Mary Bell Essay, Research Paper
Are you looking for your Brian?” asked Mary Bell. Brian s sister, Pat, was worried about the missing toddler, who should have been home by now. A small, three-year-old boy with fair hair, Brian Howe usually played close to home. Mary and her best friend, Norma, eagerly offered to help search for him. They led Pat through the neighborhood, looking here and there, all the while knowing exactly where Brian was.
Mary Bell at 10
They crossed the railroad tracks to the industrial area, where the kids of Scotswood often played among construction materials, old cars, and dangerous wreckage. Pat was worried — only a few weeks ago little Martin Brown was found dead inside of a condemned house. Mary pointed to some large concrete blocks. “He might be playing behind the blocks, or between them,” she said.
“Oh no, he never goes there,” insisted Norma. In fact, Brian lay dead between the blocks. Mary wanted Pat to discover her dead brother, Norma later said, “because she wanted Pat Howe to have a shock.” But Pat decided to leave. The Newcastle Police would find his body at 11:10 later that night.
Brian was found covered with grass and purple weeds. He had been strangled. Nearby, a pair of broken scissors lay in the grass. There were puncture marks on his thighs, and his genitals had been partially skinned. Clumps of his hair were cut away. The wounds were bizarre: “There was a terrible playfulness about it, a terrible gentleness if you like, and somehow the playfulness of it made it more, rather than less, terrifying,” said Inspector James Dobson. Brian s belly had been signed “M” with a razor blade. This cut would not be apparent until days later. It appeared that someone had imprinted an “N”, and that a fourth mark was added (by a different hand?) to change the “N” into a “M”.
In this summer of 1968, Scotswood, an economically depressed community 275 miles north of London, was in a state of panic. Police flooded the community, interviewing kids between the ages of three and fifteen. The adults wondered if Martin Brown s “accident” was also murder. “We were real nervous,” said Martin s aunt, “but the kids themselves felt it too.”
Among the children who stood out as suspicious to the investigators were eleven year old Mary Bell and thirteen year old Norma Bell (no relation). Mary was evasive and acted strange. Norma was excited by the murder, remembers one authority. “She was continually smiling as if it was a huge joke.”
As the investigation narrowed on Mary, she suddenly “remembered” seeing an eight year old boy with Brian on the day he died. The boy hit Brian for no reason, she claimed. She had also seen the same boy playing with broken scissors. But that boy had been at the airport on the afternoon Brian died. By revealing that she knew about the scissors, which was confidential evidence, Mary implicated herself. She described them exactly: “like silver coloured and something wrong with the scissors, like one leg was either broken or bent.” It was becoming clear that either Mary, Norma, or both, had seen Brian die. And one of them was probably the killer.
Brian Howe was buried on August 7th. Detective Dobson was there: “Mary Bell was standing in front of the Howe s house when the coffin was brought out. I was, of course, watching her. And it was when I saw her there that I knew I did not dare risk another day. She stood there, laughing. Laughing and rubbing her hands.