I’ve just finished reading: The Case of Mary Bell by Gitta Sereny

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This case has always fascinated me but for one reason or another, I’ve never got round to reading up on the case until now. I got it on Boxing Day (Christmas present off my parents) and just finished it in just over a day.

If you’re from the North East of England, you’re probably at least familiar with the basic premise of the case,  that at the age of 11 Mary Bell along with (to a lesser extent) 13 year old Norma Bell (no relation), was responsible for the disappearance and murder of 2 small boys in 1968.

At the time (and even now) she was vilified and deemed “evil”. But after reading this, I came away with a feeling of sympathy/pity for her. While not in any way condoning her crimes, she had a horrific upbringing and very obviously was deeply troubled with severe behavioural problems. It’s a fascinating insight written by someone who actually attended and covered the trial.

This edition features a lengthy postscript about the murder of James Bulger and comparisons between the two cases. While not easy reading in the slightest, I’d definitely recommend this book.

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