Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mary Bell

Closing In

"All that mattered was to lie well."

-- Mary Bell (as an adult)

Before Brian's funeral, Dobson questioned Norma again. She now claimed that Mary told her she killed Brian, and brought her to see his body at the blocks. Mary told Norma "I squeezed his neck and pushed up his lungs that's how you kill them. Keep your nose dry and don't tell anybody." When she saw Brian, Norma knew he was dead. "His lips were purple. Mary ran her fingers along his lips. She said she had enjoyed it." That night, Norma was taken to the police station to give an official statement.

Norma's story shocked the police, who wasted no time in picking up Mary Bell at 12:15 that night. Her intense-blue eyes were bleary, but she kept her wits. "She appeared to see herself in a sort of cliché scenario of a cops-and-robbers film: nothing surprised her and she admitted nothing," Dobson told Gitta Sereny, who has written extensively on the case.

"I have reason to believe that when you were near the blocks with Norma," said Dobson. "A man shouted at some children who were nearby and you both ran away from where Brian was lying in the grass. This man will probably know you."

"He would have to have good eyesight," she responded.

"Why would he need good eyesight?" Dobson said, ready to catch her in a lie.

"Because he was... " Mary said, after a moment, "clever to see me when I wasn't there." She stood up. "I am going home... This is being brainwashed." But Dobson wasn't about to let her go. At one point Mary asked, "Is this place bugged?"

In the end she refused to budge. "I am making no statements. I have made lots of statements. It's always me you come for. Norma's a liar, she always tries to get me into trouble." At 3:30am Mary was permitted to leave. Dobson second-guessing himself. But after seeing Mary's behavior at Brian's funeral, and gathering additional testimony from Norma, he brought Mary back into the station.

"She was very apprehensive," said Dobson. "She gave me the impression that she knew the time of reckoning had come." Mary now admitted to being present when Brian died, but her "confession" took a bizarre turn.

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