BURNED ALIVE: The Cruel Murder of Suzanne Capper

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In December of 1992, a sixteen year old girl from Manchester, England was brutally tortured for a week. Her captors took her out into the woods, doused her with gasoline and set her on fire.

They were not prepared for what happened next ….

Household of Evil

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Suzanne Capper was a gentle natured and easily influenced girl who came from a broken family. At 15 she started skipping school soon after the divorce of her parents.

She spent most of her time at the house of 25 year old, Jean Powell a mother of three for whom she had babysat since age 10.

Powell dealt in the business of amphetamines and stolen cars. She had recently befriended a neighbor by the name of Bernadette McNeilly also with three children of her own.

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The two women ended up moving in together and shared a bed in the dining room. Suzanne continued to hang out at the house even though she was consistently bullied by both Powell and McNeilly.

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Despite her ill treatment, Suzanne was a willing servant of of the women pampering their every whim.

Powell had been separated from her ex husband Glyn but still remained friendly with him. She had two other lovers, Anthony Dudson who happened to be the 16 year old boyfriend of McNeilly and Jeffrey Leigh one of her customers. Her younger brother Clifford Pook also frequented the house.

In November 1992, Dudson contracted public lice and had blamed McNeilly for the STD. His girlfriend upset by the accusation shifted the blame upon Suzanne as she also used the bed McNeilly went on to claim that the girl had also stolen her pink duffel coat and had tried to persuade Powell to become a prostitute.

Anthony Dudson, McNeilly’s 16 year old boyfriend.

Suzanne was about to become the scapegoat of one extremely dysfunctional and evil household.

7 Days of Agonizing Torture

The group decided on December 7th, 1992 that it was time for Suzanne to be punished for behavior. She was grabbed at the house by Dudson, Powell and her former husband Glyn.

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Glyn Powell

Glyn Powell started things off by shaving Suzanne’s hair and eyebrows. He then placed a plastic bag over her face and circled around her viciously hitting her on the head.

Jean Powell and McNeilly kicked her as she layed curled up on the floor beating her with a wooden tool and belt.

They took her into the bathroom and forced her to shave off her pubic hair to avenge the humiliation went through by both Dudson and McNeilly when theirs had to be shaved from the lice.

Suzanne was locked in a cupboard for two days. She was then moved to McNeilly’s house over concerns that her loud crying would upset the six children. There she was tied spread eagle to an overturned bed by an electrical flex.

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Over the next five days Suzanne was regularly beaten, injected with amphetamines and burned with cigarettes.

Crime - Murder of Suzanne Capper - Manchester : News Photo

McNeilly put headphones on the girl and forced her to listen to techno sampled music from the movie Child’s Play at deafening volumes.

She then took delight in beginning each torture session with the phrase “Chucky‚Äôs coming to play” causing Suzanne to scream with terror.

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Pook and Leigh came by the house at one point during the week and witnessed the blindfolded girl gagged and tied to the bed. She had been lying in her own urine and feces for days.

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To clean her off they placed her in a bathtub full of concentrated disinfectant. They scrubbed her so hard with  a stiff brush that it removed her skin.  

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Pook then took pliers and tried to extracted two of her teeth. The botched attempt to remove them was gruesome. Not knowing what he was doing he started off by smacking her teeth into chips with the pliers.

Irritated that they weren’t coming out, he pushed her head forward where he forced out the remainder of the stumps.

Suzanne had one opportunity to be rescued by 20 year old David Hill who was asked to sit in at the house. Upon arrival, he heard screaming coming from the back room and asked what was going on.

When later he was left alone with Suzanne she begged him to untie her. He said he couldn’t. He was horrified by the appearance of the brutally tortured young girl but was too afraid of Leigh to intervene. He figured that would make him next on their list.

Jeffrey Leigh, Amphetamine Customer


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The group learned that Suzanne’s stepfather was going to report her as a missing person. Panicking, all six finally agreed that Suzanne needed to be removed from the house.

On December 14th, Suzanne was thrown into the trunk of a stolen car and driven 15 miles into a wooded area. McNeilly was reported to be giggling throughout the entire journey.

They pushed her down an embankment into bramble and then McNeilly poured gasoline over her. The tortured victim kept losing her balance and was ordered by McNeilly to get up.

McNeilly had trouble getting the gasoline to ignite and Glyn Powell attempted to help using by using an envelope as a taper. After three failed attempts, a frustrated Glyn just went up to her with a lighter and lit her directly on the back.

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A screaming Suzanne went directly up in flames. The flames lit up the whole forest.  McNeilly began to sing “Burn baby burn! Burn baby burn!” from the song Disco Inferno.

Believing that she was dead, the four returned to Jean Powell’s house, stopping to buy canned drinks on the way. Both Leigh and Pook were at the house. Pook asked Glyn if he had done it. Laughing, Glyn said yes and returned Pook’s lighter.

Suzanne Has the Last Word!

Suzanne had in fact miraculously survived. After the group had left she managed to scramble back up the embankment. She then staggered along a lane for approximately a quarter of a mile to a road before being found by three men on their way to work.  

She told them: “Over there, in the field. They burnt me, they put petrol on me.” The men took her to a nearby house and woke the residents, Michael and Margaret Coop, to call for an ambulance.

Michael Coop had said: “Both her hands appeared like ash. Her legs were just like raw meat and her feet appeared to be badly charred. I was struck by how polite the victim was. She was constantly thanking my wife for her assistance.”

Suzanne was a heartbreaking sight. Her face was almost featureless. Her raw red hands couldn’t even hold the six glasses of water that she managed to drink and she couldn’t bear anything near her legs red from top to bottom.

Rushed to the hospital, Suzanne was able to give the names of her six assailants and Powell’s address before falling into a coma.  

She died on 18 December 1992, without regaining consciousness.

The Sentences

Britain it seems is very lenient with it’s punishment for murder.

Jean Powell, Glyn Powell and Bernadette O’Neilly received sentences of approximately 20 – 25 years

Jeffrey Leigh – 12 years

Anthony Dudson – 18 years

Clifford Pook – 15 years.

Leigh was released in 1998, and Pook in May 2001.  

McNeilly was released from prison in December 2014.


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