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Mary Bell

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Mary Bell
Born (1957-05-26) 26 Mey 1957 (age 67)
Newcastle upon Tyne, Ingland, Unitit Kinrick
Ither namesThe Tyneside Strangler
Criminal penalty
12 years impreesonment
PawrentsBetty McCrickett

Mary Flora Bell (born 26 Mey 1957) is a Breetish wumman who wis convictit in Dizember 1968 o the manslauchter o twa boys, Martin Brown (agit fower) an Brian Howe (agit three). Bell wis 10 year auld when she killed Brown an 11 when she killed Howe, makkin her ane o Breetain's maist notorious bairn killers.[1]

Early life[eedit | eedit soorce]

Bell's mither Betty (née McCrickett) wis a prostitute who wis aften absent frae the faimily hame, travellin tae Glesga tae wirk. Mary (elk-namit May)[1] wis her first bairn, born when Betty wis 17 year auld. It is no kent who Mary's biological faither wis; for maist o her life she believit it tae be Billy Bell, a habitual creeminal later arrestit for airmit robbery who haed marriet Betty some time efter Mary wis born. Independent accoonts frae faimily members strangly suggest that Betty haed mair nor ance attemptit tae kill Mary an mak her daith leuk accidental durin the first few years o her life.[2] Mary hersel says she wis subjectit tae repeatit sexual abuse, her mither forcin her frae the age o fower tae engage in sexual acts wi men.[2]

The killins[eedit | eedit soorce]

On 25 Mey 1968, the day afore her 11t birthday, Mary Bell strangled fower-year-auld Martin Brown in a derelict hoose.[1] She wis believit tae hae committed this creeme alane. Atween that time an a seicont killin, she an a friend, Norma Joyce Bell (nae relation), agit 13, breuk intae an vandalisit a nursery in Scotswood, leavin notes that claimit responsibility for the killin. The polis dismissed this incident as a prank.

On 31 Julie 1968, the pair teuk part in the daith, again bi stranglin, o three-year-auld Brian Howe, on wasteland in the same Scotswood aurie.[1] Polis reports concludit that Mary Bell haed later returned tae his body tae carve an "N" intae his stomach wi a razor; this wis then chyngit uisin the same razor but wi a different haund tae an "M". Mary Bell uised a pair o scissors tae cut aff some o Howe's hair an aw, scratch his legs, an mutilate his penis. As the girls wur so young an their testimonies contradictit each ither, the precise details o wha happened hae niver been entirely clear.

An open verdict haed oreeginally been recordit for Brown's daith as thare wis nae evidence o foul play — awtho Bell haed strangled him, her grip wis no hard enough tae leave ony marks.[3] Eventually, his daith wis linkit wi Howe's killin an in August 1968 the twa girls wur chairgit wi twa coonts o manslauchter.

Conviction[eedit | eedit soorce]

On 17 December 1968, at Newcastle Assizes, Norma Bell wis acquittit but Mary Bell wis convictit o manslauchter on the grunds o diminished responsibility, the jury takkin their lead frae her diagnosis bi court-appointit psychiatrists who describit her as displayin "classic symptoms o psychopathy". The judge, Mr. Justice Cusack, describit her as dangerous an said she posed a "very grave risk tae ither childer". She wis sentencit tae be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure, effectively a indefinite sentence o impreesonment. She wis initially sent tae Red Bank secur unit in St. Helens, Lancashire — the same facility that wad hoose Jon Venables, ane o James Bulger's bairn killers, 25 years later.[1]

Efter her conviction, Bell wis the focus o a great deal o attention frae the Breetish press an frae the German Stern magazine an aw. Her mither repeatitly sauld stories aboot her tae the press an aften gave reporters writins she claimit tae be Mary's. Bell hersel made headlines when, in September 1977, she briefly abscondit frae Moore Court open preeson, whaur she haed been held syne her transfer frae a young affenders institution tae a adult preeson a year earlier. Her penalty for this wis a loss o preeson privileges for 28 days.[4]

For a time, Bell livit in a girls' remand hame at Cumberlow Lodge in South Norwood an aw (in a hoose built bi Victorian inventor William Stanley).[5][6]

Life efter preeson[eedit | eedit soorce]

In 1980, Bell, agit 23, wis released frae Askham Grange open preeson, haein servit 12 years, an wis grantit anonymity (includin a new name) allowing her to stairt a new life. Fower years later she haed a dochter, born on 25 Mey 1984; Bell's dochter did no ken o her mither's past till Bell's location wis discovered bi reporters an she an her mither haed tae leave their hoose wi bed sheets ower their heids.

Bell's dochter's anonymity wis oreeginally protected anerly till she reached the age o 18. However, on 21 May 2003, Bell wan a High Court battle tae hae her awn anonymity an that o her dochter extendit for life. Ony court order permanently protectin the identity o a convict is consequently sometimes kent as a "Mary Bell order."

In 2009, it wis reportit that Bell haed become a guidmither.[7]

See an aw[eedit | eedit soorce]

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. a b c d e "17 December: 1968: Mary Bell found guilty of double killing". BBC On This Day. BBC News. 17 December 1968. Retrieved 12 Mey 2010.
  2. a b Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Cries Unheard
  3. Wilson, Colin. "Mary Bell must not disappear". Daily Mail. London.
  4. "Street parties for the Queen". Our Century. Express & Star.
  5. Akpan, Eloïse (2000). The Story of William Stanley - A Self-made Man. London: Eloïse Akpan. p. 40. ISBN 0-9538577-0-0.
  6. "Cumberlow lodge, approved school and remand home south Norwood; General LCC/CH/D/CUM/1 [n.d.]". The National Archives.
  7. Seamark, Michael; Sims, Paul (9 Januar 2009). "Child killer Mary Bell becomes a grandmother at 51: But all I have left is grief, says victim's mother". Daily Mail. London.

Freemit airtins[eedit | eedit soorce]