Ex-BBC war reporter Martin Bell reveals surgeons rebuilt his skull

Ex-BBC war correspondent Martin Bell reveals how surgeons rebuilt his skull after he ‘face planted’ over suitcases at Gatwick leaving him looking like ‘Dracula’s grandfather’

  • 80-year-old former independent MP fell onto concrete floor two months ago
  • Mr Bell fractured both eye sockets, his right maxilla bone, nose and skull
  • He underwent two-and-a-half hours of reconstructive surgery at hospital
  • His fall happened on November 5 at Gatwick Airport’s train ticket office

Former BBC war correspondent Martin Bell has revealed how surgeons rebuilt his skull

Former BBC war correspondent Martin Bell has revealed how surgeons rebuilt his skull after he ‘face planted’ over his suitcases at London Gatwick Airport.

The 80-year-old former independent MP, known for the pale suits he wore while reporting from battlefields, fell onto the concrete floor two months ago.

Mr Bell said he looked like ‘Dracula’s grandfather’ after fracturing both eye sockets, his right maxilla bone, nose and part of the base of his skull.

He underwent two-and-a-half hours of reconstructive surgery at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, and said he now looks ‘like I’ve had Botox’.

His fall happened on November 5 at the airport’s train ticket office as he was returning from a cruise to promote his new book, War And The Death Of News.

Mr Bell, who lives in Hampstead, North London, told the Evening Standard: ‘I have come through 18 wars almost unscathed and I trip up at a railway station.

Mr Bell was hit by a mortar in Sarajevo in 1992, and the shrapnel is still lodged in his body

‘I have no-one else to blame for this. I feel a complete idiot. I was not a pretty sight. I looked like Dracula’s grandfather.’

Mr Bell was initially taken to East Surrey Hospital in Redhill before being transferred to St George’s for surgery at its specialist maxillofacial centre.


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Helen Witherow, consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon, said he had suffered a ‘phenomenal amount’ of damage and needed four surgical plates and 16 screws.

She added: ‘I have never seen anyone sustain these type of fractures. This is a high impact car injury-type fracture.’

Mr Bell, who left the BBC in 1997 to become an independent MP, was hit by a mortar in Sarajevo in 1992, and the shrapnel is still lodged in his body.

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