb, it seemed, even before she culminated her actions into murder. On May 11th, a young boy was found outside a pub bleeding from a head wound. Mary Bell, who had asked before, “When you choke someone, do they die?”, told adults that the boy had fallen from a ledge. In reality, it was later discovered, she had pushed him.
On May 15th, four days after attempting to kill the young boy, Mary choked two playmates in the playground at Day Nursery in Woodlands Crescent, what we call an elementary school. Ten days later, she took Martin Brown’s life.
Regarded as a loudmouth and a girl who loved to brag, Mary and her friend Norma would visit Martin’s aunt’s home and grill her. She has stated that the girls asked her, “Do you miss him? Do you cry for him? Does June [Martin’s mother] miss him?” Eventually, repulsed by their gleefulness, she orderered them never to come back.
Two days following Martin’s murder, the Day Nursery was broken into. With all the characteristics of adult killers, Mary and Norma scrawled cryptic, frightening notes on the walls and tore the school apart, ransacking everything inside. Scrawled on the walls in their childish handwriting were these words: (Errors have been corrected by me for ease in reading.)
“I murder so that I may come back. Fuck off, we murder. Watch out, Fanny and Faggot.” (Fanny was alledgedley Norma’s alias, Faggot was Mary’s.)
“We did murder Martin. Fuck off you bastard.”
After her capture, Mary passed off the writings as something they did ‘for a giggle’.
Luckily, before Mary Bell could kill again, she was apprehended by shocked police, disgusted that such a small child could act with such relentless evil. She is said to have told attorneys, “I like hurting little things that can’t fight back.”
As if her own proud admission to the crimes wasn’t enough, gray fibers from Mary’s clothing were found on the bodies of both Brian Howe and Martin Brown. The trial, a media frenzy for its day, lasted nine days. It culminated in the jury find Norma guilty of the breaking and entering of Day Nursery, and Mary guilty of manslaughter by diminished responsibility, due to her age. Norma was given probation. Mary was given detention for life.
Finally, the little girl cried.
She was placed in a boy’s home, since prison was not deemed appropriate, and she was considered far too dangerous for a home for troubled girls. At age 23 she was set free, and after living with her mother for some time, becoming addicted to drugs, and spending time in intensive therapy, Mary Bell became a mother herself. She is currently living free and clear, with no supervision.
When asked about her crimes, she is reluctant to assume responsibility. Recently she and her family were driven from their home when villagers learned of her identity. Signs were posted screaming “Murderer Out!”, and, with blankets covering their faces, she and her family escaped a mob not unlike the final scene in Frankenstein, where the enraged villagers drive the monster from their home.
In a twist only this horror story could have, it was then that Mary Bell’s daughter discovered that her own mother was the Mary Bell of British history, the child killer who was but a child herself.
She reminds of Esther from that Orphan movie. *shivers* I don’t think she should have been set free at all. It’s not manslaughter, it’s not forced by any particular circumstances. These two girls did it out of pure spite and were so gleeful about it even. To commit a pre-meditated murder is beyond a normal child’s mind. These two aren’t children; they are monsters in human skins.