Customer Review

76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will alter your judgement..., 12 Jun 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Cries Unheard: the Story of Mary Bell (Paperback)
I, like countless others found the Bell case and the more recent Bulger case totally heinous. I formed the opinion that these 'evil' children deserved to be detained indefinitely, and that Mary never should have been allowed to have a child of her own.
I read this book purely out of curiosity, and I finished the book with a totally different judgement.
The author Gitta Sereny followed the initial case, attended the trial and wrote the book 'The case of Mary bell'. She wrote in a recent publication of her hopes of one day writing Mary's own account of the terrible tot murders in Newcastle in 1968.
Mary finally decided to talk to Gitta Sereny in 1995 and for a year, they collaborated to produce 'Cries Unheard'. At no point in the book does Mary attempt to excuse the terrible crimes she committed. The book concentrates on the painful suffering childhood Mary endured at the hands of her Mother, a prostitute who introduced Mary to the most horrendous kind of child abuse and how the legal system appallingly mismanaged her time in detention.
Gitta Sereny searches for reasons as to why certain children take the leap from being simply 'off the rails' to committing heinous crimes. Contrary to the judges opinion at Bell's trial that she was a monster and born evil, that all children are born good and pure and that childhood influences mainly parental can take a child to breaking point and commit crime.
After reading this book I think you will feel what I now feel towards Mary Bell, utter sadness and pity that social workers or the legal system did not intervene or become aware of Mary's disturbances. The saddest thing of all is that if they had been as vigilant as Gitta Sereny and probed a lot deeper into the reasons behind Mary's actions, the two little boys would have very likely been alive today.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jun 2012 10:44:00 BDT
J. Castle says:
The commentator appears to believe May Bell without question who, I believe, acted from motives of self-interest and the sum of around 50,000 she received. Did she donate any of this to the families of the two murdered boys? Easy to blame her mother when her mother was dead and couldn't answer back. I note Bell didn't speak out when her mother was alive. People who knew her mother stated that Bells' description of her was in error. One of the psychiatrists who examined Bell after the murders said she was the most manipulative child he had ever come across.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2013 16:55:31 GMT
Liam Sizer says:
You should research the facts before making wild statements. Mary Bell's mother was well known in the area and by local social services to be a prostitute. If social services had been more reactive then those two poor little boys may not have died. Why is it that people with obvious prejudices, such as yourself, which cloud their judgement so much that they cannot accept that children who commit heinous crimes have been warped by their own childhood experiences at the hands of abusive parents etc? Whilst it's true that not every abused child becomes a killer, thank goodness, the hurt comes out in many ways. Many become abusers of their own or other children, thereby creating more potential killers and abusers. Others become introverted and lead lonely, unfulfilled lives.
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