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Mary Bell's Early Childhood

Decent Essays
In 1968, 11 year-old Mary Bell walked into a Newcastle courtroom and was subsequently convicted of manslaughter for the slayings of two toddler boys (Fraser & Alderson, 2001). Martin Brown (4) and Brian Howe (3) were strangled to death all because Bell wanted to do so for the sole pleasure and excitement associated with killing (Seamark & Sims, 2009). Bell’s early life certainly paved way for her atrocities a short few years later. Reports from family members and witnesses claimed to have seen Bell’s mother giving her sleeping pills disguised as sweets, in the hopes of getting rid of the child (Sereny, 1998). At the ripe age of 3, Bell was forced into sexual acts with other men by her own mother (Sereny, 1998). These traumatic events was compounded…show more content…
To do so, it must be point to examine Bell’s childhood and all she had to endure. While there is no justification for the death of Brian Howe and Martin Brown, there might be an explanation as to why Bell did what she did. The trauma that Mary Bell endured in early childhood is perhaps the key to providing an answer to the why of the case. Trauma history is universal in children populations suffering from CD (Greenwald, 2002). Trauma is a key characteristic in the etiology of CD, especially when examined with features like lack of empathy, impulsivity, and anger (Greenwald, 2002). Having to be repeatedly subjected to neglect by her own mother it would not be hard to reconcile why Bell grew to be so angry. It certainly did not help that the attention she was given by her mother was as negative as it can get – she was only paid attention to when her mother wanted to use her for the gratification of other men. The sexual abuse Bell suffered at the hands of her caregiver falls in line with research in which this kind of abuse is significantly correlated with CD symptoms (Podurski, et al., 2014).Of the risk factors associated with CD, Bell’s development of the disorder was seemingly associated with the trauma model of disorder. However, within the negative childhood environment, there were other factors embedded that contributed to the overall trauma experience. Bell’s mother showed a severe lack of good parenting skills, most notably maltreatment. Which led to disruption between any positive parent-child interactions (Mash & Wolfe, 2016). The aggression shown by strangling and then describing it with fondness is typical of a child that was physically abused by their parent. The link between abuse and aggression lies in the child’s inability to process social information properly (Mash & Wolfe, 2016). Bell’s
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