This week, Drew and Yergy discuss the horrific torture and murder of Suzanne Capper, which was committed in Greater Manchester, England in December of 1992. Sixteen-year-old Suzanne Jane Capper died in Withington Hospital on December 18th 1992, from multiple organ failure while in a coma arising from 80% burns after she was deliberately set on fire days prior.
Before her death, Capper related that she had previously been kidnapped and kept prisoner for seven days at a house in Moston, Manchester, where she was beaten and tortured. Suzanne was taken from the house by car, driven into the countryside and then forced out of the car virtually naked into the woods at Werneth Low where petrol was poured over her and she was set alight. The torture and murder arose from the “avenging of trivial grievances: a sexual insult, infection with pubic lice and the loss of a pink duffel coat.”
Detectives conducting the inquiry said that “for sheer mindless brutality” the crime ranked alongside the torture inflicted on children by the Moors murderers. The case went to trial in November 1993, but received “comparatively little publicity” as it coincided with the trial of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables for the murder of James Bulger.
On December 17th 1993, Jean Powell, aged 26, her ex-husband Glyn Powell, aged 29, and Bernadette McNeilly, aged 24, were sentenced to life imprisonment for their parts in the murder. Jeffrey Leigh, aged 27, was jailed for twelve years for false imprisonment. Jean Powell’s brother Clifford Pook, aged 18, was sentenced to fifteen years in a Young Offenders’ Institution for false imprisonment and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm. Anthony Michael Dudson, who was 16 years old at the time of the murder, was also found guilty of murder and sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure under section 53(1) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.
During Suzanne’s imprisonment and torture, there were several times in which bystanders could have taken action to save Suzanne’s life, but all failed to do so. Suzanne’s family claimed ignorance of the direness of her situation, but all had turned Suzanne away when she had come to them for help prior to her death. Unfortunately, bystander apathy mixed with a toxic cocktail of a drug filled mob mentality were Suzanne’s undoing, and another young British girl was senselessly lost.
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