Book Quote Friday: 'Terry Bell: Failed Killer'

     Or the most pathetic, depending on how you look at it. I found this excerpt in a book whilst browsing the bookshelf at my in-laws' (I think some kind of sport may have been on) and I could not breath/speak/explain for a good, well, 10 minutes at least.

     If only this guy had meant his actions to have been funny; as it was, he was just a VERY poor assassin.

"Bell, Terence (1932-97), building-society clerk.

      Bell, of Southsea, Hampshire, made seven attempts to kill his wife without her noticing that anything was wrong. In 1980 he took out an insurance policy that would yield £250,000 in the event of her accidental death. He then put a lethal dose of mercury in her strawberry flan, but it rolled off the plate. Next he laced her mackerel with the entire contents of the bottle. This time she ate it, but with no side effects at all. He then took her on holiday to Yugoslavia. Recommending the panoramic views, he suggested she sit at the edge of a cliff. She refused, prompted by what she later called 'a sixth sense'. When Mrs Bell was in bed with chickenpox, he started a fire outside her bedroom door, but a neighbour put it out. He then started another fire that burnt down the house, but Mrs Bell escaped unhurt. Finally, he asked her to stand in the middle of the road so that he could test the brakes on his car by driving straight at her. Since nothing could destroy her, Bell gave up and made a full confession to the police. According to Detective Constable Harry Legge of the Hampshire CID, Mrs Bell was dumbstruck when told of her husband's plot to kill her.'

'Brewer's Rogues, Villains and Eccentrics: An A-Z of Roguish Britons Through the Ages', William Donaldson, 2002.


  1. Ha ha ha. It gets funnier every time I read it. Nice.

  2. I can almost see him shrugging his shoulders and turning towards the police station with the despondence of a man defeated! He made some effort though, this Mr Bell and for the toll of his name as an upstanding murderer to be dampened by the carelessness of his wife with her strawberry flan - outrageous!

  3. If only she'd picked it up off the floor...probably wouldn't have made any difference...


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