Marry Bell


The cases about Mary Bell of Britain in 1968 make headlines in the whole world. Mary bell was only eleven years old at the time she was pronounced as the youngest serial killer in Britain. It is projected the initial life encounters of led to the abnormal behavior that was demonstrated by the young girl. Having been deprived off the family love right from birth and having grown in an environment where violence was the daily encounters, it is evident that Mary’s case was a result of psychological problem. The case of Mary shows hoe environmental conditions can lead to reactions that bring serious consequences to the person as well as the society

Mary Bell the murderer.

Mary bell was born to cause trouble .At the tender age of eleven years Mary Bell had started committing all types of climes from assault to violence including murder which made Mary a legend as the youngest serial killer in Britain.

Mary bell was born 1978. She was the first born of Betty who bore her at the age of sixteen years. Betty who is described to have strong religious background was born in Glasgow in 1940. Mary’s biological father is not well known but it has been believed that her step father was Billy Bell. Bell is believed to have married Betty slightly after Mary was born. Later on Bell was convicted of several crimes and spent most of his life in prison. Due to lack of a stable job, Bell was unable to provide for the needs of Betty and her small kid. Due to the hard economic situation, Betty turned to prostitution as a means to meet the needs of her child and herself. As a result, little Mary was left at the mercies relatives and any well wisher for the better part of her life as a kid. Mary was once left to a complete stranger outside an abortion clinic. The paternal love she greatly deserved was nowhere to be found.

Betty is suggested to have suffered from "Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy" this condition was discovered in 1977 and is demonstrated by caregivers out of their will hurts the person they care for so that they can obtain sympathy from other people. This was illustrated by the fact that despite the harsh treatment of Mary by her mother, the mother always claimed the child. It is reported that Betty once told her sister that Mary had died through an accident where Mary was ran over by a vehicle so that she could obtain sympathy from the sister. (Timmonet 2009: Para 11)

Mary’s problems started right from birth where she was introduced to a harsh environment in Newcastle in the Scortswood area. The environment around the characterized by poverty shaped the life of Mary together with the encounters in her early childhood life. She is reported to have started showing off and had proclaimed that “I am a murderer” was never taken seriously by people in the community around where they lived.  Bell grew up in this area where problems ranging from domestic violence to criminal acts were a day to day experience. Some sources from the family members suggests that at several instances Betty had tried to kill Bell and make her death appear accidental in her first few years in her life. Having been raised in a cruel environment, vandalism, theft and attacks to other children was the order of the day for the young Bell who is reported to have made several proclamations that she was a murderer way back before she started committing the crimes. Mary bell has reported rape encounters by her mother and her mother s clients.

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At the age if eleven, Mary was living in a home as empty as her life. Nobody was showing concern in her life. She was living by her own and developed signs that proved that she could not bond with anyone. She was reported to have attacked young children in the neighborhood but the authorities took no action and thus escaped unpunished owing to her age. At the age of 10 years Mary also known as May committed her first murder by solely killing a four years old Martin Brown on May 25, 1968 when Mary was arrested and charged in the court of law, she was acquitted of any wrong doings by the jury.

The next after the murder of Brown, a neighborhood nursery was broken into and writing of Mary claiming responsibility of the murder of Brown was retrieved from the nursery school. Mary had written that, “I murder so that I may come back”, “fuch off, we murder, watch out fanny and fagot”, “we murdered Martin, fuck you bastard” it was only later that Mary admitted to have killed martin. (Murderuk. com (n.d; para 2).

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To show the pleasure in killing Mary repeatedly asked the martin’s auntie “do u miss martin? Do you cry for him?” while asking this Mary was grinning. Also Mary and Norma her have been reported to have gone to the home of the murdered Martin and asked the mother on whereabouts of Martin. When the mother told them that he was dead Mary said “Oh, I know he's dead, I wanted to see him in his coffin,' (, 2009)

The brutal behavior of Mary bell was made evident when just after four months Brian Howe went missing one afternoon. Mary is reported to have helped the family look for him. However, his body was found between two large concrete blocks on a waste ground. The body of Brian was retreated having been thinly covered with grass and weed. The killing was linked with Mary only four months after the first murder.  The three year old boy is believed to have been brutally killed by Mary  in company of Norma  Bell her friend (not related) where they mutilated the body my curving an “M” in his stomach buy use of a razor. In addition, she used a pair of scissors to cut off some parts of the boy’s hair and also she cut off the genitals. However, despite having committed this, Mary joined in finding the little Brian after he was reported missing. (Timmonet 2009: Para 4)

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It is reported that Mary committed the crimes for pleasure and excitement of killing. At this moment, Mary Bell and her accomplice were arrested and charged with manslaughter. However they were found not guilty.

When the second killing was linked to the first, Mary and her friend Norma were arrested in December 17th 1968 where Mary was found acquitted of murder charges but was found guilty of manslaughter after the jury read out the report from the psychiatrists that had concluded that Mary was found with signs of psychopathology and thus she needed treatment. Norma was found not guilty of any offence. This promoted the jury to sentence her to detention at her majesty’s pleasure since they found no appropriate hospital where Mary could have been treated. Later Mary was sent to Red Bank approved school in Newton-le-Willows in Lancashire. It has been reported that when her mother and grandmother listened to the ruling about the sentencing of Mary they wept. Similarly, Mary was displeased with the verdict of the jury. ( 1998: para 7)

It is at this ruling that Justice Cusack described Mary as dangerous girl who required close monitoring especially in presence of other children. In addition to the two murder cases that had been reported, Mary was also accused of attempts to strangle two other young girls. (Para 2). Mary attacked the girls by putting her hand around the neck and squeezing hard. Mary recorded that he asked the girls, “What happens if you choke someone. Do they die?”

Mary became the focus of the press in Britain. Occasionally her mother was contacted by the press in Germany and Britain where she presented several writing believed to have been authored by Mary herself. In 1977 Mary appeared in the headlines again when it was reported that she escaped from the custody of Moore country prison and she was later caught after three days. During interrogation with the police, Mary described how she lost her virginity to a young boy during the three days she had escaped from prison. During her life in custody Mary used to undergo psychotherapy by a consultant children psychiatrist. Mary had tried to prove to the community and the world that she was masculine. She rolled up stockings in to assume the shape of male genitalia and showed the psychiatrist. Mary had also gone further to request for sex change but she was denied. Timonet (2009: Para 8) the psychiatrist had projected that the compulsive and menacing behavior that has grown in Mary will continue in her entire life. This prompted the court to make Mary’s daughter a ward in order to prevent influences by her mother. (timmonet 2009: Para 12).

In 1980 Mary was released after spending 12 years in custody where she was granted anonymity so that she could start off a new life.

At the time Mary was being released from prison she was 23 years old. She went and lived with her mother for a short duration of time where she turned to drugs. The was however subjected to intensive therapies to rehabilitate her from the effects of the drugs. Later on Mary bell got her own daughter and went to live with her in where her daughter and she were granted anonymity to protect them from public attack.

Mary and her daughter were supposed to enjoy court protected anonymity until the daughter attained eighteen years. The daughter stayed with her mother without really knowing her past life until the story was revealed to her in when tabloid Sun press went to her home for inquiries to help in the compilation of the book “cries unheard”. In this situation Mary and her daughter were taken to custody under police protection to ensure their safety. In 2003 Mary Bell well to court seeking to be granted anonymity for the life time where she successfully obtained the courts ruling.  This followed various attacks and protest by the people in the society.

Mary bell has been featured in the book by Sereny “the case of Mary bell. 1992”and “cries unheard” the story of Mary bell which is analyses her experiences encounters and trials. The books also focus on the relatives of Mary bell and her life after prison.

In 1999 Mary bell again went in the headlines when it was reported that he had received payment for her contribution as the subject matter in the book titled “cries unheard”. Tabloid press who were to publish the book encountered resistance from the government in the claim that criminals should not benefit from their actions. Tony Blair the British prime minister sought the legal explanations of the case involving the publication of the book and payments made to Mary Bell.  The attorney general ruled in favor of Mary allowing her to keep the money obtained from Sereny. (1998: Para 6)

Mary bell is purported to have had three assumed identities after her release in 1980. In recent occurrences, Mary bell and her daughter were chased away from their home when her neighbors discovered her was the famous serial killer. They were able to escape the angry mob by covering their faces with blankets to conceal their identity to prevent further identity. Anonymous (n.d; Para 20). Also it has been reported that Mary Bell have encountered several incidences of confrontation with the public after her identity got revealed. In 1993 she was physically attacked in a pub in.

Mary’s daughter has been subjected to enormous media attention after she was made aware of her mothers past. The daughter has come into terms with the horror of the story that surrounds her mother. She had managed to get lid of the effects of the attention and hatred that accompanies the crimes committed by her mother that she has come to be implicated in. (Timmonet 2009 : Para 13).


Although the situation of Mary bell is described as a condition that will always be demonstrated in her life time, her life in prison indicates a complete change from such perception. Mary Bell has not had any other criminal cases after prison. Thus as far as it may be regarded as an unusual case, is can be reversed. It can be concluded that the environment contributed a lot in shaping of the life of Mary Bell. At first, she was denied the motherly love she so much required. Right from birth, she encountered harsh conditions thus violence to her was the only thing she knew.

The case of Mary Bell is just one of the extreme cases that was reported and documented. A lot other cases may not have been documented in other parts of the world such that children have been adversely affected by those conditions to become world class criminals. The reaction towards harsh environmental conditions can sometimes be detrimental even when undertaken by children although they may be unaware of the consequences of their actions. 



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