England · Female Killers

10-year-old murders 4-year-old

May 25, 1968
Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England
10-year-old Mary Flora Bell strangles a 4-year-old boy, Martin Brown

Mary was born to a 17-year-old prostitute who later married a career criminal, and she grew up as a vandal, a thief, and a bully. Allegedly, Mary’s mother forced her to commit sex acts on clients while Mary was a young as 4. Mary also was the subject of abuse and murder attempts, including a fall from a window her mother claimed to be accidental and overdosing on sleeping pills which her mother told her were candies.

On May 25, the day before her 11th birthday, Mary strangled a 4-year-old boy while in a rundown building.

Mary later teamed up with another young girl, Norma Jean Bell (no relation), and the two killed a 3-year-old boy, cutting and mutilating his body; Mary cut the letter M into the child’s stomach. The girls were charged with manslaughter, Norma Jean was acquitted while Mary was found guilty. Mary served 12 years in jail before being released with a new identity to allow her a fresh start, a common practice in England for underage offenders. She had a daughter 4 years after her release who was unaware of her mother’s troubling past until the media gained knowledge of Mary’s new life.

Mary has successfully filed a case to maintain her daughter’s privacy and is reportedly a grandmother as of 2009. Despite her own mother’s terrible example as well as her violent childhood, Mary has been described as a good mother and grandmother.

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