Mary Bell: 11-Year-Old Serial Killer

Antonia is a writer who is fascinated by mysteries and psychology. She writes many articles about criminal cases.

Mary Bell at the time of the murders, in 1968.

Police Evidence File

Acting Strange

It was the summer of 1968 in Scotswood, a community north of London in England. Martin Brown's lifeless body was discovered lying on the floor inside a boarded-up, condemned house, with blood and saliva trickling down his cheek. With no obvious signs of violence, police believed the four-year-old's death to be accidental at first.

A few weeks later, three-year-old Brian Howe was found strangled in an industrial area where the local children were known to play. He was found with various strange wounds, including puncture marks on his thigh, his genitals partially mutilated, and clumps of his hair cut off.

In addition, a few days later another mark would become evident on his belly, where it looked like someone had tried to scratch the letter "M" into his skin with a razor blade. A pair of broken scissors lay nearby.

The community was in a state of panic, and the police were looking for an answer. They started questioning all the children in the area. Two children in particular seemed to be acting very strange; Norma Bell, age 13, seemed excited by the murder, and the detective noted that throughout questioning she kept smiling, as though it were a huge joke.

Eleven-year-old Mary Bell also reacted oddly, and was being very evasive. (Despite the common last name, Mary and Norma were not related.)

As their investigation continued, Mary continued to act strangely. At one point, she claimed she had seen another eight-year-old boy with Brian the day he was murdered. She claimed she had seen the eight-year-old hit Brian, and that at one point she saw him playing with a pair of scissors.

But the boy she pointed the finger at had been at the airport the afternoon of Brian's murder, and by mentioning the pair of scissors, Mary had implicated herself. The pair of scissors had been confidential evidence; if Mary knew about them, then she had to know something about the murder.

To police, it was becoming clear that one or both girls were involved in the murder. The day that Brian Howe was buried, Mary was observed by a detective standing outside of the Howe's house. The detective was horrified to see Mary, watching while the coffin came out, laughing and rubbing her hands together.

He decided something needed to be done immediately, before another child died, and so he questioned Mary's friend, Norma Bell, again before Brian's funeral. This time, what Norma told the police shocked them.

Mary's victims: Martin Brown, age 4 (left), Brian Howe, age 3 (right)

What Happened and Why?

Though both of their stories would change over time, the story that Norma told police the day of Brian's funeral was enough for the police to pick up Mary immediately.

According to Norma, Mary had told her that she killed Brian, and she had brought her to the boarded-up house afterwards to show her his body. Mary described to Norma how she had squeezed his neck and strangled him, she said she had enjoyed it.

When the police questioned Mary, she was still evasive, and admitted to nothing. She refused to make a statement, and accused Norma of lying and trying to get her into trouble.

Mary was let go at first, but after additional information provided by Norma, she was brought back into the station, and finally admitted to being there when Brian was killed, but she pushed all the blame onto Norma for the murder. Nonetheless, both girls were arrested and charged for the murder.

Leading up to, and during the trial, much new evidence and information was found. Just two days after Martin Brown was found dead, a nursery school in the area was broken into and vandalized. School and cleaning supplies were strewn about the room, and four disturbing notes were left behind.

The childishly scribbled notes were filled with profanity, but most unsettling were the notes about murder, including one that started "We did murder Martin Brown..." Another one said: "I murder so that I may come back". At the time, the police still assumed Martin's death was an accident, and wrote the notes off as a sick joke. Mary would later admit to writing them for "a giggle".

It also came out that Mary had been overheard by other children screaming "I am a murderer!" and pointing to the house where Brian was found, saying "that's where I killed". Mary was known to tell tall tales, and her claims weren't taken seriously.

During her incarceration while awaiting trial, Mary made many strange comments to the women working as guards, including "I like hurting little things that can't fight back". Mary's lack of emotions, unresponsiveness, and strange behaviour led psychiatrists to label her as psychopathic.

One of the notes left behind by Mary and Norma in the vandalized nursery

Police Evidence Files

It comes down to "Why?" and it is a hard question. Mary acted alone in killing Martin Brown, and though both girls pinned the blame on each other for Brian Howe's death, Norma's story that Mary was the culprit seems more believable.

Yet Norma returned with Mary to the crime scene, and helped to mark and mutilate Brian's body after death with a pair of scissors and a razor blade. Were Mary's actions a result of a little girl who was born psychopathic and emotionless? Or were her psychopathic actions a result of deep trauma?

Mary was described as very manipulative and intelligent. She was known to be violent, and to lie often. This violent streak began when she was still a toddler, family said—she would lash out at them and hit them. In kindergarten, she had wrapped her hands around a classmate's throat and squeezed.

It's unthinkable to imagine a little girl with such violent rage. When family members started to come forward about what Mary had endured in her young life, it started to make a little more sense as to how a young girl could turn into a violent and emotionless psychopath.

When Mary was born, her mother Betty's response was "Get that thing away from me!" She was eager to drop Mary off with relatives whenever possible, and even once tried to give her to a woman who had been denied an adoption.

Betty's sister, who had followed Betty, managed to get Mary back from the woman. Family members say that Mary, at only two years old, started to become cold, detached, and withdrawn.

Other stories from family members came to light; Mary had watched her five-year-old friend get hit and killed by a bus. Mary's mother was a prostitute. Mary was frequently given intentional drug overdoses by her mother. It is believed that Betty suffered from Munchausen By Proxy, or MSbP, where a caregiver intentionally harms a dependent, in order to get attention from themselves.

Betty loved the attention, and even lied to family members at one point that Mary had been run over by a truck and died. Most tragic of all, Mary alleges that her mother prostituted her out, using her as a sex prop and allowing her to be sexually abused by Betty's clients.

While family members have not corroborated this particular allegation, if it is true, especially taking the other information into account, it could definitely help explain Mary's strange behaviour, and why she was so devoid of emotion.

A murderous child released: Mary Bell as an adult.

Trial, Verdict, Sentencing and Aftermath

Mary Bell and Norma Bell were both charged with two counts of manslaughter. Both girls testified during the trial, implicating each other in the crimes. It was noted, however, that the girls still seemed to have a strange bond between them.

Court appointed psychologists testified that Mary displayed classic symptoms of psychopathy, and therefore was not completely coherent, nor responsible for her actions.

On December 17th, 1968, the girls were given their verdicts. Norma was acquitted of all charges against her. Mary was convicted of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility, based on the psychological assessment presented at trial. She was to be "detained at her majesty's pleasure", which is basically an indefinite sentence of imprisonment.

Nearly nine years later, in 1977, Mary would briefly escape from the adult prison she had just been transferred to, but was quickly caught. Despite that, she was released from prison after serving just 12 years, in 1980. She was 23 years old. She was granted anonymity to start a new life, under a new name.

Mary gave birth a daughter in 1984. There was great concern about whether or not Mary should be allowed to keep her child; after all, she had murdered two children. In the end, Mary was allowed to keep and raise her daughter. At one point, after the book Cries Unheard was published (see more below), and it was discovered that Mary Bell had been paid for telling her side of the story, there was a media uproar.

Local law officials, who had been made aware of Mary's whereabouts, revealed Mary's locale and identity, and there was a large outcry from the local populace. Her daughter had not been aware of her mother's past. Mary went to court, and was granted lifelong anonymity for both her and her daughter.

More About Mary Bell and Her Crimes

There are two books that have been written by Gitta Sereny, specifically about Mary Bell:

The Case of Mary Bell (1972): no longer in print.

Cries Unheard: Why Children Kill, The Case of Mary Bell (late 1990s): possibly still in print.

There is a book about murderous children that profiles Mary Bell:

Children Who Kill: Profiles of Pre-teen and Teenager Killers by Carol Ann Davis


Maxim on September 15, 2019:

As a child she go through a lot of hardship she was alone her own mother used her for prostitution the way she killed poor boy it shows her inner struggle with herself at this younger age child doesn’t know what is wrong what is correct Child doesn’t know the social ethics she was left alone without guidance her environment was filled with wrong kind of people without affection and guidance when a is targeted for sexual assault they lost connection from outside world lack any of emotion was the proof of that. I am sad of little boys but I am not in favour of giving her death sentence

DRDJ on August 26, 2019:

Dear Seriously,

You are being hypocritical.

You go around saying that she shouldn't kill people yet you are saying that the British court should have killed her. I understand what your saying but killing her would be breaking the 5th commandment and would have not made the situation any better. Look at her now she is happy and has a daughter. NOT TRYING TO SEND HATE


Seriously? on July 30, 2019:

Why can’t the British court just put them on death sentence? I mean, this woman Mary killed a boy, and grabbed his neck and also used knives, so can we just send them in exile or any 1st degree punishment? Ugh... But still, thank you Madam/Sir Antonia who wrote this. This greatly helped me write my essay about murder and punishment for child and adult murderers.

Paul on April 16, 2019:

Scotswood north of London? 280 miles north! It's in the west end of Newcastle.

Cj on March 07, 2019:

Anyone saying they shouldnt have been locked away is an absolute idiot! They destroyed the lives of not only 2 innocent baby boy's but also the hearts of the victims parents, aunties, uncles, grand parents, siblings, friends and so much more, how could anyone think that just because their life was crap means they could steal anothers, i dont agree that they should be able to have a clean slate, i wouldnt want them in the same country, state, town, street or school as my kids, my friends and their kids, family and their kids, myself, anyone elderly, anyone at all! They ruined lives, why should they get another chance when those poor boys dont

Lisa Jane from Washington on February 26, 2019:

Your article caught my attention. It is sad about the two boys who were murdered. Norma should have gotten a sentence and Mary should have gotten a longer sentence. I hope that she treated her daughter better.

Unkno on February 20, 2019:

It’s the mother of Mary Bell that should burn she create the monster

Screw the bells on February 11, 2019:

All you saying “so tragic” are pathetic humans. They deserve life in prison at the least. They MURDERED two young boys.

Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on February 05, 2019:

Such a tragic story. I have to agree with Trish. After growing up with no love and being abused who knows what it did to Mary's brain. Surely no child is born a murderer. Small children should be under their mothers eye and play within their own age group.

PeterMitchell15 on February 04, 2019:

It makes truly sick to my stomach, such an injustice, these sicko kids, and I'm referring largely to the Bulger case too, get off so lightly, Bell's friend being acquited, etc, and they get out and get to live the rest of their lives. These evil animals should of never been spawned, and drowned. Think of those poor innocent kids, and what these evil little monsters did to them. And think of the poor parents, of these victims, They've forfeited their right to live, these animals, and I truly hope, there's a hell, exclusively reserved for their kind.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on December 11, 2018:

A disturbing and troubling story. Mary Bell deserved her punishment, but it says much about society when we allow such traumatic situations to breed these children. Great article.

Much respect,


Trish528 on February 09, 2018:

A tragic life for this child, suffering abuse from the moment she was born. Denied love and comfort, rejected, unwanted, abused, drugged and poisoned, neglected, and willfully handed over for repeated sexual assault by her own mother. No one can imagine what dark, dark place a childs mind must go to deal with any of that. The answer as to 'why' she committed these murders is so simple and apparent in her written note, 'I murder SO I may come back'. It seems that in order to go on and live with herself, she had no choice but to kill the demons and monsterous thoughts that lived inside her head. Her monsters were real. Much like the way 'cutting' is a way for deeply troubled teens to release their pain, Marys release was murder. My heart goes out to the victims, but just as much to Mary. I hope she has found some peace x

Carol on December 20, 2017:

I don't agree that children are unable to understand what killing someone means. When I was about 9/10 and my brother would be 10/11, we decided we were going to kill our father because of his drunken violent behaviour. We had it all planned my brother was small so he would jump on his back trying to bring him to the food I had a cricket bat so I was going to bash him until he didn't move anymore. We didn't go through with it because we knew what the consequences would be. However, we kept the the plan and the bat, just in case...

Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on December 04, 2017:

Such a sad story.

Stella Aligizaki from Greece on December 04, 2017:

It is a sad story! You have described the facts in an excellent way. It makes us wonder how somebody becomes a killer. I think you cannot kill during your childhood and then live normally again.

Nikki Eagle on September 29, 2017:

These stories are heartbreaking not only because of the victims but because the prosecutors are heartless in the fact that the CHILD offenders have already endured a unfathomable life that obviously they haven't had... I am MORE shocked at how they treat & try to just throw these CHILDREN away when they have already had a horrible if you even want to call it a life...Just imagine these babies getting beat & abused & sexually abused & given drugs & ONLY knowing a life of they do what they see & then get thrown away with no chance at a loving & normal life .....NOOOOOOO they should NOT EVER be tried as an adult when they are CHILDREN!!!!!! It has been SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN that before the age of 21 especially in boys they are NOT capable of understanding consequences to their actions...& ESPECIALLY AFTER A LIFE OF ABUSE & TRAMA!!!!!!!!!!

Penelope Jackson C. on June 09, 2017:

This story really spooked out i just watched it on Netflix so i decided google them n here we are!!!!! I Am happy n thrilled become

A Hubb subscriber i like watching n reading

B Brink on April 26, 2017:

Was "reactive attachment disorder" ever considered in any of these cases?

Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on February 21, 2017:

Such a sad story. One wonders why she was not removed from her mother's care. As her mother shouted, take away that thing? they should have known there was something drastically wrong with the mother. I can imagine that a small child that was abused and received no love or care could very well turn out like that.

Raja on September 25, 2016:

It was most horrifying real time teenage serial killer story I have ever heard. It gave me Goosebumps all the time. Very well done

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 28, 2016:

I enjoyed this hub a lot, not just because it's about crime and children, but because it explains the psychology of why a child can sometimes kill. However, I wonder -- other children who have been abused have not become murderers, although they developed multiple personalities or manifested their dysfunction in other ways. What makes one child kill, another not, even if both have been abused? Excellent article.

Jeff on July 26, 2016:

Here mother, Betty, is a despicable human being. She sounds like a complete sociopath. She should have been sent to jail for being the one responsible for all this. She is a disgusting human being. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that such a vile individual exists. Lock that horrible human being (scratch that, calling her a human being is being too generous. I'd say she's more like rat or cockroach, but even that is giving her too much credit, and is an insult to rats and cockroaches.) in a cell and throw away the key.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 13, 2016:

Wow, makes you hair stand on end...

haley todd on June 14, 2016:

I see her as a girl who was given no chances from the beginning. Given no love but was given plenty of hate from her mother. The emotions she probably once carried could have faded away with her will to care. Instead of looking for mental feeling. she sought for physical feeling towards others. she was 11 years old. she never got to live her life yet she already made mistakes because she was numb inside and out. Without love and care from the start you progress backwards instead of moving forward. I feel pity for her. The children who where caught in her storm where killed by what she felt deep inside. I she was given more time and help she could die without any regrets. The brain can turn off important things to make it more easy to bare tragic events in reality.

haley todd on June 14, 2016:

Towards the end it seems Marys daughter was raised much better then she was. I wounder why Mary gave her a better life, due to the fact she ended 2 others. Does she still feel the same way when she was little? Has she change? Whats her view about people and death? There are so many questions i want to know. I really want to explore her brain.

hubber8893 on April 07, 2016:

Very well written article, terrific too.

Simongreedypig on April 24, 2015:

that vicious little beast, should be released out of jail in 2080, not 1980. when she was only 11-years-old. she killed Martin Brown,4 Brian Howe,3 she deserves to go to hell. Mary is lucky that they don't have guillotines in the 1960s, only in the 1872. I hope she feels guilty for what she did 47 years ago.

Casey White on January 18, 2015:

Thanks for an interesting read. Mary Bell's case is fascinating and disturbing. It is interesting to read how such young children are capable of such evil actions.

Niquel Cozart from New Jersey suburb on October 15, 2014:

Interesting and very sad. I had never heard of this case. This hub was very well written.

Snakesmum on October 12, 2014:

Interesting hub - I'd not heard of this case before. If she did change, bring up a daughter and become a grandmother, she could not have been a true psychopathic personality, as they don't change. Hopefully, she did better by her daughter than her own mother did by her.

Sami from Kansas on July 29, 2014:

Unfortunately antisocial personality disorders are the only disorders that cannot be treated, but it does go to show you how critical a secure attachment to one's caregiver can be. Just that withdrawn, insecure, and cold attachment style predisposed Mary to her lack of emotion and empathy because it was never stimulated.

That being said, sociopaths cannot be helped, nor cured. She should have never been let out of prison.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 07, 2014:

I've been reading a lot about psychopathy and looking at documentaries, etc. but this is the first time a coherent link was made between childhood experience and psychopathy. Thank you for helping me to find the missing link on its possible causes.

Rosalie O'Neal from California on June 06, 2014:

Wow, very interesting and sad indeed. I cant even imagine a child doing such things. I know it happens, but what a sad situation. Thanks for sharing.

mochirajackson from Liverpool, United Kingdom on June 04, 2014:

Hi, I just saw this while exploring hubs. It's horrible to think that children can be killers but I'm sure you will also know the case of James Bulger, who was killed by two ten-year olds in the UK. This happened near to where I live and everyone I know was horrified but, as you have written in this hub, the family background does have a lot to do with both of these cases. Great hubs - voted up.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on March 31, 2014:

What a scary sad story! Thanks for sharing. I have not heard of this murder case caused by kids.I enjoyed reading it.

Word Pools from United States of America on March 30, 2014:

Wow - I can't imagine how a child so young could be a murderer, especially a serial one. But the story of her background does help explain some things. It is scary!

Jacqui from New Zealand on March 16, 2014:

Thanks for an interesting hub.

It's intriguing to see what the first few years or even weeks of life can affect the way in which a person develops. With her history, you want to feel sympathy for Mary, but at the same time, revulsion at what she was able to do without emotion. Scary!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on February 24, 2014:

This is a very interesting story. It reminded me of the movie, The Bad Seed, but I think the movie fell short of explaining why the child became that way. I wonder if there is any hope for psychopaths so that they can reform.

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on January 25, 2014:

This is a very disturbing story and the more scary as you do not know of all the others out there. I do for a fact know about the damage a psychopathic sibling can do to the other siblings psychologically without inflicting any bodily harm leaving those kids scared for life and no one the wiser.

Galadriel Thoman from Voorhees, New Jersey on January 15, 2014:

This hub was very well-written and informative; I only have one critique, and that is the label of "serial killer". Mary Bell was not a serial killer. Often that moniker is used for any person who killed more than one person, but there is a great deal that goes into the psychological profile of a person who truly is a serial killer. Ted Bundy, for example, was a true serial killer. Mary Bell did not fit that category, despite the fact that she murdered two children. The fact that she never re-offended means that she could not have fit. I'm being nit-picky, and I apologize, but serial killers (and really, murderers of all kinds) are my area of study. (I am a HIT at parties, let me tell you) Child murderers are especially fascinating, as are the implications of the affect of nurture on potentially psychopathic children. Did Mary Bell's upbringing cause her to become a killer, or was she always going to turn out that way, but because we know of her childhood we can see that as an excuse? Of course, we will never know. There have been many killers, serial and otherwise, who grew up in loving environments; Ted Bundy, again, is an example. Really, very fascinating. Thank you for writing this hub, as I actually was unfamiliar with the case. I think I need to brush up on my European murder history!

Philip from Boston, MA. on December 17, 2013:

Could this be a "white people disease?" It seems that mental illness runs deeper than anyone, (including the medical profession), recognizes. I know that there are people of color who are mentally ill as well. However, it seems that anytime it comes to light, White people, (American, European, Russian), top the list of absolute psychopathy. It's either that, or they tend to be the ones who are sensationalized. For instance, if we talked about the Mexican drug cartel, would that not be more learned than inherent behavior?

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on December 16, 2013:

What a sad and shocking story. Truly gruesome. I had no idea someone that young could by a psychopath already. So sad that this woman is out among the rest of us and has had a child yet. I hope she is truly 'cured.'

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on December 16, 2013:

What a chilling story! I wonder if child psychopaths can ever be completely rehabilitated. I wouldn't want to live in the same town as the "new" Mary Bell, or raise children there. I hope her child isn't also subject to a dysfunctional home. These things tend to be perpetuated generation after generation; though it is entirely possible to break the chain.

FullOfLoveSites from United States on December 16, 2013:

This story really saddens me. I think she has a serious psychological disorder. It's surprising that she is allowed to raise her daughter. Maybe her heart was changed after all. I've heard that Mary has become a grandmother recently.

belleart from Ireland on November 21, 2013:

this is probably one of the most disturbing true crime stories I have ever read! mostly due to the age obviously, but regardless of the age, its still a really sickening story. Good hub

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 08, 2013:

Very interesting hub about an extremely disturbing case Antonia. I too look forward to reading more of your hubs as I am interested in true crime.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on September 21, 2013:

Wow never heard of this case before ! It sickens me on how someone that young could commit such a haneness crime and laugh about it. Some this sounds demonic, but I strongly hope she was saved and hasn't had any compulsions to harm anyone since. I really strongly hope her daughter lives a peaceful and happy life. Thank you for taking the time to write this disturbing yet educating hub.

Victoria from Whitechapel UK on August 04, 2013:

Great informative hub. I am a big fan of true crime and have previously read up on this case. It still shocks me how a young girl could commit such crimes, and it is surprising that she has never reoffended. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Yorja Rahmani from India on July 26, 2013:

Unbelievable! It is nice that the court has given the two anonymity for life. Hope they are happy today.

Bill from Greensburg Pennsylvania on July 13, 2013:

Great hub. I enjoyed reading. i was surprised that so young a person would be able to commit a Crime such as this.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on July 12, 2013:

I have never heard of this particular case, although I am pretty well read on the subject. I thought the US had a monopoly on psychopaths like this, but I can see now it is a worldwide phenomenon. Great hub!

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 12, 2013:

No, it's not a recitation of the youtube documentary, it's an article compiled from research done through a wide variety of sources. There are no citations because this is not a scholastic essay or academic article, so I don't need to provide citations.

citations on February 12, 2013:

there are no citations, is this merely a recitation of the youtube documentary? are there any citations in that?

Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on December 08, 2012:

fascinating article. so hard to believe children will be involved in such heinous acts!

Pollyannalana from US on August 16, 2012:

It is hard to believe a child could do things like this. I use to read true crime exclusively but never about children, just so hard to fathom. I have come upon a couple children in my life though that had looks to put the fear of death in me, lol.

Nick Hanlon from Chiang Mai on July 23, 2012:

Wow....didn't kow about Mary.She'd be 55 now.I for one don't know how much punishment a child should receive for such a crime.Great hub btw.

Kavanagh on July 12, 2012:

Hey i like your information on these cases. Ive read alot on this Mary Bell if what was stated about here upbringing is true, he be used inas a sex object for money by her own mother. On that basis i think her parents should be to blame for those little boys that their daughter murdered. Mary should have still been punished she was still in the wrong but it sickens me to think her mum was still exploiting the girl and making money by selling stories to the tabloids when she should have been in jail for life

American Romance from America on June 27, 2012:

soooo, where is she now? What happened to her? Does she work? I want to know more??

sean on June 05, 2012:

It says Scotswood, North of London. They could just say Newcastle. I lived in that area in the 1990s

mary on April 22, 2012:

i know her ... She came to she did not do it . A demon made her she couldn't fight it , im 12 hes got weaker he tries to get me i manage for now i shes a nice girl ;) belive and help her go to heven she will stay till you belive pass on.... Mary peace be with her ;)

Susan B Anna from New York on February 08, 2012:

Very glad I stumbled onto this hub. Very well written and I too love True Crime Stories. As a society we try to believe a child cannot be capable of such crimes but they truly are and are hardly brought to light, thanks for doing an incredible job in doing so. Voted up and interesting.

Mercredi on February 03, 2012:

Well written Hub. I've never heard of this case before! Thanks for the interesting read!

Julie Grimes from Columbia, MO USA on February 02, 2012:

That's crazy stuff.

Loving momma on October 28, 2011:

I six week old baby was brutally murdered by a five year old and absolutely nothing happened to the kid so things like this really make me hate throwed off individuals like that if they are a child or not

freann faith on September 25, 2011:

so sad. I think no child can do such thing if he's just given enough love and attention by his parents. Anyway, I'm glad I came to pass by this page. Very well written indeed.

Gloria Siess from Wrightwood, California on July 06, 2011:


Aneesa birmingham on June 05, 2011:

It,s quite shocking how a murderouse evil 11yr old child can do that maybe it,s involved in her violent past

Aneesa birmingham on May 29, 2011:

I just dont think murders really give a damn they just go ahead and some still dont even learn it disgusting.

noring on May 01, 2011:

that what so sad what the mom did to her daughter thats why she became the way she was when she was just a little girl..u know and that so nice that she is a really nice grandmother and mom

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 20, 2011:

Thank you for your comment Mary Neal. I don't know why your hub was deemed unacceptable, but you are right. People really need to start to pay attention to these things. We cannot treat our children as though they are adults, just because they commit what is considered an "adult crime". It is also our responsibility to protect them, and clearly that is not a priority in the judicial system.

MaryNeal on March 06, 2011:

Thanks for pointing out that there are juvenile murderers. In fact over 2,230 children were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Children face the same consequences for crimes as adults, except execution. Therefore, don't you agree they deserve the same or more protection from self-incrimination? Every American should have the right to an attorney when interrogated, and we have a right to the Miranda warning that will advise us of that right before questioning begins. However, I am NOT ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT THAT AT HUB PAGES. My article entitled JUVENILE JUSTICE: KIDS 4 CASH was unpublished by HubPages editors. The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding in March 2011 whether social workers and armed police can interrogate children in school absent their parents' knowledge and consent, without any attorney present, and without being given the Miranda warning that anything said could be used to prosecute the kid. In fact one seventh grader is in prison now based on confessions he made under those circumstances. I denounce censorship, and thought HubPages would be a place I could publish important news about justice decisions that are being made that will have far-reaching consequences for Americans for many years. But the attack on freedom of press regarding issues that impact prison profiteers' income is extreme to the point that I have found no place on the web that is above censorship.

The message on my JUVENILE JUSTICE: KIDS 4 CASH article that HubPages editors unpublished says it needs revision. What shall I revise? The fact that two cases are before the U.S. Supreme Court to determine if America will discriminate against children and allow police, prosecutors, and judges to take unfair advantage of their youth to channel them into prison to benefit prison owners and investors? Should I delete the parts where a six-year-old was Tasered? What about the part where a student at a school for brain damaged kids was beaten by the school police? What part of my article is to be censored? What part is to be hidden like the 2003 secret arrest and murder of Larry Neal, my mentally, physically ill brother who police tired of arresting on misdemeanor disturbing the peace charges? Perhaps it is my Bible quote that must be censored to satisfy HubPages editors. I quoted Biblical warning that in the Last Days, people would be without natural affection and love money rather than God or each other.

I await HubPages' instructions on what part of my article made it "below acceptable standards." In case they fail to respond, look for the article online anyway under the same title: JUVENILE JUSTICE: KIDS 4 CASH. Determine for yourself if it was unpublished at HubPages because the article was unacceptable, or was it the behavior of justice officials that was unacceptable and ineligible to be published.


Mary Neal

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 05, 2011:

Thank you GonzoAve, I appreciate that! :)

GonzoAve from Columbus, OH on February 05, 2011:

I truly enjoyed reading this, what an awesome hub!!

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 01, 2011:

Thanks again for your comment Jaynie.

It really is hard to imagine. The entire story is so interesting, and has so many webs tangled up in it, it would be hard to untangle them and figure it out. I think it is always a shock when a child get killed, and always a shock when a child kills, but what is most disturbing and different about this case is that it was a young child killing other young children - most of the cases of child killers are teenagers. Mary was so young, that it is truly shocking to imagine how she could already have developed the tendencies of a serial killer. It's also hard to imagine someone who has shown such evil at such a young age growing into a mentally healthy individual who is not a danger to society. Yet, we also hope rehabilitation is possible, and maybe it did indeed work. Though as you said, I do wonder at what kind of upbringing her daughter must have had. I actually read recently that she was now a grandmother, as her daughter has had a child.

Jaynie2000 on January 30, 2011:

Such stories never cease to fascinate me. It's hard to imagine enduring what children such as Mary must have endured before becoming true psychopaths. I can only imagine the upbringing her own daughter must have had, which I would think would have been marginal at best. I sure hope I'm wrong about that, but when you have no empathy and your only experience with childrearing was being raised by a cold, sociopathic mother, I can't imagine you have many functional skills to fall back on. Very sad.

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 08, 2011:

Thanks for your comment oceansnsunsets. Yes, it is sad and crazy. I think it will probably be a case that is studied by child psychologists for years to come, and hopefully they are learning from it. Hopefully this tragic story can at least bring them some insight into the circumstances that can turn a child into a dangerous predator. It might also help them learn how to help other children in the future, and what the best course or rehabilitation for other children from similar childhood circumstances might benefit from.

Paula from The Midwest, USA on January 06, 2011:

Wow, what a sad and crazy story. Very horrifying and heartbreaking. Hopefully something can be learned from it, and help people in the future.

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 27, 2010:

Thank you everyone for your comments, and your congratulations on the Hubnugget nomination! I was very surprised, but obviously happy to be nominated.

Mary Bell is definitely a good example of the problem with juvenile offenders; when they commit a horrible "adult" crime, we want to treat them as adults. It's easier to lock them up and forget about then, then it is to dig deeper and found out what could have caused them to become a killer. Yet, in most cases, there is more to the story than that; psychological problems that are born from trauma, pain and abuse that they've had to endure. We are then faced with a question that has no one right answer for every case; do we hold them accountable as adults, assume that even with rehabilitation they are too risky to allow back in society? After all, if they could do some horrible things as a child, what would they be capable of as adults? or do we recognize that they are still children, who have often had traumatic childhoods, and give them a lighter sentence, and counseling, and hope that they will not kill again?

Rosie Rose from Toronto, Canada on December 26, 2010:

Hiya Antonia, Congratulations on having this hub on Mary Bell as a Hubnugget Nominee. I was a very interesting read, to say the least. A well-deserved nomination. All the best to you.

Happy Holidays,


megmccormick from Utah on December 26, 2010:

Congrats on your HubNugget nomination and interesting topic. As a school psychologist I've worked with my fair share of young sociopaths and their parents. They are indeed the creation of their parents and as we are finding out more and more a genetic pre-disposition (again inherited from their parents). Sad sad stories.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 25, 2010:

It is always so hard to believe that children of that age are capable of such awful crimes. Congrats on your Hubnugget nomination.

nell79 from United States on December 24, 2010:

I remember watching this story on TV. They made it sound like it was a given that Mary's mother had prostituted her out from the age of 5, I believe. Interesting to hear more details about it here. It's a very upsetting story.

Congrats on your HubNugget Nomination :)

Ireno Alcala from Bicol, Philippines on December 24, 2010:

Children learn their adoptive behavior from the socio-environment they're dwelling. Acquired disruptive behavior and devoid of emotion are indications that those child are psychopaths that can endanger other normal kids. Well-detailed hub. Congratulations on your HubNugget nomination.

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 06, 2010:

She has never re-offended, and she did raise a daughter without incident, so I guess that shows some sort of change? I read recently that she is actually a grandmother now. It's hard to imagine that someone so psychotic could have changed so much as an adult, but I guess it is possible!

electricsky from North Georgia on December 06, 2010:

Thanks for your comments.

What a cold blooded young thing she was. I wonder if she has changed as an adult?

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 04, 2010:

Thanks for both your comments!

It is really hard to believe that children are capable of such violence. I had not heard about it until recently either, the story really captured my attention.

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on December 04, 2010:

Great article! I'd never heard of any of this.

awoodog from B.C. Canada on December 03, 2010:

That is quite a story, it really is hard to believe that a child could commit such a crime. We are starting to hear all too often about child violence. Thanks for writing about this.

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 24, 2010:

Thanks Jeff.

Haha, well you can let your wife know it would be purely platonic; I'm only interested in checking out your hubs ;)

Jeff Duff from Southwest Wisconsin on November 24, 2010:

Very well written hub on a disturbing topic.

By the way, my wife may not be too thrilled if we become hub buddies. :)

But, I will become a follower, anyhow.

-- Jeff Duff

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 21, 2010:

Hi Julie,

Yes, it really is a fascinating case! I only found out about it recently, and was shocked I had never heard of it before. It's very hard for people to wrap their heads around a child being capable of doing such evil things. The controversy about whether she was responsible for her actions at such a young age, especially considering what she went through in her childhood prior to the crimes, is also quite interesting.

Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it. We do seem to have a lot in common, and I hope we can become hub buddies too.

3 Finger Reader on November 20, 2010:

I'm a true crime fan myself, and while familiar with Mary Bell, the case continues to fascinate me. This is an excellent hub overall. The writing is clear, clean and expertly paced. I think you have gained a fan and follower. I'm on my iPhone right now so I cannot add you to my "follow" list tonight, but I will very soon.

Seems like you and I have a lot in common. My hope is that we may become hub buddies.

Julie / 3 Finger Reader