On 25 May 1968, the day before her 11th birthday,Mary Flora Bell strangled four-year-old Martin Brown. She was believed to have committed this crime alone although this was later proven false. Her friend Norma Joyce Bell (no relation), age thirteen, assisted Mary with the crimes although Mary was the ringleader and Norma, who was of lower intellect than Mary, was the follower. On 31 July 1968, the girls took part in the death, again by strangulation, of three-year-old Brian Howe. Police reports concluded that Mary Bell had gone back after killing him to carve an “N” into his stomach with a razor; this was then changed with a different hand to an “M”.