Mary Bell Serial Killer

Have you heard of Mary Bell, one of the youngest serial killers in the United Kingdom?

At age 11, she and a friend strangled and mutilated two preschool boys.

Her trial, one of the most sensational of the twentieth century, showed a defiant child who killed ‘solely for the pleasure and excitement.’ 

Here's everything you need to know about female serial killer Mary Bell.

Mary Bell: A Murderous Child

mary bell youngest serial killer

Mary was born to teen-aged prostitute Betty McCrickett in 1957. Betty later married Billy Bell, although their home life continued to be unstable. They lived in Scotswood, an economically depressed high-crime area of Newcastle.

Mary claimed that her mother tried to kill her on several occasions, and she testified that she was subjected to frequent sexual abuse. By the time of the killings, she was already known at school as an attention seeker.

The first of the Mary Bell murders occurred on May 25, 1968, the day before her 11th birthday. Four-year-old Martin Brown’s body was found in a vacant house in Scotswood.

Although the she strangled the boy, her grip was not strong enough to leave ligature marks, leading to uncertainty about the cause of death. Two days later, Mary and 13-year-old Norma Bell (no relation), broke into and vandalized a nursery.

They left notes claiming responsibility for the murder, although police initially dismissed the confession as a prank. On July 31, 1968, she killed again.

mary Bell  quote

Mary and Norma strangled three-year-old Brian Howe, leaving his body on wasteland in the Scotswood area. Before leaving the crime scene, she carved the letter “M” into the boy’s stomach with scissors.

She also cut off part of his hair, scratched his legs, and mutilated his penis. The medical examiner suspected the criminal might be a child because relatively little force was used.

Eventually they linked Brown’s murder with Howe’s, and police questioned children throughout the area, looking for anyone with clues to Howe’s murder—or anyone who couldn’t substantiate their whereabouts.

The Youngest Serial Killer Caught

child murderer mary bell

The break in the case came when Mary and Norma gave inconsistent answers. Detectives brought in both girls for further questioning. Mary tried to blame the killings on an older boy, but Flora, who was more timid, broke down and accused Mary.

The case went to trial in December, 1968. Norma testified that she begged Mary to stop hurting Howe. She was acquitted of her role in the killings. On the other hand, Mary, at the time the youngest serial killer in British history, was convicted of manslaughter instead of murder.

The jury concluded she had diminished responsibility based on court-appointed psychiatrists’ testimony that she exhibited “classic symptoms of psychopathy.”

Yet she still “posed a very grave danger to other children,” Justice Cusack ruled, and he sentenced her to be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Teen-Aged Imprisonment

With no fixed termination date, detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure was effectively a lifetime sentence—unless the government chose to release her. She was imprisoned in the secure children’s unit at the Red Bank Community Home. In 1970, she falsely accused a guard of sexually assaulting her.

The guard was acquitted in court. When she reached adulthood, she was transferred to the Moor Court open prison. She and another prisoner escaped briefly in 1977.

Although they were apprehended three days later, in the interim they met and spent the night with two boys. She made headlines nor only for her escape for but the account of losing her virginity that night.

Anonymous Life

girl who murdered children

She was released from prison in 1980, at age 23, after serving 12 years of her sentence. The Home Office granted her a new name and protected her identity so she could live in anonymity, without harassment.

The press has always strived to find her, however. She has had three identities and has moved at least five times. The anonymity order also covered her daughter, who was born in 1984. The daughter did not know of her mother’s murderous past, at least initially.

The protection was supposed to extend to her daughter only until her eighteenth birthday. In 2003, in a much-publicized case, the High Court granted both Mary and her child the right to live in anonymity for the rest of their lives.

When Bell became a grandmother, the High Court amended the order to apply also to the grandchild, known only as ‘Z.’ As a result, an order protecting the identity of a child is sometimes called a Mary Bell order.

The decision outraged the victims’ families. “It’s all about her and how she has to be protected,” said June Richardson, Martin Brown’s mother. “As victims, we are not given the same rights as killers.”

One time that the anonymity was broken was in 1998, when she was paid to cooperate with author Gitty Sereny’s book about the Mary Bell murders.

Brown’s sister Sharon expressed outrage, saying she hoped the government would set limits on Mary’s ability to profit from book or movie deals. But Sereny justified it by saying Mary had not demanded money. She thought Mary would have cooperated even without payment.

For someone like Mary who always sought attention, that might be true.

Images via azquotes, crime and investigation & bizarrepedia

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Ted jones

The government protecting bad people,does not surprise me

Hay bug

I feel bad for the girl, and i do blame the mother. But, at some point you have to see that, she knew better….unfortunately there are tons and tons of children, teens, young adults…
Being abused in every way possible…but its THEIR choice to take a better path and lead a normal happy life, and move on from their awful past, OR just start killing pe9ple


The fact that it was a child who had to go through with this is sad. Don’t get me wrong, Mary should had been punished from the beginning but it’s so sad that someone so small could have done something terrible. I wonder how she saw the world. “Why didn’t she kill the 2 little boys?” I asked myself as I read this article. “Maybe she thought all households were like hers, and wanted to make sure that the boys didn’t have to go through with it.” What type of mother would do that to her child? If you didn’t want the child, why did you have it? She could have gave it away. But she choose not to. So? Did she want her daughter or not? You don’t grow up hating someone, you make someone hate you.


Mary Bell’s mother let her down big time. Mary Bell was given the opposite of love and care from the day she was born. Her mother’s actions made her own daughter a killer. There was three victims here, the killer and her two victims. It’s so sad.


Poor Mary Bell was mentally fucked up right from the start due to having a skanky, classless, brainless whore as a “mother” who did not raise or train her properly and pimped her out, but

Mary should still be in prison for life!

Mary Bell IS a psychopath who will NEVER feel any remorse for her crimes to children and will probably end up killing again and again and again, if she hasn’t already!

She should NOT be alowed anonymity or ANY rights, where were her VICTIMS rights?

Shows just how LAX and WEAK them liberal Brit laws really are!

Doesn’t surprise me one bit, seeing how nearly all Brit “men” ARE gay AF sissies and their “women” always seem like stuck up, cold, dead, boring hags and they just flippantly send their kids off to be raised by some conformist factory “school” where they keep boys and girls totally isolated from one another, so it’s no wonder why they’re all gay/lesbo and have zero social skills.

England IS a fucked up, backwoods thinking toilet nation run by lib retards who force the public to pay for the lavish lifestyles of some inbred family, that allegedly has NO power and NO authority, and IS filled with sexual deviants, drunks, pill poppers, rapists, murderers and pure selfish psychopaths!


For her to have all this protection and anonymity is ridiculous, she’s a murderer! I dont care if she did it when she was a child, what about the children who suffered unimaginable pain and terror because of her?!? She gets to go on and have children and grandchildren, what about those poor little boys who will never get that chance to see or love their own kids and grandkids. Makes me sick!


I can’t believe what she did! But I’d like to blame this mostly on he mother, I mean what kind of animal would prostitute a 4 YEAR OLD!? I mean that’s just messed up. But I guess life ain’t fair.

Rhonda Lynch

Did you ever think of how this little girl saw the world? Maybe, just maybe, she thought these children were just like her… She had low self esteem… Was abused, unwanted, felt unworthy and disgusting and unloved. No attachment to humanity… So how could she show compassion to someone if she never got any? Maybe she thought she was saving them from getting older thinking all kids were being raised like her… And spying to them was actually how she perceived herself. I’m not justifying what she did… It’s truly tragic on both sides, but this little girl was damned from birth. Her mother should’ve been held accountable as well for every year she was… Hopefully she was rehabilitated to some degree and those families were able to find some degree of peace. Sad, truly sad.

Kristina Miller

“an eye for Anet”thats great when all said and done, but what about the,‘wrongfully ’,accuses. ? As much as, ’we’, dislike to admit, it does happen. Is that when, ‘oops’, is in demand? Or, the, ‘wrongfully ’ accused family, gets the justice in, ’eye for an eye’, ? Just a thought further.,

Compassionate person

If it is an eye for an eye whom do we prosecute for Mary Bell who was subjected to horrific treatment? She knew nothing else but how to hurt someone. So sad. I hope she was able to love her daughter and granddaughter and show them compassion. Which is what we all should do!! I’m sorry for the Family’s that lost someone. I hope they can find forgiveness not so much for Mary but for the family’s involved sake.


The mother should’ve had to do some time too. How can someone prostitute a 4 year old ? It’s ironic that the boys who she murdered were the same age as her when she was sexually abused. It’s sad for everyone.


She killed 2 people….12 years in prison or not she shouldn’t be able to live a some what normal life when she had no problem taking the little boys.

Crystal Rivers

I think we should go back to the old way of hanging a murderer if I do say so. An eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth.

Maria A

Rosemary, so you recommend stabbing of an 11 year old? Have you ever heard of people beeing rehabilitated? She hasn’t done anything severly wrong since she was a child… I would rather blame her mother.

Betsy Morris

Never could I imagine it be therapeutic for a victim’s family to turn and murder the assailant. I also would find it disturbing that the legal system would employ an executioner, akin to the grim reaper type who chopped accused criminals heads off. Good grief, are we then not all animals?


It is absolutely true. Victims & their families have no rites. It is all about protecting the killer. Thank God USA banned all killers the rite to profit from their killings. They can no longer receive monetary value. However do they really need to since the media will immortalize their names?; charles Manson Jeffrey dahmer Ted Bundy etc. How was victims family could not & cannot benefit. All Should be executed in same manner of their killings; they stab they should be stabbed etc. Better yet the victims family should be allowed to do the execution & there should be NO APPEALS for capital murder offenses. An eye for an eye don’t ya think?

Denver Thurman

This is interesting information.

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