Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mary Bell

Mary's Notebook

That same morning, Mary Bell drew a picture in her notebook of a child in the same pose as that in which Martin Brown had been found, with a bottle near him with the word "TABLET.." There was a man walking toward the child. It read, "On saturday I was in the house, and my mam sent Me to ask Norma if she Would come up the top with me? we went up and we came down at Magrets Road and there were crowds of people beside an old house. I asked what was the matter. there had been a boy who Just lay down and Died." Mary's notebook entry did not strike the teacher as odd, although she was the only student who wrote on Martin's death.

Notebook entry
Notebook entry

On Friday of the same week, the newly-installed alarm sounded off at Nursery. Mary Bell and Norma Bell were caught red-handed, but denied breaking in before. Released to the custody of their parents, a date was set for them to appear at Juvenile Court.

A week later, Mary attacked Norma near the Nursery sandpit. A boy saw Mary scratch her friend and kick her in the eye, but only laughed when he heard Mary scream, "I am a murderer!" She pointed in the direction of house where Martin Brown was found. "That house over there, that's where I killed... " Since Mary was well known as a show-off, he didn't take her ominous bragging seriously.

Toward the end of July, before Brian Howe's murder, Mary visited the Howe household, and declared "I know something about Norma that will get her put away straight away." She told them her secret: "Norma put her hands on a boy's throat. It was Martin Brown -- she pressed and he just dropped." To make her point, she grabbed her own throat in a choking gesture, then left. It would be a few days later that Mary would strangle the Howe's own child. This insatiable need to "show and tell" her deadly crimes would be acted out upon another innocent babe.

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