The Case of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered

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The Case of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered

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Highlights

  • ENGLISH

    Language
  • 352

    Pages
  • 9780712662970

    ISBN
  • 2 mm

    Width
  • 13 mm

    Height
  • 21 gram

    Weight
  • THE

    Edition
  • PAPERBACK

    Binding
  • 2 FEBRUARY 1995

    Publish Date

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    Description

    In December 1968 two girls who lived next door to each other - Mary, aged eleven, and Norma, thirteen - stood before a criminal court in Newcastle, accused of strangling two little boys; Martin Brown, four years old, and Brian Howe, three.Norma was acquitted. Mary Bell, the younger but infinitely more sophisticated and cooler of the two, was found guilty of manslaughter. She evaded being branded as a murderer due to what the court ruled as 'diminished responsibility', but she was sentenced to 'detention' for life.Step by step, Gitta Sereny pieces together a gripping and rare study of a horrifying...  Read More

    About the Author

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    Gitta Sereny

    Gitta Sereny was a journalist, biographer and historian. She passed away in England aged 91, following a long illness.

    Gitta attributed her fascination with evil to her own experiences of Nazism as a child of central Europe in the early 20th century. Hers was not a happy childhood. She was born in Vienna, the daughter of a beautiful Austrian actress, whom she later described as without moral opinions, and a wealthy Hungarian landowner. Her father, Gyula, died when she was a child; her elder brother left home at 18 and disappeared from her life; Gitta herself was sent to Stonar House boarding school in Sandwich, Kent, an experience she remembered with some affection.

    In 1934, while changing trains in Nuremberg on a journey home from school, she witnessed the Nuremberg Rally and was profoundly moved by the beauty of the spectacle, joining in the crowds ecstatic cheering. These favourable impressions of the Nazis survived both a reading of Mein Kampf and the 1938 Anschluss, when Hitler annexed a quiescent Austria. The grim realities of Nazism, however, soon began to affect her life in Vienna where she was, by then, a drama student.

    She later described seeing a Jewish doctor she knew well being forced to clean pavements with a toothbrush; the terror became more personal after her mother, Margit, with whom Gitta had a poor relationship, became engaged to Ludwig von Mises, the Jewish economist. Von Mises had left Austria for Switzerland, but a German friend tipped Margit off that the authorities planned to arrest her to oblige him to return. Margit promptly fled to Switzerland with her daughter.

    In Switzerland, Gitta was sent to a finishing school. Never accommodating to her mothers plans, she promptly absconded, first to London then to Paris. Margit and von Mises moved to the US. Gitta, eventually, was also obliged to flee, first across the Pyrenees to Spain, then to the US.

    She returned to Paris four months after the war ended, to joi

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