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Child Killers and Dumpling Wars?


Mary Bell

Mary Bell, 11 years old
Mary Bell, Britain's Youngest Female Child Killer


Mary Bell was born on May 26, 1957, in Corbridge, Northumberland, England. She was born to a then 17-year-old by the name of Elizabeth (Betty) Bell. Betty became a well-known prostitute in the area they lived. With the nightlife being her calling, she was not often home, and when she was, she was sleeping. Her line of work forced her to travel often, usually to Glasgow - causing her to leave Mary and her sister either alone or with their father - but no one actually knows who that is. Mary grew up thinking her bio-dad was a man named Billy Bell. He was a gem, and by that I mean a mean and violent alcoholic with a severe criminal and arrest record. For small things, like armed robbery. Unfortunately, Mary would never know for sure if Billy was her father, as she was a baby when her mom married him, and without a paternity test, it literally could have been anyone.

Mary spent her childhood being neglected and unwanted by her parents. Isa McCricket, Mary’s aunt, said that when Mary was born that her mother had immediately rejected her. Betty had been really pissed at the nurses that actually tried to place the newborn Mary in her arms after birth. She actually got loud with them and shouted “Take the thing away from me!”

As Mary grew from baby to toddler to young girl, she repeatedly suffered injuries within the home that Betty would claim to be accidents that only happened while she was alone with her. It was fairly easy to realize that Betty Bell was the one harming Mary, whether on accident or on purpose. Some people speculated that at times she was actually trying to kill Mary.

One incident in 1960, Betty dropped Mary from a first floor window. On another occasion, she basically force fed Mary a bunch of sleeping pills. She had also sold Mary at one point to a mentally frail lady who wasn’t able to have her own kids. Betty’s older sister Catherine had actually traveled by herself across Newcastle to get Mary back and took her back home to Betty’s house.

Even with Betty’s neglect and abuse towards Mary, she was nice enough to turn down multiple offers from her family members that wanted to take Mary in. I say nice, but the bitch wasn’t. She began working as a dominatrix and was starting to bring clients of hers back home and allowed, ENCOURAGED even, to let them sexually abuse Mary in sadomasochistic rituals by the mid-1960s.

Mary’s Makeup/Temper

While at school and home, Mary showed a tremendous amount of signs. Most of which were disturbing and unpredictable behaviors. This included mood swings to chronic bed wetting. She had been known to fight other kids (boys and girls) at school. She more than once attempted to suffocate and/or strangle her classmates. She at one point attempted to block another girl's trachea by filling her mouth/throat with sand. With these behaviors, as you can imagine, not many people wanted to play with Mary or be around her in general. Mary often spent her time with Norma Joyce Bell (no relation to Mary). Norma was 13, and the daughter of one of the next-door neighbors.

One of Mary’s classmates said that by 1968 she and the rest of the classmates had gotten used to Mary and how she behaved. However, they knew something else was going on when Mary would start shaking her head and having her eyes glaze over basically. In this first account of this happening, Mary’s peers knew she was about to go ballistic and turn violent. Mary’s gaze was set upon the individual she planned to attack.

The Assaults

Saturday, May 11, 1968, there was a three-year-old boy found wandering around bleeding. He was dazed but was able to tell the police that he had been playing with Mary Bell and her sister Norma Bell. He said they were all playing on top of an unused air raid shelter when he was pushed off of the roof and fell 7 feet to the ground. This caused a really bad cut to his head. He claimed he hadn’t known who exactly pushed him off out of the two girls that were present. That very same day, a set of parents got a hold of the police to make complaints that both Mary and Norma had tried strangling their three children while they played in their sandpit.

That same evening, both Mary and Norma were interviewed by police. Both girls said they didn’t push the boy from the roof. Instead, they claimed they walked by and saw the boy laying there with a bleeding head wound AFTER he fell. When questioned about the three girls that claimed the two of them had tried to strangle them…Mary played dumb and said she didn’t do it. Norma though, she settled that straight away and let them know that Mary had tried to “throttle” each of those girls.

Norma told the police: “Mary went to one of the girls and said ‘What happens if you choke someone; do they die?’ Then Mary put both hands ‘round the girl’s throats and squeezed. The girl started to go purple. I told Mary to stop, but she wouldn’t. Then she put her hands around Pauline’s throat and she started going purple as well…another girl, Susan Cornish, came up and Mary did the same thing to her.

Police then notified the local authorities of what had taken place, and of the extreme violent nature of Mary alone. However, the girls were young, and due to their age, they were given a warning and let go. No other action was taken against them.

Victim #1

May 25, 1968, was the day before Mary’s 11th birthday. This would be the day Mary killed her first victim. She strangled a four-year-old boy named Martin Brown. She killed him in the upstairs of a defunct house. It is believed Mary committed the murder by herself. Martin’s body was found by three children around 330pm. He had been laying on his back with his arms above his head. There were no visible marks of violence on his body, except for the blood specks and foam that was around his mouth. A local man, John Hall arrived on the scene soon after the children found him and attempted to do CPR on Martin. But there was no point, he was already gone.

While John attempted CPR, two girls, 10-year-old Mary and her 13-year-old friend, Norma, happened to appear in the doorway of the bedroom where Martin lay dead. John was quick to kick them out of the house. They left and went straight to Rita Finlay’s house. Rita was Martin’s aunt - they told her “One of your sister’s bairns (kids) just had an accident. We think it’s Martin, but we can’t tell because there’s blood all over him.”

The next day, Dr. Bernard Knight performed an autopsy on Martin. Bernard was not able to find any signs of physical violence on his body, which made it really hard to determine the actual cause of death. He was able to toss away the opinion of the investigators that the child had died from ingesting poisonous tablets.

In Between the Murders

The day Mary turned 11, May 26th, both she and Norma broke into and destroyed a nearby nursery. They were able to get inside by peeling tiles off of the roof. While they were having a field day inside, they ripped up books, turned desks over, smeared ink and painted all over the inside of the property.

The next day staff discovered that they had been vandalized. The police were notified and they came to investigate. While there, the police found four notes. One stated, “I murder SO That I may come back.” The second one said “WE did murder martain brown fuckof you bastard.” The third said “Fuch off we murder. Watch out Fanny and Faggot.” The last note read “You are mice Y Becurse we murdered Martain Go Brown you Bete Look out THERE are Murders about by Fanny and auld Faggot you Screws.”

Two days after that, on May 29th, Mary and Norma were playing a game of chicken. They both had called the house of Martin’s mother June, knowing that his funeral was soon and asked if they could see her son. June responded by saying they couldn’t see her son because her son was dead. Mary replied, “Oh, I know he’s dead; I want to see him in his coffin.”

Victim #2

Brian Howe would become victim #2 on July 31st, 1968. Brian was three-years-old when he was last seen by his parents. He had been playing in the street with one of his siblings, the family dog, and - you guessed it, Mary and Norma. When the parents realized he hadn’t returned home, a lot of people took to searching. There were relatives that showed up to search, neighbors had begun to search. No one could find him. A little after 11pm, a search party did find him. His body had between two large blocks.

The police arrived on the scene and saw that there had been an attempt to hide his body. It was covered in clumps of weeds and grass. His lips were blue, he had several scratches and bruises around his neck, and a lone pair of broken scissors were laying next to his feet.

The coroner made his assessments and gave Brian’s cause of death as strangulation. They went on to say that Brian had been dead for up to eight hours prior to his body being found. Whoever killed him had squeezed Brian’s nostrils closed with one hand while gripping his throat with the other. There were a lot of puncture wounds on his legs, which they determined happened before he died. There were patches of his hair cut off his head, his genitals had been mutilated, and there was a badly carved “M” in his stomach. With the pretty small amount of force that was used to murder Brian, the coroner came to the conclusion that whoever killed Brian was also a child.

The Investigation

When Brian was discovered, it sparked a fairly large manhunt for the killer. There were over one hundred detectives assigned to the case. There were more than 1200 kids that were questioned about where they were on the day of Brian’s death. Two of those children questioned were none other than Mary and Norma. Witnesses had said that the two were seen playing with Brian earlier that day. In Norma’s first interview she seemed nervous - Mary was the complete opposite, she was calm and collected. Both girls did a lot of beating around the bush during questioning, but after a while, they both admitted to playing with Brian on the day he died but added that they didn’t see him after they ate lunch.

Mary was questioned again the next day and she said she had remembered seeing a local boy playing with Brian on the day he died. She also said she saw this boy hit Brian, as well as remembered the boy was covered in grass and weeds, and that he had scissors. Mary said “I saw him trying to cut a cat’s tail off with the scissors but there was something wrong with them - one leg was broken or bent.”

Detective James Dobson thought that sounded very self-incriminating, and it convinced him that Mary Bell was Brian’s killer, since only police knew of the broken scissors found by Brian’s feet. Also, they looked into the boy Mary had spoken of, the one that supposedly hit Brian. Well, it was found out real quick that he was at the Newcastle International Airport that day, and there were numerous witnesses that were able to back up his parent’s statement of innocence.

The Confession

August 4th Norma Bell’s parents contacted the police, stating that Norma wanted to confess. Confess what though? Well, she confessed to seeing Brian’s dead body. She said Mary had taken her to a spot, and showed her Brian’s body. Norma said that Mary gave her a visualization of how she had strangled him, and said that Mary confessed that she actually enjoyed strangling Brian before saying how she used the scissors and a razor blade to leave scour marks on his stomach. Normal was able to lead police directly to the spot where Brian’s dead body had laid. Norma was also able to draw a picture for the police to show them how she remembered the wound on Brian’s stomach. Guess what? It matched the description the coroner had given of the wound.

Investigators went to Mary’s house early in the morning the next day, and this time, instead of being cool, calm and collected, Mary was extremely defensive. She kept saying that the investigators were trying to brainwash her.

Later in the day, Norma was questioned again. She admitted to investigators that she had been there when Brian was strangled. She said the three of them were alone and “Mary seemed to go all funny.” She said Mary pushed Brian into the grass and started strangling him before turning to Norma and saying “My hands are getting thick. Take over.” This is when Norma ran from the scene, leaving poor Brian with a deranged Mary.

The Charges

On August 7th, 1968, Brian Howe was laid to rest with over 200 mourners in attendance. Well, all but 1. Investigator Dobson was planning to arrest both girls that night, however, Mary made it easy for him. Because, as the boy in his coffin was brought out from his mother’s home, to begin the funeral procession towards the cemetery, Mary was there. She had stood outside the house laughing hysterically and rubbing her hands together. At this point, Dobson knew he had to get the girl.

Both Mary and her friend Norma were arrested and charged with the murder of Brian at 8pm that night. When Mary heard the charge, her response was “That’s all right by me.” Norma cried out “I never. I’ll pay you back for this.” which was aimed at Mary.

With a witness on hand, Mary wrote a statement, admitting that she had been present when Brian was murdered, but blamed the act on Norma. She admitted they were both responsible for the vandalism at the nursery the day after killing Martin Brown, and also admitted to writing the four notes that the detectives found.


After the girls were arrested, they both were given psychological evaluations. The results from the tests told them what they already knew. Norma was intellectually slow and submissive, and easily showed emotion. Mary on the other hand, was cunning and prone to mood swings, she would be willing to talk and then would clam up and become defensive.

The psychiatrists that examined Mary conclude that she was NOT suffering from a mental disorder. She was suffering from a psychopathic personality disorder. In an official report, Dr. David Westbury stated “Mary’s social techniques are primitive and take the form of automatic denial, ingratiation (basically becoming likable and full of flattery to obtain what they want), manipulation, complaining, bullying, flight or violence.”

The Trial

Mary Bell and Norma Bell went on trial for the murders of Brian Howe and Martin Brown on December 5th, 1968. Both girls plead not guilty to the charges given to them.

On the first day of the trial, the judge waived the defendant’s rights to anonymity solely because of their ages. Their names, ages, and pictures of them were released by the media, with permission. It also showed the girls sitting next to their defenders, police officers and family.

The case opened with a six-hour opening statement where the jury was told they had a long, unpleasant, and distressing task ahead of them. It was stated that there would be many similarities between the two murders and that they had plenty of evidence to prove the guilt of the young girls.

In that span of six hours, the girls' ages came out. It was stated that Norma was older, but that Mary was the dominant one out of the two. It was said both girls were equally capable of killing both of the boys, and that it was done solely for the pleasure and excitement of murder and that both girls knew what they were doing and that it was wrong, and that they knew what the consequences would be.

On day five of the trial, Norma was on the stand. She said she didn’t have anything to do with the actual murders, but admitted to talking to Mary about attacking and killing small children. She said that she had no physical role in the murder, as she never touched the children.

Mary’s testimony went on for about four hours before being adjourned. While adjourned, she was found sobbing into a policewoman’s arms while stating that everything Norma said was false. She said she never harmed the boys. Mary claimed that Norma was the one that did the strangling while she just stood there and looked. She said she was frozen in fear and couldn't move. She kept piling everything on Norma but took no responsibility (if it HAD) been Norma that did it, to tell the police, her parents…anyone.

Norma’s parents took the stand and claimed that while Mary was over one day, they caught her trying to strangle Norma’s little sister and that it took the dad punching Mary in the shoulder to get her to stop. Ian Frazer, a child psychologist, testified that Mary’s mental age was that of an eight year old that had a more limited capacity to know right from wrong, however, she had the ability to appreciate the criminal acts that she had committed.

On December 17th, the jury came to a decision in 3 hours and 25 minutes. Norma was acquitted of all charges against her and when she heard that, she clapped in excitement.

Mary Bell was not charged with murder, but instead manslaughter of both Brian and Martin. The judge was pretty precise when he described Mary as a dangerous individual that posed a very grave risk to other children. He deemed that steps needed to be taken to protect the public from Mary. She would then be sentenced to be imprisoned indefinitely. When Mary heard her charges, she cried, as did her good-for-nothing mother and grandmother.

When Mary was charged and detained she was 11 and a half years old. She was, and still is, Britain’s youngest female killer.


Mary was initially held in Durham Remand Home but was later transferred to South Norwood. Then again transferred in 1969, this time to the Red Bank secure unit which was a young offenders institution. She was the only female among the 24 inmates being held. Mary would accuse one of the members of staff and numerous inmates of sexually abusing her. She claimed the abuse began when she was 13 years old.

At the age of 16 in November of 1973, she was transferred again to Moor Court open prison. While there she took a course to learn how to be a secretary.

In 1977, Mary and another female inmate escaped the prison and had a few days out with a couple of boys they met. They had fun, they went to amusement parks and slept in hotels before the two inmates went their separate ways. She was caught and arrested again at one of the guys' homes that she was with on September 13th. She had dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to Mary Robinson, in hopes that it would disguise her enough that she could stay out. Unfortunately, that plan failed, and she was taken back into custody that night. Mary’s punishment for fleeing was 28 days of no prison privileges. I don’t know what privilege you get in prison that would make that a very effective punishment.

Mary’s Release

Mary was released from prison in May of 1980 when she was 23 years old. She had served 11 years in prison. The courts granted her anonymity which allowed her to start her life over anywhere in the country that she wanted to. When she was released, she asked a spokesman to speak for her, and tell the press that she “wished to be given a chance to live a normal life and to be left alone.”

In May of 1980, four years after her release, Mary gave birth to a baby girl. This baby would be her only child. Growing up, the daughter knew nothing of her mother’s history until 1998 when reporters found Mary in a resort town where they were living. With her being found, by reporters no less, that forced her to come clean to her daughter and relocate. She had no choice but to tell her daughter that she was a child killer, who killed two children.

Mary has been outed as having returned to her childhood town, even having lived there again for a while.

Mary Bell’s current location is unknown, and will forever remain protected by the high court order of anonymity.

To this day Mary has never claimed she was wrongly convicted of the murders, and says that the abuse she had endured as a child will never excuse her crimes.

No shit Mary. Ya fuckin psycho.



The Great Dumpling War of Munich

Helmut Winter, Great Dumpling War of Munich
Helmut Winter, Local Hero and Dumpling Shooter

Almost every neighborhood has an angry old man of some sorts. Typically they just want you to stay off their lawn and keep to the sidewalks. as they take pride in how well manicured their lawns are. They could yell at you from a rocker on the front porch or turn their garden hose on you to drive the point home. But what if it wasn’t you they found so annoying and disturbing their peace? For a man in the Pasing district of Munich, Germany his annoyance was a much greater force. The United States and German militaries. Would you just ignore the issue or try and wage war against them?

Helmut G. Winter worked from home as a commercial artist in Munich, West Germany during the Cold War. Sounds great to be able to work from home right? Well Helmut’s problem was that his home was on the flight path for Schleissheim Air Base. Helmut would become fed up with the constant buzzing from German and United States Aircraft. With his experience as an artillery observer in wartime he estimated that planes from the air base were flying as low as 450 feet and helicopters under 150 feet. Helmut estimated that approximately up to 100 flights a day would buzz his house. Helmut Winters would say “these pilots are flying so low I can see their faces!”

Initially Helmut would try a more formal approach to both militaries and send letters of complaints about these planes flying too low but with no response at first he decided to take matters into his own hands to get their attention.

On February 4, 1967 while putting on the finishing touches on a drawing a F-104 starfighter would break the sound barrier over Helmut’s home. Shaking his house caused his drawing to be ruined with the ink he was using it. This was the final straw for him. In a fit of rage he would place an ad in his local newspaper for “Anti-aircraft gun with sufficient ammunition wanted to restore peace and order in the airspace of Munich.”

Helmut would state he took the ad out in an emotional state and didn’t actually mean it. He would get attention from the BBC, American press, and even the secret service. Even though being upset from his ruined drawing when placing this ad he did get some responses to his ad. He would get offers of:

A complete quad barrel Vierlings-Flak anti air gun with 5k rounds of ammunition.

A 15cm flak gun from the Isar section of town with a request that Winter also cleanse the Eastern sector of Munich skies from “Amis' 'German slang for Americans.

And surface to air missiles in private hands.

It would only be a few nights later when the BBC wanted to interview Winters. American Journalists would show up as well wanting to know everything about the “imminent shooting down of jet fighters.

With all the attention he was getting from his placed advertisement, “men in trench coats” start to hang around Helmut Winter’s home. He believes these men in trench coats were from the Secret Service sent to keep eyes on him to see if he really did have these weapons. Considering his ad could be taken as an act of war and any threat like this during the Cold War were taken seriously.

Even though Helmut was a veteran of the Russian Campaign of WW2 he was a peaceful man and didn’t want to actually hurt anyone but he knew he had to shoot something but it mustn’t be warklike. He would then enlist a local cabinet maker and his wife Elisabeth, to make a crossbow and potato dumplings. A staple food in Bavaria and they would be known as Kartoffelknödel (car toff eng noodle)

If you have watched the slightest bit of The Walking Dead or anything during medieval times you know what a crossbow is. But for us that aren’t so handy in the kitchen, we aren't sure what dumplings are, they are usually small pieces of dough made from flour, water, and salt but this is Germany so they would be potato dumplings and consist of potatoes, eggs, cornstarch and generally parsley.

For 10 Helmut Winters would lob potato dumplings at aircraft flying over this house. Even though it only had a range of about 200 feet it was still enough to get the attention of pilots and make them veer off course. A short film of Winters demonstrating what he would do with his crossbow along with his pet weiner-dog retrieving the dumplings. This would be broadcasted in 72 counties.

People of Munich and surrounding towns would refer to Winters as the Robin Hood of Munich - a loan man and a dedicated dumpling cooking wife fighting for the sanity and peace of the entire city of Munich and surrounding little towns. It is said that people ate dumplings in honor of their fighting spirit. It has been estimated that he would shoot upwards to 120 potato dumplings in a week at German and American planes.

He would keep up his barrage of dumplings until both Germany and the United States would finally surrender to Winters. Germany wouldn't have an official surrendering to Helmut Winters and simply just fly their planes at a higher altitude.

Major Donald Murphy the commander of the Air Base would have a more formal, and invite him and his wife for a formal unconditional surrender to Helmut. With a basket full of dumplings, the crossbow loaded in the trunk of the car with their faithful dog Schatzie, drove to the air base and met with the Major.

Major Murphy and Winters would end up meeting in the cockpit of a helicopter that had what appears to be a dumpling size dent. Winters would claim he never hit any of the aircraft as the Major jokingly took a dumpling from the basket and placed it in the dent which coincidentally fit perfectly.

Major Murphy would present Helmut Winters and his wife with a document of unconditional surrender stating the USAF would henceforth fly no lower than 1,500 feet when flying over Munich and the surrounding suburbs. Please with his win of the great dumpling war he donated his crossbow and basket of dumplings to the Air Force.

The Major would invite Helmut and his wife to a peace dinner of southern fried chicken and dumplings. Helmut was known as a dumpling snob to his family and would tell the major American dumplings are too wet and too soggy for shooting and airplanes. Only good for smearing windshields.

TNYT, Newsweek, San Francisco Chronicle would report on the front page “Dumpling Attack Routes Luftwaffe.”

Helmut Winter was a local folk hero to the right people and would be the first recipient of the Karl-Valentine-Prize, for using humor to solve a public policy problem. Karl Valentine was a well known comic of the region that lived from 1882-1948.

He would go on to create the Dumpling Order which I tried to find out more on what this was but all I could find was a few pictures that came up of Helmut with miniature versions of his crossbow which he would hand out until his death in 2013. Some of the recipients of this award were school children that built their own catapult similar to his, a mural artist, and the Passenger Archives.

There would even be a pop song written about him and the only thing I can find of it was one line of the song would go as “I’m the dumpling shooter from Bavaria because I’m a friend of peace and quiet.”

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