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Disclaimer: This content is to make you aware of the type of serial killers in society and the importance of giving attention to your children. 

Mary Bell serial killer

There are many serial killers in the world and they are forced to be one, due to various reasons like worst childhood, fear of rejection, or would have been experienced torture or abuse. But can you believe if I say there was an 11-year-old serial killer, still alive and living with a different identity in the United Kingdom? It is none other than Mary Bell serial killer who was found guilty of killing two young boys when she was just 11 years old.  Who is Mary Bell? And what made her do so? Continue reading to know her story. 

The two murders

On 25th May 1968, a four-year-old boy, Martin Brown was found dead in an upstairs bedroom of an empty building in Scotswood, England.  The young boy’s body was found by the children who were playing in that area. The police found no signs of violence but an empty bottle of painkillers on the floor. There were no proof and any other information, so they thought that Brown would have swallowed the pills and his death was an accident. 

On July 31st, a three-year-old boy called Brian Howe was murdered. He was strangled and his body was mutilated with scissors. During investigations, the police found that killer might have been a child due to the lack of force used. They interviewed twelve hundred children, and among them were two girls Norma Joyce Bell and Mary Flora Bell who had no relation to each other. They gave answers which were suspicious and they were questioned several times and so there were changes in their stories. 

Both of them accused each other of squeezing Howe’s throat and both were arrested on 5th August 1968. When charged, Mary Bell agreed that it was done all by her. 

Who is Mary Bell? 

Mary Bell

Mary Bell was born on May 26th, 1957.  She was born to a 16-year-old prostitute called Betty who later married Billy Bell, an armed robber, and a criminal.  When Mary was born her mother told the doctors to take her away from her.  Mary was raised in the area of Scotswood which had a reputation for theft and attacking of other children. Mary was abused physically and mentally. 

Betty was trying to give Mary away to a woman,  but Betty’s sister recovered her. Mary once fell from a window and on another occasion, she has accidentally overdosed on sleeping pills. Later, mother began to prostitute her out when she was just four years old and he life had already been at a loss when she saw her five-year-old friend run over and got killed by a bus. 

Mary’s father used to get occasionally in trouble with the law, and Betty frequently leaves her daughter with the relatives. The house was filled with filthy and furnished sparsely and by the time Mary became a chronic liar and hurt people. 

Mary Bell serial killer

Mary Bell was acting strangely for weeks before her first murder. On May 11th, 1968, she had been playing with a three-year-old boy and he got badly injured after falling from the top of an air-raid shelter. It was thought to be an accident. 

On the following day, three mothers informed the police that Mary tried to choke their young daughters. Following their complaint, the police did a brief interview and they did a lecture but no charges were filed. 

Her first murder

Mary Bell serial killer first murder

On May 25th, it was the day before she turned 11. She strangled the four-year-old boy Martin Brown to death. She left the place and came back with her friend Norma Bell. The police found only a little blood and saliva on the face of the victim and thought that he might have been swallowed the pills. But the boy’s family suspected Mary. Days after Martin’s death, she showed up at their doorstep and asked to see him. His mother explained to her that Martin was dead, but Mary said that she knew it already and wanted to see his body in the coffin. This made Martin’s mother slam the door in her face. 

Mary and her friend Norma broke into the nursery school and damaged it with notes. They wrote that they are responsible for the death of martin Brown and promised to kill again. The police thought that it might be a prank. After this incident, they installed an alarm system. Mary told her friends that she had killed Martin Brown but this was not taken seriously as she used to lie. 

Her second murder

On July 31st,  Mary Bell and her friend Norma killed 3-year old Brian Howe by strangling. She mutilated the body with Scissors, penis butchered and thighs scratched. Finally, she hid the body in the concrete blocks.  Brian’s sister went to look for him,  and these two girls are offered her help to search.  They went around the neighborhood, and Mary pointed out concrete blocks where his body was hidden. 

The neighborhood was panicked after finding the body of Brian.  Police interviewed the local children to find out the suspect.  After the report was received, they have found new marks on the chest and identified that they have used a razor blade to scratch the letter “M”.  And finally they found the killer might be a child.  During the investigations,  Mary and Norma were giving different answers and acted strangely.  The police found out that she had been seen with Brian on the day of his death. 


At the burial time,  Mary was found laughing and rubbing her hands together when she saw his coffin.  In the second interview,  she made up a story saying that she has seen an eight-year-old boy hitting Brian and he had been carrying a pair of broken scissors. This is where she went wrong. Because the mutilation of the body with scissors was not reported to the press or the public and it was only known to the investigators and killer.

After further investigation, Norma cooperated with the police and Mary said that she was presented at the scene and placed the blame on Norma for killing him.  Both of them were charged.

The trial of Mary Bell serial killer

They found that the reason for committing murders Mary is because of the pleasure and excitement of killing,  and she was referred to as an evil born.  The court psychiatrists convinced the jury saying that she has symptoms of Psychopathy and cannot be held fully responsible for the murders. Norma was regarded as an unwilling accomplice falling under the bad influence, so she was freed.  Mary was sentenced to be imprisoned until the powers feel like it was appropriate to free her. 

She was released in 1980 on license where she was technically still serving her sentence but she can still live in the community under strict probation.  She was given a new identity to live a new life.  But still, she was forced to escape from newspapers, tabloids, and the public.  Today she is living under protective custody at a secret address with her daughter protected by the British government. 

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