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


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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