Shell Dockley

Episode 1.1 – 3.8; 3.16; 5.1 – 5.4

Life, for Kidnap, Torture and Murder.


Sentenced to Life – Shell kidnapped a woman who “stole” her boyfriend, and after some horrific torture, eventually killed her.


Shell was brought up by mother, Rita, an alcoholic who was also aware of the abuse Shell suffered at the hands of her father, and did nothing. Shell had two daughters, Kayley and Dena, who lived with Rita before being taken into care. Shell had a third child, Ronan Beckham Dockley, in prison – but Ronan’s now also in care after Fenner accused her of trying to kill him.

Shell could quite easily be seen as the archetypal prison bully – fuelled by a love of control, and a deep, intense jealousy of anyone who gets what she wants. She wants respect and admiration, and thinks that bullying is the only way to get it – despite her tough exterior, like many bullies, Shell is deeply vulnerable. Although she finds herself able to parade the prison landings as if she might be Queen Bee, she’s also constantly and consistently alone. The only constant companion Shell had was Denny – but Denny’s days as sidekick became numbered with the arrival of mother figure Yvonne Atkins, and Denny’s new girlfriend, Shaz.

Often craving male attention, Shell loves to be a flirt, and thinks her justification as a woman – or a person at all – depends on the attention she gets from male admirers. This is what drove her into the poisonous relationship with Jim Fenner – he beated her and cheated her on numerous occasions, and Shell still went back for more – that is, until she stabbed Fenner in the gut. Fenner eventually got his revenge, however, when he accused Shell of trying to kill her baby, after a pimping partnership with Shell went wrong.

Shell can lie through a teeth and be completely convincing about it: she has a sharp mind and her lies can be thought of on the spot. Shell doesn’t mind crossing people to get what she wants, and can be incredibly spiteful – if you cross her, you’re in trouble, and she won’t forget it. However, Shell has a great sense of humour, and when she’s not being spiteful, can be good fun to be around. Deeply troubled, Shell always cared for her children – that was the one thing most people who knew her well would agree on.

And Shell – once upon a time – really did love Fenner. It’s a shame he didn’t feel the same, but she got her revenge – but he eventually got his, too…

Debra Stephenson

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