This case is examined from a juvenile delinquency theories aspect. The overall case deals with an eleven years old girl of the name Mary Bell. Mary was known throughout her town of Scotswood, a community located in the north of London in England. It was 1968, when the body of four-year-old Martin Brown’s body was discovered inside of an abandoned boarded up house. At first, the death of Martin was rolled out to be an accident. A couple weeks later, three-year-old Brain Howe lifeless body was found near a known area where children played.
Brain was strangled to death with various of wounds such as puncture marks located on his thighs and as well his genitals were partially mutilates. The letter “M” the initial of Mary were found engraved in the boy stomach as a signature mark. Mary did not act alone in the killing of Brain Howe; Norma Bell as well participated in the act. After the death of the two boys, Mary Bell and Norma Bell were convicted with two counts of manslaughter. On the date of December 17th, 1968, both the girls were given their verdicts.
Norma Bell had all the charges drop as for Mary Bell was convicted of manslaughter; she had an indefinite sentence of imprisonment. Mary served twelve years was then she was released from at age 23, and was granted anonymity to start a new life. Under a new name Mary was able to live her life and have family of her own. In the case of Mary Flora Bell a young girl, who in 1968, strangled to death two little innocent boys in her hometown, Scotswood. At age 11, she was convicted in December 1968, for he manslaughter of the two young boys, Martin Brown age 4 and Brain Howe age 3. Having been deprived off the traditional family love even way before birth and growing up in an unhealthy environment where violence was part as a daily activity, it was evident that it resulted in psychological trouble. The case of Mary shows relation to the Social learning theory and as well to psychological theory. According to the textbook Delinquency in Society under the psychological theory it states that “Some criminologists also believes the cause of delinquency is psychological.
After all, many delinquents live in dysfunctional homes often find themselves in conflict with the family members, neighbors, peers, classmates, and teachers. ” The psychological theory relates to the case of Mary Bell. Mary mother Betty turned to prostitution as a source of income to supporting her family. As a result, Mary suffered a lot as growing up and as consequence she was introduced to violent activity. She grew up in a home where domestic violence and sexual abuse was a day-to-day basis. Having been raise in such cruel environment caused her to believe it was okay for herself to commit those types of acts.
It was reported that she showed acts of violence, for example she had attacked several young children from the neighborhood, but no one paid attention to her or her violent outbursts. Mary was violent throughout all her childhood, with no punishment towards her actions. Mary falls under the psychological theory due to the misbehavior with classmates and teachers. According to the article Murderous Children: 11-Year-Old Serial Killer Mary Bell quoted that “I am a murderer! ” and also said, “that’s where | killed” and “I murder so that I may come back”.
All these were warning signs that were ignored by the classmates, community, and even her own teachers. Although Mary continues to express violent behavior toward those around her such as pushing a three-year-old boy off a roof, stubbing a cigarette on the check of a young girl, and strangling her peers, nothing is done to out a end to it. Mary continues to carry out her activities that stay unchecked. The consequence of her actions going unnoticed gives her the sense of control. It gave her dominant, ability to be manipulative in order to get her way.
In the female juvenile delinquency theory, the Self-control applies to Mary. In the Self-control theory it states that “Poor self-control manifests in the form of: crime, alcoholism, drug use, infidelity, gambling, smoking, divorce, dead-beat parenting, etc”. (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990) Mary was subjected to repeat the sexual abuse and violence since a very young age. She was lead to believe that violence was not a wrongful act, but came to believe it was part of her life. The major key was that she was highly influenced by observation.
Not only the crime involvement environment, but as well an unhealthy relationship with her mother. Without the have control Mary behavior it ended up in her committing crimes; just how the Self-control theory stated. Albert Bandura came up with the Social Learning Theory is when individuals learn by observing others. “We model, imitate, and mimic the behavior we observe. ” (Bandura) “Albert Bandura believed that aggression is learned through a process called behavior modeling. He believed that individuals do not actually inherit violent tendencies, but they modeled them after three principles. (ZeePedia)
At age four young Mary had already lived through tragic events, which she remembered, as well imitated from her mother actions. Mary has been forced to be involved in sexual acts with the clients of her mother. In order for Mary to be distinguishing as a juvenile delinquent under the observational learning theory is to be successful. First of all, there has to be motivation to imitate the behavior that has been model upon them. With Mary she had the motivation that falls under the observational learning. Her mother used whips and lashes as a dominant act.
Mary quoted, “I like hurting little things that can’t fight back”. (Murderous Children) This was the result of her mother showing her to be dominant in order to gain control. By hurting individuals younger an weaker than her gave the satisfaction of the one taking control this time not like when she was younger and being the one get controlled over. Both of her victims were male younger individuals. By observing the dominant acts her mother preform wrapped up the idea to Mary that women are able to be in control regardless of their sex.
This explains why Mary was more violent toward boys then to girls. All this behavior against boys stemmed from the hatred fro men due to the force sexual abuse under her mother supervision. The method that Mary used to kill her victims was by strangling them. It was exactly the same manner her mother attempted to murder her. To conclude, when children like in the case of Mary are not cared for in a loving safe environment and as well are exposed to violence acts of all kind are more likely to have devastating effect on the child.
The relationship between Mary and her mother was one of the key factors. There was really little or no emotional attachment involved. This made the child believe that she had little or no emotional attachment to human beings, therefore, led her to murderous actions. Mary became a killer because of the horrible things she was subjective at the hands of someone that was suppose to love her. Mary mother made her the killer she became due to the lack of motherly love.