Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mary Bell

Mary's Statement

"I couldn't kill a bird by the neck or throat or anything, it's horrible that.

 -- Mary Bell

The following is Mary Bell's official statement.

I, Mary Flora Bell wish to make a statement. I want someone to write down what I have to say. I have been told that I need not say anything unless I wish to do so, but that whatever I say may be given in evidence.

Signed, Mary F. Bell

Brian was in his front street and me and Norma were walking along towards him. We walked past him and Norma says, 'Are you coming to the shop Brian?' and I says, ' Norma, you've got no money, how can you go to the shop? Where are you getting it from?' She says, 'Nebby' (Keep your nose clean). Little Brian followed and Norma says, 'Walk up in front.' I wanted Brian to go home, but Norma kept coughing so Brian wouldn't hear us.

We went down Crosshill Road with Brian still in front of us. There was this coloured boy and Norma tried to start a fight with him. She said, 'Darkie, whitewash, it's time you got washed.' The big brother came out and hit her. She shouted, 'Howay, put your dukes up.' The lad walked away and looked at her as though she was daft.

We went beside Dixon's shop and climbed over the railings, I mean, through a hole and over the railway. Then I said, 'Norma, where are you going?' and Norma said, 'Do you know that little pool where the tadpoles are?' When we got there, there was a big, long tank with a big, round hole with little holes round it. Norma says to Brian, 'Are you coming in here because there's a lady coming on the Number 82 and she's got boxes of sweets and that.'

We all got inside, then Brian started to cry and Norma asked him if he had a sore throat. She started to squeeze his throat and he started to cry. She said, 'This isn't where the lady comes, it's over there, by them big blocks.' We went over to the blocks and she says, 'Ar--you'll have to lie down' and he lay down beside the blocks where he was found. Norma says, 'Put your neck up' and he did. Then she got hold of his neck and said 'Put it down.' She started to feel up and down his neck. She squeezed it hard, you could tell it was hard because her finger tips were going white. Brian was struggling, and I was pulling her shoulders but she went mad. I was pulling her chin up but she screamed at me.

By this time she had banged Brian's head on some wood or corner of wood and Brian was lying senseless. His face was all white and bluey, and his eyes were open. His lips were purplish and had all like slaver on, it turned into something like fluff. Norma covered him up and I said, 'Norma, I've got nothing to do with this, I should tell on you, but I'll not.' Little Lassie was there and it was crying and she said, 'Don't you start or I'll do the same to you.' It still cried and she went to get hold of its throat but it growled at her. She said, 'Now now, don't be hasty.'

We went home and I took little Lassie home an all. Norma was acting kind of funny and making twitchy faces and spreading her fingers out. She said, 'This is the first but it'll not be the last.' I was frightened then. I carried Lassie and put her down over the railway and we went up Crosswood Road way. Norma went into the house and she got a pair of scissors and she put them down her pants. She says, 'Go and get a pen.' I said 'No, what for.' She says, 'To write a note on his stomach,' and I wouldn't get the pen. She had a Gillette razor blade. It had Gillette on. We went back to the blocks and Norma cut his hair. She tried to cut his leg and his ear with the blade. She tried to show me it was sharp, she took the top of her dress where it was raggie and cut it, it made a slit. A man came down the railway bank with a little girl with long blonde hair, he had a red checked shirt on and blue denim jeans. I walked away. She hid the razor blade under a big, square concrete block. She left the scissors beside him. She got out before me over the grass on to Scotswood Road. I couldn't run on the grass cos I just had my black slippers on. When we got along a bit she says, 'May, you shouldn't have done that cos you'll get into trouble' and I hadn't done nothing I haven't got the guts. I couldn't kill a bird by the neck or throat or anything, it's horrible that. We went up the steps and went home, I was nearly crying. I said, if Pat finds out she'll kill you, never mind killing Brian cos Pat's more like a tomboy. She's always climbing in the old buildings and that.

Later on I was helping to look for Brian and I was trying to let on to Pat that I knew where he was on the blocks, but Norma said, 'He'll not be over there, he never goes there,' and she convinced Pat he wasn't there. I got shouted in about half past seven and I stayed in. I got woke up about half past eleven and we stood at the door as Brian had been found: The other day Norma wanted to get put in a home. She says will you run away with us and I said no. She says if you get put in a home and you feed the little ones and murder them then run away again.

I have read the above statement and I have been told that I can correct, alter or add anything I wish, this statement is true. I have made it of my own free will.

Mary Flora Bell (signed at 6:55 pm)

Mary's statement had some partial truths but for the most part was a transparent attempt to blame Norma. Dobson formally charged Mary Bell with the murder of Brian Howe. "That's all right with me," she replied. He then arrested Norma Bell, who in anger to the charge, declared, "I never. I'll pay you back for this."

The girls were incarcerated at the Newcastle West End police station. Their upcoming trial would attract the attention of a fascinated, yet horrified nation.

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