The Girls Testify
Norma was the first to take the stand. Her defense lawyer, R. P. Smith, asked her about the day Martin Brown was murdered, how Mary poked her head through the fence (the girls were next door neighbors) and said, "There's been an accident," and took her to the abandoned house were Martin's body had just been discovered. "Mary wanted to tell Rita there had been an accident... and something about blood all over something," said Norma, excitedly.
For the prosecution, Norma was an important witness to Mary's violent disposition. "Did [Mary] ever show you how little boys or girls could be killed? Did she ever show you that?" When Norma answered "yes," Lyons responded, "Well, that was a very naughty thing to do, wasn't it, to think of killing little boys and girls and talk about it?" Norma agreed.
The night before her testimony, Mary asked a policewoman of the meaning of word "immature." "'The lawyer said Norma was more immature,' she'd said. "Would that mean that if I was the more intelligent I'd get all the blame?'"
On the sixth day Mary was called to the stand. The room buzzed with anticipation, according to Sereny: "The public and press galleries were very full, the only day when the atmosphere in the court -- unlike all the other days -- was faintly tinged with that morbid fascination one associates with certain types of murder trials."
Mary was composed and brimming with rationale. Why did Mary ask to see Martin Brown in his coffin? "We were daring each other and one of us did not want to be a chicken or something... " she explained. On the drawing in her school notebook of Martin's body with an incriminating knowledge of the crime scene: "Rumours," she said. "People were just saying there was a bottle of tablets and things spilled out of them. It was just to make it look better and that." She had told the Howes that Norma killed Martin "because I had an argument with Norma that day and I couldn't think of nothing else to say." Mary got the idea that Norma killed by strangulation from TV: "You see that on the television, on the 'Apache' and all that."
Handwriting experts said that the notes were written with both girls' handwriting. In fact, every single letter had to be examined separately, because Mary and Norma had alternated writing (they called it "joining writing."). Norma testified that the idea to write the notes came about in Mary's bedroom, where they were drawing with a red biro pen. Norma said "Mary wanted some notes written ... to put in her shoes." Mary wanted them for the Nursery break-in.
While Mary conceded that the notes were a "joint idea" to write, she insisted it was Norma's idea to take them to the Nursery. "We went--er--Norma says, 'Are you coming to the Nursery?' I says, 'yes, howay then,' because we had broken into it before." She admitted "we were being destructful," but it was all in fun. "We thought it would be a great big joke." Mary was supposed to be "Faggot," and Norma was "Fanny."
Furthermore, Mary insisted, Norma wanted "to get put away," and asked Mary to run away with her. They had run off together before. When asked why Norma wanted to run away, Mary weirdly answered, "Because she could kill the little ones, that's why," she said, her voice getting shriller, "and run away from the police."