In December of 1992, a sixteen-year-old girl named Suzanne Capper 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
Gentle natured Suzanne Capper came from a family broken by divorce. As a result, the 15-year-old started skipping school, preferring to spend her time with her friend, Jean Powell.
Suzanne had been babysitting for Powell since the age of ten. The 25-year-old mother of three had no problem with Suzanne spending so many hours over at her house. The teenager would willingly clean the house and run her errands. The house was a comfortable escape for Suzanne and a place where she felt safe.
Powell dealt in the business of amphetamines and stolen cars. Recently, she had become close friends with a new neighbor by the name of Bernadette McNeilly. McNeilly also was a mother of three and lived only a few houses down the street.
The two women ended up moving in together and shared a bed in the dining room. They both liked to bully Suzanne who despite this would still continue to come over.
Despite her ill treatment, Suzanne was a willing servant of of the women pampering their every whim.
Powell had separated from her ex-husband Glynn although the two remained friends. Furthermore, she was sleeping with both the 16-year-old boyfriend of McNeilly, Anthony Dudson 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. McNeilly shamed by the accusation shifted the blame upon Suzanne as she also used the bed
She then added more fuel to the fire by claiming that the girl had also stolen her pink duffel coat and was trying to persuade Powell to become a prostitute.
Suzanne was about to become the scapegoat of one extremely dysfunctional and evil household.
A Sadistic Week of Torture
The week of punishment began on December 7th, 1992. Dudson, Powell and her former husband Glyn lured Suzanne over, grabbing and physically constraining her.
Glyn Powell started things off by shaving Suzanne’s hair and eyebrows. Next, he placed a plastic bag over her face and circled around her viciously hitting her on the head.
Jean Powell and McNeilly joined in by kicking her as she lay curled up on the floor. They started beating her with a wooden tool and belt.
The trio dragged Suzanne into the bathroom and ordered to shave her genital region as a way to avenge the humiliation of Dudson and McNeilly when they had to do the same earlier to remove the pubic lice.
Not sure what to do with her next, they locked her in a cupboard for two days. They decided to move her to McNeilly’s house concerned that her loud crying would upset the six children. The group tied Suzanne spread eagle to an overturned bed by an electrical flex in a back room.
For the next five days, they beat her, injected her with amphetamines to keep her awake and burned her with cigarettes.
Chucky’s Coming to Play!
McNeilly came up with the brilliant idea to put headphones on the teenager and forced her to listen to techno sampled music from the movie Child’s Play for hours on end at the highest volume possible.
She would take delight in beginning each of these torture sessions with the phrase “Chucky’s coming to play” causing Suzanne to scream with terror. Forced to stay awake with amphetamines and this deafening music, her captors gave her little relief from the torment.
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.
Next, Pook completely botched an attempt to extract two of her teeth with a pair of pliers. Not having a clue in how to execute this task he became frustrated. Thus, he took the pliers and smashed her teeth into chips before attempting to pull at them again. By now he was exasperated and shoved her head forward where he forced out the remainder of the stumps.
A Chance to be Rescued
20-year-old David Hill may have been Suzanne’s one chance of rescue. Because he was a friend they felt they could trust him to watch the house when they left. Hill had no clue what was going on and was alarmed by the screaming coming from the backroom.
Hill agreed to watch her despite his horror at the situation. As he sat by her bed he couldn’t even look at her as she pleaded with him for help. Hill did not want to be next on the list and feared the wrath of Leigh. Suzanne had lost her one and only chance of rescue.
Burn Baby Burn
By now, the disappearance of Suzanne was beginning to concern people and her stepfather planned to report her as a missing person. All six agreed that it was time to get Suzanne out of the house.
On December 14th, 1992, they drove Suzanne for 15 miles in the trunk of a stolen car. McNeilly was apparently giggling as they made their journey into a secluded wooded area.
They pushed her down an embankment into some thick bramble where McNeilly poured gasoline over her. She was unsympathetic to Suzanne’s physical condition which caused her to lose her balance, ordering her to stay on her feet.
Glyn Powell attempted to help McNeilly who had trouble igniting the gasoline. He had tried using an envelope as a taper which he gave up after three failed attempts. By the same token, he took the lighter and held the flame directly to Suzanne’s back.
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. Watching her die they left the woods.
The group of four stopped to buy canned drinks before returning to Leigh and Cook who were waiting at Jean Powell’s house. Pook asked Glyn if he had done it. Laughing, Glyn said yes and returned Pook’s lighter.
Suzanne has the Final Word!
Miraculously, Suzanne had managed to survive!
After the group had left she managed to scramble back up the embankment. A group of three men found her after she had staggered along a lane for approximately a quarter of a mile to the road
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 recalled:
“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 which were red from top to bottom.
Immediately, the Coops had her rushed to the hospital, where Suzanne was able to give the names of her six assailants and Powell’s address before falling into a coma.
Suzanne Capper died on December 18, 1992, without regaining consciousness.
Britain seems to be very lenient with its punishment for murder.
Jean Powell, Glyn Powell, and Bernadette McNeilly received sentences ranging from 20 to 25 years.
Jeffrey Leigh – 12 years (released in 1998).
Anthony Dudson – 18 years
Clifford Pook – 15 years (released in 2001).
Bernadette McNeilly finished serving her time for the murder of Suzanne Capper in December 2014.