Evil or vulnerable and easily led? Readers give their views on Karen Matthews

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Last night's concluding episode of The Moorside left its audience divided. Here are readers' views on the drama.

Lorraine Dykes said: "Brilliant acting and it makes you stop and think about Karen. She, to me, had learning difficulties and a very bad upbringing. It doesn't excuse what she did but makes you think! But back to the acting; absolutely flawless, well done to you all, it makes me proud to be British and proud to be a West Yorkshire lass living on an estate.

Julie Wright added: "She did a terrible thing, but I think she lacked the mental capacity to understand that and I don't think she was bright enough to hatch the plan alone. Unpleasant for everyone involved."

Louise Barnes commented: "The acting was good but why did Julie decide to take it all on her shoulders to organise everything and push, did she have an idea of what was going on? The programme made me wonder if some of the actions really did happen or was it highly dramatised for TV. I did expect more backlash from the community and they didn't go into much detail about Craig. I think this could have been better if more was explained, maybe over a four-week period rather than the two episodes."

Tara Richardson said: "It's sad, but it's also true. These things happen. Karen was clearly in a state of distress due to her home life, as stated last night. She was weak, a liar...but seemingly very naive and vulnerable too. A white lie that went a huge leap too far. I am by no means condoning what she did, but it showed how a community can come together in a time of need. There's sometimes a stigma associated with 'council estates'..some people seem to associate them with the likes of 'Shameless'. I thought the acting was brilliant, even down to Natalie and Julie opening up to each other about what they went through as youngsters, then what later came out about Karen...goes to show how people deal with situations differently. I just hope all this isn't going to affect Shannon now."

Alison Oxley commented: "Fantastic acting; can't decide what to think about Karen. Thought-provoking"

Lisa Saniforth wrote: "I was left feeling a bit sorry for Karen...she clearly did a terrible thing, but can you honestly say she is all there and wasn't taken advantage of?"

Karlene Hannam added: "Found it heartbreaking, friendship is such a powerful thing as tonight's episode showed. If you believe the story then she really was a weak, damaged woman. Karen deserved what she got but it proves there needs to be more help and support for such people. Only my personal views. A powerful, well-written drama."

Mark Gaines commented: "I thought she was hard done by to be honest. She clearly was desperate to rid herself of the boyfriend and she was skint with not much hope. It was a bit of a mess but to give her eight years when you can clearly see her intelligence is low was very excessive. Her friend Julie though was the real bright light in all this. She fought for everything and rallied the community. She then was shattered when the truth emerged but still refused to give in to the wolves that were baying for her friend's blood. Her statement in court took lots of bottle and what a bloody good friend to have. She is what a true friend is all about."

Alex Wharton agreed: "Clearly a woman with mental health issues, not had the best of times in her life, but what she did to her daughter was inexcusable. Unfortunately things like this will increase with the decline of social care and people not knowing where to go to seek help. The best thing about the tragic events was the friendship from Julie."

Katie Ellis said: "There must be others involved somewhere. Karen was just not smart enough to come up with the idea in my opinion. Finished watching feeling sorry for her, which I was surprised at! She's clearly been abused and been taken advantage of her whole life."

Valerie McAlister commented: "I wish everyone would stop saying she had mental issues etc. No she bloody didn't, it takes a wise man to play the fool and she had everyone fooled. Feel sorry for her kids not this vile woman. There are a lot of women who have had a hard life from the start but would never do what she did to her child."

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