A FILM documenting the tragic story of a Darlington woman who murdered her disabled son has netted an international award.

An Unfortunate Woman, by North-East film company PIMM Productions, was recently named Best Narrative Short Film at the Mosaic World International Film Festival.

It follows the true story of Kathleen Mulraney who lived in Darlington in the early 1900s and killed her severely disabled son, Derek.

Loading article content

Ms Mulraney, who was brought up in a Catholic orphanage where she was treated brutally by nuns, murdered Derek in a bid to save him from being institutionalised, potentially suffering the same fate.

Initially sentenced to hang, she was released from prison after a year after a reporter took up her cause and campaigned on her behalf, saying it was a mercy killing.

The story came to light following family tree research by Darlington-based writer Ian Carter who later penned the script with fellow North-East writers Paul Hodgson and Margaret Collins, while Harry Potter actor Sean Cronin took on the role of director.

The film was shot around the North-East at locations including the Beamish Museum, Consett Police Station, Darlington’s Queen Elizabeth College and the Forester’s Arms pub in Coatham Mundeville.

In May, it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival where it received positive reviews and has since been entered into several film competitions, beating off entries from 32 countries to win at the Mosaic festival.

Mr Hodgson said: “We are ecstatic, it’s brilliant and totally unexpected – we only entered to try and get a bit more recognition, but we had a great team and this means a lot of people are now feeling really proud.

“We didn’t travel out to receive the award because we’re working on our next film, Acceptance, which tells the the story of my life as a disabled person and how I overcame many adversities to get where I am today.”

Following the festival season, its creators will look at selling the rights for TV adaptation.

PIMM Productions is now looking for investment to develop the feature-film length Acceptance, which explores Mr Hodgson’s life, friendships and strong bond with Darlington Football Club.

The team has turned to crowdfunding site GrowthFunders in a bid to raise £691,387.

Potential investors can sign up to receive incentives and rewards at growthfunders.com/investments/pitches/view/37.