Suzanne Capper

Suzanne Capper

Suzanne Capper was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by 6 people she thought were her friends.

Background

Suzanne Capper was born in 1976. She had never known her father and lived with her mother and step-father until they divorced when she was 14. After the divorce she had lived between her mother and step-father’s houses in Manchester, England.  

Suzanne Capper started hanging out with a woman named Jean Powell, 26, who lived at 97 Langworthy  Road in Manchester, England with her 3 children. Bernadette McNeilly, 24, also lived in the home along with her 3 children. Powell would have frequent visitors, one being her ex-husband, Glen Powell, 39. Powell’s younger brother, Clifford Hayes, 18 also visited often. Powell was having sexual relations with two men, Anthony Dudson, 17, and Jeffrey Leigh, 26, who spent a lot of time in the home.

Jean Powell's Mugshot
Glynn Powell's Mugshot

Suzanne was looking for friends when she found this group of people who manipulated and took advantage of her. Suzanne’s mother recalled in an interview after the murder that Powell had convinced Suzanne to work instead of attend school. Suzanne was giving her entire pay check to Powell. Her mother said when they confronted Powell about it she threatened to burn down their home.

Anthony Dudson's Mugshot
Clifford Hayes Mugshot

Powell and McNeilly were involved in various illegal activities. They were dealing drugs- mainly methamphetamines. They were also dealing with stolen car parts and had been in multiple fights with their neighbors. A few weeks before they murdered Suzanne, the girls had beat her up. This had prompted Suzanne to visit her mother and asked if she could move in with her. Suzanne’s mother had told her to give her a few weeks to set a room up for her. Her mother had only seen the bruise on her face, not the other injuries she had sustained. Suzanne had told her neighbors she was tied up by Powell and held for several days but they did not believed her. 

Bernadette McNeilly's Mugshot
Right: Jeffery Leigh's Mugshot

Suzanne Capper continued to spend time in the house regardless of how they treated her. In an interview her sister, Michelle Capper, she stated “It was not that she was scared of them, it’s just that she would do anything for them.” Michelle had lived with Powell for a bit but moved out because she did not like the people that would come to the house. The people who would later kidnap and torture her sister.

Kidnapping & Torture

When Powell, McNeilly, Glyn, and Dudson had contracted pubic lice, they blamed Suzanne for infecting them with it. They accused Suzanne of stealing a pink coat from Powell’s home. In an interview, Powell had stated she was angry with Suzanne for trying to convince her to have sex with a man for money.

On December 7, 1992, the group decided that they would kidnap Suzanne. Powell and McNeilly lured Suzanne to the house by telling her a boy she liked was there. When she entered, Glyn and Dudson grabbed her, and the others began torturing her

The group first shaved all of Suzanne’s hair off, including her eyebrows and pubic hair. They then made Suzanne clean up the mess while hitting and throwing things at her. After she cleaned the mess, they spent the rest of the night kicking and beating Suzanne with wooden objects and belts. They would choke Suzanne by putting a plastic bag over her head and taking it off before she went unconscious. The group forced Suzanne to sleep in a cupboard the first night of her abduction. The next day they moved her to an empty house because Suzanne’s screams were upsetting the children in Powell’s home. 

The group would spend the next 5 days assaulting Suzanne, injecting her with amphetamines, and burning her body with cigarettes. They stood a bed up against the wall and tied her to it, spread out. They would continue to physically and sexually assault Suzanne over the course of her abduction. They would taunt her saying, “Chucky is coming to play”, a quote from a Chucky movie that was released around the time the murder took place. They would constantly make her listen to a track on maximum volume titled, Hi, I’m Chucky (Wanna Play?) by 150 Volts.

Evidence pictures of the bed Suzanne Capper was bound to.

Hayes and Leigh stopped at the house during the week and saw Suzanne, bound and gagged and decided to torture her too. They had not allowed Suzanne to use a bathroom, so she was defecting on herself. The group gave her a bath with disinfecting liquid and scrubbed her until they cut her skin. After the bath, Hayes found a pair of pliers and ordered Suzanne to open her mouth. He told her he was going to rip her teeth out and starting hitting her mouth. He started pulling on a tooth; it snapped in half. He continued to hit her and attempted to remove her teeth. Dudson recalled watching Hayes as he pulled her teething out, laughing.

On December 14, 1992, the group decided they would kill Suzanne. They drove to a secluded area and forced Suzanne to walk almost naked thorns and brambles. McNeilly poured petrol over Suzanne and set her on fire. Powell would later state, “She went straight up in flames and was screaming.” As Suzanne burned alive, the group sang “Burn, baby, burn” while laughing. They left Suzanne to die.

Trial & Sentencing

Suzanne had been able to get up and flag down a car driven by Barry Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe said Suzanne thanked him over and over and had told him what had happened to her. Sutcliffe was able to get Suzanne to a hospital. She succumbed to her injuries 4 days later. Suzanne died from multiple organ failure, the manner was murder. Before she died, Suzanne had named each of her attackers.

The police had searched Powell’s home and found Suzanne’s hair in the garbage along with her teeth and the pliers used to remove them. The group had denied being involved in the torture and murder until Dudson starting telling police what they had done. Each perpetrator began blaming each other for the crimes they committed.

The trial had lasted 22 days, Powell, McNeilly, Glyn and Dudson were found guilty of murder, conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm, and false imprisonment and. Powell, McNeilly, and Glyn each received a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Dudson was detained indefinitely with a minimum of 18 years. The jury found Leigh and Hayes guilty of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and false imprisonment; Leigh was sentenced to 12 years and Hayes received a 15-year sentence.

Leigh had his sentenced reduced to 9 years and was released early in 1998, after serving 6 years. Hayes served 9 years and was released in 2001. McNeilly had her sentenced reduced by 1 year in 2012 and was released from prison in December 2014; she had served 22 years. 

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