The Sadistic Murder Of Suzanne Capper: The Manchester Teenager Tortured To Death By Her Friends

The horrific story of Suzanne Capper is one of the most sadistic murders in British history. In December 1992, the teenager from Greater Manchester was the victim of a horrific week of torture before being burned alive.

Suzanne Capper was the victim of sadistic torture at the hands of her "friends"
Suzanne Capper was the victim of sadistic torture at the hands of her "friends"

Suzanne Capper was just 16 years old when she was brutally murdered in Greater Manchester, England. The crime was one of the most sadistic killings in British history, however, the case was somewhat ignored by the press due to the murder of 2-year-old James Bulger that took place just two months earlier.


The young teenager was known as a quiet girl with very few friends, who tried her best to keep the few connections she had close to her, despite how badly they treated her.


This is the shocking story of the murder of Suzanne Capper.


Suzanne Capper Was Long Mistreated By Her "Friends" Before Her Death


Suzanne Capper was born in Greater Manchester in 1976. Described by her mother as a "very forgiving" girl, Suzanne grew up with her sister Michelle, neither of whom knew their biological father.



Both sisters were raised by their mother Elizabeth Dunbar and their step-father, John Capper. When Suzanne was just 14 years old, her parents separated - a split that proved to be a traumatic time for the entire family.


Suzanne and Michelle spent their time split between the home of their mother, their step-father, friends of the family, and even the care of local authorities. It was this instability in her home life that ultimately led Suzanne Capper to the home of Jean Powell.


Suzanne Capper met Jean Powell after an unplanned encounter with Jean's younger brother, Clifford Pook, who was sitting by the roadside one day upset about a situation with his girlfriend. Suzanne had approached him to make sure he was okay.


It was shortly after this that Jean and Suzanne met.


Jean Powell was 26 years old and lived in a run-down home with her three children near where John Capper lived.


Suzanne Capper began babysitting Jean's young children for free, spending the night at their home and bunking off school the following day.


It didn't take long before Suzanne was spending more time with Jean and her friends that anyone else. Her family was completely unaware of the disturbing goings-on happening in the background.


Suzanne Capper's mother later said: "We found out that Jean had taken Suzanne out of school and was making her work as a cleaner at the CIS building in town.


"She was taking her money, just letting her keep £5 a week, while we thought she was in school. When we actually confronted her about it, she actually threatened to burn our house down."


When a neighbour called Bernadette McNeilly moved in, the real trouble started.


Bernadette McNeilly and Jean Powell Were A Match Made In Hell


Bernadette McNeilly, 24, was living just a few doors down from Jean Powell with her own three children. However, by 1992, her and her children were practically living in Powell's house.


The dilapidated house, which was already suffering squalid conditions, quickly turned into a den of sex, drugs, and all-night parties.



The duo began taking and selling large quantities of amphetamines, resorting to sleeping with men and selling stolen car parts in exchange for more drugs.


A 16-year-old boy named Anthony Dudson began having sexual relations with McNeilly, Powell, and Suzanne Capper.


The property was often visited by drug addict Jeffrey Leigh, 26, Clifford Pook, and Jean's 29-year-old ex-husband Glyn Powell.


Suzanne Cappers Killers
Top: Glyn Powell, Bernadette McNeilly, Clifford Pook. Bottom: Anthony Dudson, Jean Powell, Jeffrey Leigh

During one of their frequent drug-fueled parties, this time in late November 1992, Suzanne Capper and Jean Powell met a man by the name of Mohammed Yussif. Capper had attempted to encourage Jean to sleep with him - a proposition that Jean was not happy about.


During a later police interview, Jean told police that she gave Suzanne Capper a "good hiding for trying to make her go with an Arab."


However, Suzanne Capper told neighbours that Jean Powell had tied her up and kept her hostage for four days after the incident. None of the neighbours believed her.


This was the first of several disagreements that ultimately led to the brutal murder of Suzanne Capper.


On a separate occasion, McNeilly, Dudson, Jean, and Glyn Powell, all caught pubic lice for which Suzanne Capper was blamed by Bernadette McNeilly. This resulted in the group forcing Suzanne to shave her public hair in front of them all before cleaning it off the floor.



McNeilly then became convinced that Suzanne Capper had stolen a pink duffle coat from her.


On December 7, 1992, Bernadette McNeilly and Jean Powell turned up at John Capper's house and invited Suzanne to a party, they told her that a local boy who she liked was going to be there. However, there was no party, and there was no boy.


The Sadistic Torture And Brutal Murder Of Suzanne Capper


High on amphetamines at Powell's house were Anthony Dudson, Glyn Powell, Jean Powell, and Bernadette McNeilly. Once they had lured Suzanne to the property they attacked her, shaved her head, beat her with belts and wooden utensils, and suffocated her with a plastic bag.


They then locked Suzanne in a cupboard and left her there all night, the six children who were present at the property could hear her screams and cries for hours.


Suzanne Capper crime scene
Suzanne Capper was tied to this bedframe for five days while tortured by her supposed friends

The following day, the group moved Suzanne Capper to McNeilly's previous address, ensuring no children were present to hear the screams of the teenager. Suzanne was tied to an old bed frame with belts, rope, chains, and cord, while the group injected themselves with amphetamines, and started their horrific days-long torture.


McNeilly started impersonating the character "Chucky" from the Child's Play movie after taking huge amounts of drugs.


Jeffrey Leigh and Clifford Pook also took part in the torture of Suzanne Capper during visits to the property.


Suzanne had socks put in her mouth to prevent her from screaming. She was forced to bath in disinfectants, causing severe burning to her body. The group constantly stubbed out cigarettes on her skin.


Not long before her death, Suzanne was injected with amphetamines by Bernadette McNeilly, she then put headphones over her ears and played loud rave music featuring Chucky's catchphrase on repeat: "I'm Chucky. Wanna play?"


The group by now had made the decision to kill Suzanne Capper - they pulled out two of her front teeth in an attempt to make identifying her body difficult for authorities.


Jeffrey Leigh stole a car and the group bundled Suzanne into the boot, driving her to woodland near Stockport, 13 miles away from the house.


McNeilly, Dudson, and Leigh, forced Suzanne through brambles and threw her almost entirely naked on the floor, before Bernadette McNeilly covered her in petrol.


Jean Powell later said in court: "I saw a flash, I turned around and looked and saw Suzanne in flames. She was screaming. I was numb. I was scared."


The group left Suzanne burning in the early hours of the morning, on the way home singing, "Burn, Baby, Burn".



Miraculously Suzanne Capper wasn't dead yet. She managed to pull herself to the side of a road, where she was seen by a passing motorist.


Suzanne was rushed to hospital, where she told police who she was, what had happened to her, and exactly who had been involved in her horrific torture.


She soon fell into a coma and tragically died in Withington Hospital on December 18.


Jean Powell, Glyn Powell, and Bernadette McNeilly were all sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Suzanne Capper - McNeilly's sentence was later reduced by 12 months in a decision that was extremely controversial after being labelled as a "model prisoner, filled with remorse."


Leigh was released in 1998, Pook in 2001, and Anthony Dudson in 2013.


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