Suzanne Capper was a 16-year-old girl from Greater Manchester, England. Those who knew her said that all she wanted in her life was to be loved. She didn’t know her real father and she lived with her stepfather, John, after he split up from her mother, Elizabeth. She soon started to play truant from school and drifted from house to house, trying to find affection from anybody. While Suzanne had her issues, she was still known as a “high-spirited, well-mannered girl” who would help her stepfather out around the house and was thoroughly polite.1
Soon, Suzanne started to hang out at the house of Jean Powell, 26, who she had babysat for when she was 10-years-old. The dilapidated house at 97 Langworthy Road was a hot spot for drug dealing, parties and sex. Amphetamines would be weighed out on kitchen scales and stolen cars would be traded. “I tried to stop Suzanne going there but she had a very strong will,” said John. Moreover, John didn’t know the extent of what was going on behind closed doors. He just had a strange feeling about Jean and those who frequented her home, often referring to it as a “house of evil.” It was here in this house that Suzanne fell in with the wrong crowd. Glyn Powell, 29, was Jean’s ex-husband who had convictions for burglary, theft, and being drunk and disorderly. 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 disabled aunt. Clifford Hayes, 18, was Jean’s brother and Suzanne’s ex boyfriend.
Suzanne continued to frequent the home despite the fact that almost everybody there bullied her and took advantage of her kind nature. “It was not that she was scared of them, it’s just she would do anything for them. She pampered their every whim,” recalled her sister, Michelle. In fact, in late 1992, Suzanne went to her mother’s home after being beaten up by Jean. Her mother cruelly turned her away when Suzanne begged to be let in the house and allowed to stay overnight. Her mother said her boyfriend wouldn’t allow it and Suzanne walked back to Jean’s house. “I believe that had she done something to help Suzanne, thing might be very different today. As a parent myself I would find what Suzanne’s mother did very hard to live with,” said Michelle’s fiance, Paul Barlow. Before Suzanne became involved with the group at Jean’s house, she had no human companionship other than from her family. In this squalid house on Langworthy Road, Suzanne found a source of human contact and she found it difficult to break that friendship up despite the fact it was abusive.
Then in December of 1992, the group claimed that Suzanne had stolen a pink duffle coat and infected them all with pubic lice. At the time, Anthony was having sexual relations with Jean, Bernadette and Suzanne. According to Anthony, he must have contracted the pubic lice from Suzanne. While these grievances – whether true or not – would appear insubstantial and trivial, the cumulative effect was to bring Suzanne into contempt and then turn that contempt into hostility. On the 7th of December, 1992, the gang lured her from her stepfather’s home back to their home under the pretence that a guy who she fancied was there and was wanting to see her. Once inside, Suzanne was held down while Glyn shaved her head, eyebrows, and pubic area. Afterwards, he placed a plastic bag over her head and walked around her while hitting her on the head. Laughing and shouting, the gang took turns hitting her with belt buckles and large ornamental wooden spoons. The beating was so severe that one of Suzanne’s arms would hang useless by her side for the rest of her imprisonment. Following the beating, Suzanne was locked in a cupboard.
Out of fear Suzanne’s cries and screams were disturbing Jean and Bernadette’s children who also lived in the grimy home, the gang moved her to Bernadette’s abandoned home which was just a few doors down. Here, Suzanne was shackled spread eagle to an upturned bed with chains and ropes. She had socks stuffed in her mouth to muffle any screams. Over the next five days, Suzanne was subjected to a catalogue of torture. Her two front teeth were pulled out with pliers and another was snapped in half, leaving the nerve exposed. She was injected with amphetamines and burned on the face and body with cigarettes. After the stench of Suzanne lying in her own excrement became unbearable, she was shoved into a bathtub filled with concentrated disinfectant and scrubbed with a yard brush until her skin came off. Through all of the torture and abuse, Suzanne was subjected to a tape of Chucky repeating: “I’m Chucky, wanna play?” through headphones as well as rave music at maximum volume.
In the early morning hours of the 14th of December, 1992, Suzanne was forced into the boot of a Fiat Panda car that the gang has stolen. They drove her to remote woodland near Stockport where she was forced out of the car and shoved down an embankment, rolling through dank leaves and brambles, with thorns cutting her bare feet. Bernadette poured petrol over the terrified teenager and they set her alight. “She went straight up in flames and was screaming,” said Jean. The gang presumed she was dead and left the scene laughing and singing “burn, baby, burn.”2 However, Suzanne didn’t die as quickly and anonymously as the gang had hoped… Somehow Suzanne managed to survive the brutal attack. She staggered up the embankment and was found by Barry Sutcliffe, who was driving to work. When she was found, Suzanne repeatedly thanked Barry before muttering: “Over there, in the field. They burnt me, they put petrol on me…”3 Barry did not need to be told what had happened to Suzanne, it was clear from the skin hanging from her battered body. Suzanne had suffered from burns to 80% of her body.
Unfortunately, Suzanne died four days later in Withington Hospital but not before she named all of her killers. “It was clear from the outset that Suzanne was unlikely to survive. She suffered superficial but widespread burns that led to several complications internally. There was a partial collapse in one of her lungs,” said Dr. William Lawler, a Home Office pathologist.4
When police arrived at 97 Langworthy Road, they were met by a complete and utter mess. The living room was strewn with rubbish and there were stolen car seats along the walls in lieu of sofas. In the home, they found Suzanne’s hair in the bin, a pair of bloody pliers and Suzanne’s discarded teeth. Initially, the gang all denied any involvement but then Anthony, urged by his father, began to tell the truth. “As the story began to unfold, we just couldn’t believe it. I kept asking myself how one human being could do this to another,” said a detective working on the case.5 Even the most hardened officers were moved to tears.
During the trial, the gang turned on each other to alleviate the blame from themselves. Also, all of them distanced themselves from the final act of horror of the burning of Suzanne. According to Jean, she sat in the car while the others set Suzanne alight. “I was numb. I was scared,” she alleged.6 She also claimed that she had locked Suzanne in a cupboard “for her own safety” and that she loved “her as a sister,” adding that she “can’t stand violence. I don’t even smack my own children.7 Bernadette claimed she had held the canister of petrol but said that Anthony had grabbed it from her moments before Suzanne went up in flames. She also claimed that she had injected Suzanne with amphetamines to protect her from being injected with heroin. Anthony told the court that Glyn had been the one to set Suzanne on fire.
During the sentencing phase, Judge Francis Potts called the murder “as appalling a murder as it is possible to imagine.” He sentenced Jean Powell, Bernadette McNeilly and Glyn Powell to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years. Jeffrey Leigh was sentenced to 12 years. Anthony Dudson was detained indefinitely with a minimum tariff of 18 years. Clifford Hayes was sentenced to 15 years. In 2012, Jean Powell’s sentence was reduced by two years after she allegedly showed remorse and helped prevent a jail escape. Bernadette McNeilly (who enjoyed a romance with Myra Hindley behind bars), Jeffrey Leigh and Clifford Hayes have all since been released.
- The Times, 18 December, 1993 – “Gentle Teenager Was Fatally Attracted to House of Evil”
- The Independent, 18 December, 1993 – “Petty Grudges Settled by Torture Spree then Murder”
- The Times, 18 November, 1993 – “Burns Girl Politely Thanked her Rescuers”
- The Times, 9 January, 1993 – “Coroner Told How 16-year-old Girl was Tortured and Burnt”
- The Guardian, 18 December, 1993 – “Sadistic Death Went Beyond Belief”
- The Independent, 1 December, 1993 – “Woman Sat Numb as Girl Burned”
- The Guardian, 18 December, 1993 – “Dominant Personalities Who Can Draw Individuals into Group Sadism”
That poor girl. Every parent should take this as a cautionary tale of what happens when a child is starved for attention.
Yea… IF her parents cared for her. Which they didn’t.
Read it again, “pubic” NOT “public”
haha, idiots .
You are incredibly stupid.
Wow! Totally uncalled for you’re an asshole for your comment
Absolutely no need to be rude. show some respect
How were any of them released? How are they able to continue with their lives? Disgusting, horrible and just ugly. Humanity will never cease to amaze me.
Yep and they were given new identities in order to protect them! They certainly don’t deserve to get new identities to protect them from the public! They should be put through everything they put Suzanne through! Never ceases to amaze me that they give these monsters new lives and safety. Anyone capable of doing what they did has zero business being allowed out around the public ever again!
None of these ever should have been released, that poor girl how she must have suffered,
This was my second cousin that this happened too and the lot of them should of been tortured just like the tortured my cousin!
I agree 100%! Anyone capable of doing something like this to another human being should never ever be allowed back out into the public, let alone given new identities for their own protection! They deserve to go through every single thing they put Suzanne through. Makes me sick that they were released. Idc how much remorse you show, no normal human is capable of doing what they did! There’s no way to ever be a good person ever again.
RIP Baby girl.
they deserved life w/o parole wat they to tha poor grl ,they are cold hearted killers
Unfortunately even if they did get whole life tariff which k agree they should of done if you look at the very few people that are on whole life orders and the lavish lives they get these fuckers would probably get cushy lives if they got a life order so you can’t win really with true justice
Her mother should be behind bars as well. She refused to let her child into her home because her bf wouldn’t be happy!? What a bitch. If there’s a hell I hope these bastards all burn for eternity…feel the pain they gave her. Some people suffer so much in this life and it’s appalling. Makes you wonder why…
Sadly there are definitely mothers like this! Years ago I was homeless with my infant son and I desperately needed a place to stay. I tried going to my mothers, but because her husband didn’t like me, we were unable to stay. The few times we did get to stay we were put in a basement closet with a small mattress. Luckily my mother has left that man, but it still hurts me til this day that she allowed him to have so much control over her. I would never ever ever allow my son to be homeless and he… Read more »
Seeing pics of her mum “weeping” at this poor girl’s funeral enrages me. How dare she act the part of a grieving mother when she abandoned her daughter numerous times…the last time when it was clear she really and truly needed help from somebody. It is so horrific I can hardly comprehend. I hope she is resting in peace, that poor child.
[…] Thompson, “One week of Sadism – The murder of Suzanne Capper” from Morbidology.com https://morbidology.com/one-week-of-sadism-the-murder-of-suzanne-capper/ (1 March […]
I remember this horrific crime very well but as it was around the same time as the Jamie Bulger murder it meant it was pushed out of the limelight . I do however remembering hearing the news headlines on Radio One that morning that a young girl had been found alive with horrific burns near Stockport and it kind of stayed with me. When I read the full report a few months later what had happened I couldn’t believe that any filth could stoop so low and do that to another human being. I only hope that those involved live… Read more »
there is not a decent bone in any of their bodies ..
KARMA is a B
This case should have had a death penalty
British justice is a joke. It’s worse than America’s, if that’s possible.
How would you know?
I would have to agree with you there. It’s unbelievable when I hear about multiple murder criminals getting paroled after so many years. At least in America if you’re a convicted multiple murderer, when you receive life you better damn well believe they will die incarcerated.
That is why we have a death penalty. Some people do not deserve to live anymore
These killers should never have been released. While I don’t think too much of America’s legal system, the sentences of 200+ years handed out to killers are sentences of which I greatly approve.
Those people will pay……. Everyone always does in the end….. No one gets away with nothing really, you may think they do but that is only an earthly illusion. Be in 50, 100 , 300, or a thousand years, eventually each of those individuals will have to face, be truth full and come to terms with the horrors that were done and all the pain it caused not just to Suzanne but to all the people that loved her and even how their actions effected the people they loved to and who loved them, it can take a soul a… Read more »
Man, I fucking hope so…
Why are people so evil.
I’ve been asking myself this same question for years (and I’m 56 yrs old) and I still can’t find an answer.
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Why did they do all of these horrific torture? She was only 16
She had a future in front of her. I hope that whoever suggested this treatment will get prison justice from inside
her cell. Stuffed socks in the mouth. Hell will be waiting for them. Bring back Hanging
NONE of them should have EVER been release!
Hearing this sort of thing makes me wish so badly that I believed in Heaven and Hell. Because no one deserves to burn in hell for all eternity more than these demon spawn masquerading as humans. Unfortunately for me I don’t know what I believe in and I hate to think of them never receiving the punishment they truly warrant, prison time in this instance just doesn’t cut it!
This poor girl. Everyone in this girls life leaves her for drugs. Except her stepdad so basically she was failed all throughout her life. She servived the worsted attack and brutal murder so she named her attackers and she dies and they system failed her by letting them out….. they all should of been put to death. None of them should if ever seen the light of day again. Pour EVIL.
I hope they all die One by one in the streets , like the fkn animals that they are …
Do not insult animals by calling those things animals.
I agree even animals looks after there own
Disgusting this was how another human being can do this to another is unreal ,I live round the corner from the house where it happened and still remember it till this day ,cant even imagine how she was feeling poor girl ,they should of hanged for what they did not just shoved In a cell ,rats that’s all they are
Ridiculous short amount of time for a crime this horrific, would have got longer if they had stole money. The British justice system at its best……absolutely joke.
I hope that Suzanne Capper was able to find peace in the afterlife. 🤍🕊️
i hope she forgets all about it in heaven and those vile Fucks rot in hell and they’ll be tortured unimaginably for all eternity
I met Bernadette a couple of years ago, she was a friendly and funny lady, and I only found out about what she did after I’d met her. I think it’s one of the most shocking and disturbing crimes I’ve ever heard about.
Shes only putting it on as an act not because she nessasrily wants to better herself as a person or that she’s actually “remorseful ” or “sorry” for what she’s done she just dosent want to go back to prison because she enjoys the “cushy high life” that the parole board provides her ,alright no one wants to go to prison but for fuck sake in this country they get fucking ridiculously cushy life and they get more than the homeless and they don’t even deserve it
The prison sentences are a straight up joke.
I don’t understand how any of the people involved did not get life without the possibility of parole because they are all very disturbed,I can’t even call them human beings because what they did was psychopathic. In my opinion they still pose a threat to society so how do you justify letting them out.
I remember being in HMP Risley in 1994 (when it still held women) and the 2 girls who did this were in there. They were on protection and would be verbally abusive to everybody
Makes me sick to my stomach that they walk the streets today!! 25 years is actually nothing when you think about it!? It done and over with, that poor girl 😥 forever 16 💖
This should become more public, even though it’s so disturbing and awful what those 6 people did to Suzanne. Like 29/20 or dateline, just something to put out there about these evil evil people .
Seriously im from indonesia. But im too cry to read this case. How cruel suzanna’s mother didnt want her to live in her house. And also. The craziest gang killed her badly. Im so hurt so much. I hope she get rest in peace. I learnt from this story, please dont trust everyone which you didnt know so much. Suzanna is too kind thats why they used her for abusive 😥
And just think religious cretins that if these pieces of shit give themselves to Jesus they will be forgiven. Therefore a lovely place in heaven. Think about it religious fools when you talk to yourself (pray) .
Good job there is no God and we are just another species of animal .Some which are good and some like these which are pieces of shite are hideously vile and need putting down .
No need to insult religious people–that was totally uncalled for. But yes, I hope they burn in hell, or better stil, their cover gets blown and their identities revealed–then hopefully they will face full on retribution.
They deserve the death thing