Suzanne Capper was a 16-year-old girl from Greater Manchester, England. Those who recognized her told them that all she needed in her life was to be adored. She didn’t know her actual father and she resided with her stepfather, John after he divides up from her mother, Elizabeth. She shortly began to play truant from school and wandered from house to house, attempting to find admiration from anybody. While Suzanne had her problems, she was yet known as a “high-spirited, well-mannered girl” who would support her stepfather out around the home and was entirely sympathetic.
Suzanne Capper With Jean Powell
Soon, Suzanne began to hang out at the house of Jean Powell, 26, who she had babysat for when she was 10-years-old. The dilapidated home at 97 Langworthy Road was a hot spot for the drug trade, festivities and sex. Amphetamines would be weighed out on kitchen scales and stolen cars would be traded. “I attempted to halt Suzanne going there but she had a very powerful will,” said John. Moreover, John didn’t realize the importance of what was going on behind closed doors.
He just had an odd emotion about Jean and those who visited her home, often about it as a “house of evil.” It was here in this home that Suzanne fell in with the mistaken crowd. Glyn Powell, 29, was Jean’s ex-husband who had convictions for burglary, stealing, and being drunk and violent. Bernadette McNeilly, 24, was a drug-addicted mother of three. Anthony Dudson, 17, was Jean’s on-again-off-again boyfriend. Jeffrey Leigh, 26, had convictions for robbing his 86-year-old paralyzed aunt. Clifford Hayes, 18, was Jean’s brother and Suzanne’s ex-boyfriend.
Suzanne Capper Went Back
Suzanne proceeded to visit the home even though nearly everybody there bullied her and took the benefit of her kind individuality. “It was not that she was frightened of them, it’s just she would do anything for them. She satisfied their every whim,” remembered her sister, Michelle. In fact, in late 1992, Suzanne went to her mother’s house after being whipped by Jean. Her mother viciously turned her away when Suzanne asked to be let in the home and authorized to stay overnight. Her mother told her boyfriend wouldn’t permit it and Suzanne strolled back to Jean’s house.
“I think that had she done something to support Suzanne, thing might be very different today. As a parent myself I would discover what Suzanne’s mother did very difficult to live with,” said Michelle’s fiance, Paul Barlow. Before Suzanne came to be involved with the group at Jean’s home, she had no human friendship other than from her family. In this squalid house on Langworthy Road, Suzanne discovered a basis of human connection and she found it tough to break that relationship up despite the reality it was abusive.
Then in December of 1992, the group alleged that Suzanne Capper had stolen a pink duffle coat and contaminated them all with pubic lice. At the time, Anthony was having sexual associations with Jean, Bernadette, and Suzanne. According to Anthony, he must have contracted the pubic lice from Suzanne. While these complaints – whether real or not – would seem insubstantial and insignificant, the total effect was to bring Suzanne into animosity and then turn that contempt into bitterness. On the 7th of December, 1992, the gang attracted her from her stepfather’s home back to their home under the pretense that a guy who she dreamed of was there and was wanting to see her.
Once inside, Suzanne was held down while Glyn trimmed her head, eyebrows, and pubic area. Afterward, he positioned a plastic bag over her skull and walked around her while slamming her on the head. Chuckling and yelling, the gang took turns smashing her with belt buckles and big ornamental wooden spoons. The beating was so serious that one of Suzanne’s arms would hang uselessly by her side for the remainder of her imprisonment. Following the whipping, Suzanne was shut in a cupboard.
Out of anxiety Suzanne’s sobs and cries were offending Jean and Bernadette’s children who also resided in the grimy home, the gang moved her to Bernadette’s evacuated home which was just a few doors down. Here, Suzanne was tied spread eagle to an upturned bed with chains and strings. She had socks jammed in her mouth to hush any screams. Over the next five days, Suzanne was subjected to a catalogue of distress.
Her two front teeth were pulled out with pliers and another was clasped in half, leaving the nerve exposed. She was inoculated with amphetamines and scorched on the face and body with cigarettes. After the stench of Suzanne lying in her manure became intolerable, she was jabbed into a bathtub filled with concentrated disinfectant and scrubbed with a yard brush until her skin came off. Through all of the distress and mishandling, Suzanne was subjected to a video of Chucky repeating: “I’m Chucky, wanna play?” through headphones as well as rave music at full volume.
In the early morning hours of the 14th of December, 1992, Suzanne Capper was urged into the boot of a Fiat Panda car that the gang has ransacked. They drove her to a remote forest near Stockport where she was compelled out of the car and jabbed down an embankment, rolling through dank leaves and brambles, with thorns slashing her bare feet. Bernadette splashed petrol over the scared teenager and they set her alight. “She went straight up in blazes and was crying out,” said Jean.
The gang supposed she was lifeless and left the spectacle laughing and singing “burn, baby, burn.” Nonetheless, Suzanne didn’t perish as quickly and anonymously as the gang had wished… Somehow Suzanne survived the vicious attack. She staggered up the embankment and was discovered by Barry Sutcliffe, who was driving to a job. When she was discovered, Suzanne repeatedly thanked Barry before muttering: “Over there, in the area. They burnt me, they set petrol on me…” Barry did not desire to be told what had occurred to Suzanne, it was obvious from the skin hanging from her ruined body. Suzanne had undergone burns to 80% of her body.
Unfortunately, Suzanne Capper perished four days later in Withington Hospital but not before she nominated all of her murderers. “It was obvious from the beginning that Suzanne was uncertain to withstand. She underwent external but widespread burns that led to various difficulties internally. There was a partial collapse in one of her lungs,” said Dr William Lawler, a Home Office pathologist.
When the police came at 97 Langworthy Road, they were met by an extensive and utter mess. The living room was scattered with rubbish and there were stolen car seats along the fences instead of sofas. In the house, they discovered Suzanne’s hair in the bin, a couple of bloody pliers and Suzanne’s omitted teeth. Initially, the gang all refuted any involvement but then Anthony, advised by his father, started to tell the truth. “As the story started to unravel, we just couldn’t think it. I kept inquiring myself how one human being could perform this to another,” told a detective working on the case. Even the most solid officers were moved to tears.
During the prosecution, the gang whirled on each other to relieve the blame from themselves. Also, all of them turned away from the ultimate act of ugliness of the burning of Suzanne. According to Jean, she sat in the car while the others set Suzanne alight. “I was asleep. I was frightened,” she alleged. She also contended that she had shut Suzanne in a cupboard “for her safety” and that she adored “her as a sister,” adding that she “can’t stand turmoil. I don’t even slap my children. Bernadette alleged she had held the canister of petrol but told that Anthony had snatched it from her moments before Suzanne went up in fires. She also contended that she had inoculated Suzanne with amphetamines to safeguard her from being inoculated with heroin. Anthony said to the court that Glyn had been the one to set Suzanne on fire.
During the sentencing stage, Judge Francis Potts called the killing “as horrifying a killing as it is possible to imagine.” He convicted Jean Powell, Bernadette McNeilly, and Glyn Powell to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years. Jeffrey Leigh was convicted for 12 years. Anthony Dudson was imprisoned indefinitely with the least tariff of 18 years. Clifford Hayes was convicted for 15 years. In 2012, Jean Powell’s sentence was lessened by two years. After she allegedly showed guilt and assisted prevent a jail escape. Bernadette McNeilly (who enjoyed a tale with Myra Hindley behind bars), Jeffrey Leigh and Clifford Hayes have all since been released.
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