Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fred & Rose West


February 24, 1994 was the beginning of the end -- the end of the extraordinary things that had been going on in the ordinary three-story house in central Gloucester. But it was also the beginning of a discovery as the layers of secrets hidden at 25 Cromwell Street were slowly peeled away.
That afternoon, the police came to find the owner of the house, Frederick West. Instead, they found his heavy set, sullen wife Rosemary, who called her husband the minute they handed her the warrant. "You'd better get back home," she told Fred when he answered the cellular phone in his van. "They're going to dig up the garden, looking for Heather."

Heather West (South West News Services)
Heather West (South West News Services)
The dark-haired, simian-looking man was not worried except that the police wouldn't clean up the mess they were sure to make lifting up the patio stones in his garden, looking for the body of their daughter. He stopped by the police station on his way home from work. He told them he and Rose had no idea where Heather was, but he was not worried. "Lots of girls disappear," he explained, "take a different name and go into prostitution." He said she was a lesbian and had problems with drugs.
Rose, who was interviewed at the house, told a similar story. Heather disappeared at the age of sixteen, back in 1987. She repeated the story about Heather being a disagreeable and lazy person and a lesbian to boot.
That night Fred and Rose stayed up all night and talked. The next morning, he stepped into the police car. "I killed her," he told Detective Constable Hazel Savage. When he got to the station, he told the police in minute detail how he had cut Heather's body into three pieces and buried them. He kept repeating that Rose had known nothing about the murder at all.
Twenty minutes later he completely denied everything he had just told them. "Heather's alive and well, right. She's possibly at the moment in Bahrain working for a drug cartel. She had a Mercedes, a chauffeur and a new birth certificate." He told the police that they could dig all they wanted but they wouldn't find Heather.
The police found three human bones, but they didn't belong to Heather. When Fred heard that human bones had been found, he confessed once again to murdering his daughter, but he denied that there were the bones of anyone else buried there.
Fred told how it all happened. The argument with the headstrong Heather, slapping her for her insolence and grabbing her throat to stop her from laughing at him. He must have grabbed too hard because she turned blue and stopped breathing. He tried to revive her, but he didn't have the training, so he dragged her over to the bathtub and ran cold water over her. He took off her clothes, lifted her out of the tub and dried her off. Then he tried to put her in the large garbage bin, but she didn't fit.
So it was back in the bathtub where he knew he would have to make her smaller. But first, he strangled her with some tights just to make sure that she was dead. " I didn't want to touch he while she was alive. I meanif I'd have started cutting her leg or her throat and she'd have suddenly come alive"
He closed Heather's eyes before he dismembered her. "If somebody's sat there looking at you, you're not going to use a knife on that person are you?"
When he cut off her head, he found the sound -- a "horrible noiselike scrunching" -- very unpleasant. But, once her head was off, he started on her legs, twisting her foot until he heard "one almighty crack and the leg come loose, like." Cut into pieces, she fit nicely into the garbage bin.
That night after the remainder of his family was asleep, he buried Heather's body in the garden, where she lay undiscovered for seven years.


Walter & Daisy West
Walter & Daisy West
Fred West came from a long line of Herefordshire farm laborers. He was born in 1941 in the village of Much Marcle, approximately 120 miles west of London, to Walter and Daisy West. Fred began life as a beautiful baby with huge piercing blue eyes and blond hair.
Despite the war and the poverty in which the Wests lived, they had six more children, one after another within a ten-year-period. Fred and his mother enjoyed a very close relationship. He was her pet and did everything she asked. Fred also had a reasonably good relationship with his father, who he admired as a role model.
The beautiful baby grew up into a scruffy-looking boy. His blond hair turned to a dark brown and became curly and unkempt. He had inherited some of his mother's less attractive facial features: an overly large mouth and a gap between his large teeth. He looked distinctly like a Gypsy.

Fred West. age 7
Fred West. age 7
Fred was not a promising student and was constantly in trouble for which he was caned. Daisy, seriously overweight and dressed unattractively, would go to the school to yell at the teacher for disciplining her favorite son -- an action that made Fred the butt of many jokes. He was a "mamma's boy." He left school at age fifteen almost illiterate and went to work as a farm hand.
By the time he was sixteen, he cleaned himself up enough to be attractive to girls. He was extremely aggressive with the opposite sex and went after any girl that caught his fancy.
Fred claimed that his father had sex with his daughters, using the logic, "I made you so I'm entitled to have you." But then, Fred was a notorious liar. It's hard to say if his father ever was ever guilty of incest or that Fred made his sister pregnant as he later claimed.

Fred on his motorcycle (South West News Service)
Fred on his motorcycle
(South West News Service)
When Fred was seventeen, he was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident which left him in a coma for a week and resulted in having a metal plate put into his head. His leg was broken and was permanently shorter than the other leg. Some thought that this head injury made him prone to sudden fits of rage and that he seemed to have lost control over his emotions.
After his recovery from the accident, Fred met the pretty 16-year-old Catherine Bernadette Costello, nicknamed Rena, who had been in trouble with the police since early childhood. By the time she met Fred she was an accomplished and experienced thief. They became lovers almost immediately, but the affair ended when she went back home a few months later to Scotland.
Fred quickly turned his attentions elsewhere and stuck his hand up the skirt of a young woman standing with him on a fire escape at a local youth club. She was impressed enough with the gesture to knock him off the fire escape. In the fall, he banged his head and lost consciousness. The lasting impact on Fred's behavior suggested that between this incident and the motorcycle accident, he had suffered some brain damage.
In 1961, Fred and his friend stole a watchstrap and cigarette cases from a jewelry store and were caught with the merchandise on them. Fred and his colleague were both fined. This was just the beginning of his troubles. A few months later, he was accused of impregnating a 13-year-old girl who was a friend of the West family. Fred was surprisingly uncooperative and didn't see that there was anything wrong with molesting little girls. "Well, doesn't every one do it?"
This attitude and the ensuing scandal caused a serious breach with his family. Fred was ordered to find somewhere else to live. Distanced now from his family, he went to work on construction projects. It wasn't long before he was caught stealing from the construction sites and having sex with young girls.
At Fred's trial for having sex with the 13-year-old girl, his physician claimed that he was suffering from epileptic fits. Consequently, he got off without a jail sentence, but the die was cast. At age 20, Fred West was a convicted child molester and petty thief -- and a total disgrace to his family.

First Blood

Rena Costello
Rena Costello
In 1962, Fred's parents relented and let him come back to live with them at Much Marcle. That summer, his girlfriend Rena Costello came back from Scotland and took up with Fred immediately. They seemed well matched. Rena was not your average girl, but rather an experienced delinquent that as a teenager had a record for prostitution and burglary. That Rena was pregnant by an Asian bus driver introduced a complication into their relationship and to his parents' acceptance of her as his mate.
Secretly, they married in November of that year and moved immediately to Scotland. His parents believed that the baby she was carrying was Fred's. In March of 1963, when Charmaine was born, Fred had Rena write to his mother saying that their baby had died in childbirth and that she had adopted a mixed-race child.
Even though Rena had been a prostitute at various times, she was not happy to be a prisoner to the voracious sexual appetite of Fred West. Colin Wilson in The Corpse Garden tells how Fred's interest in "normal sex" was minimal. "He wanted oral sex, bondage andsodomyat all hours of the day and night.
Fred drove an ice cream truck which afforded him unlimited access to many young women. For someone as highly sexed as Fred, it seemed like paradise. His politeness, apparent trustworthiness and sincerity, and his ability to spin interesting tales made him attractive to the teenagers who flocked around his ice cream truck. His continual seductions turned Rena and Charmaine into afterthoughts. Despite Fred's almost daily infidelities, he was very possessive of Rena and Charmaine.
In 1964, Rena bore Fred's child, a daughter they named Anna Marie. "On again, off again" characterized their roller coaster marriage for several years. During that time, Rena and Fred met Anna McFall, whose boyfriend had been killed in an accident. At that time, Fred was involved in an accident with the ice cream truck that killed a young boy. While Fred wasn't at fault, he was concerned that he would lose his job. So, he and Rena and their two children, plus Anna McFall moved back to Gloucester. Fred had a job in a slaughterhouse.
Colin Wilson sees this job in the slaughterhouse as having a profound affect on Fred. "One thing is clear: that at some stage, West developed a morbid obsession with corpses and blood and dismemberment. There is no evidence that he had shown any such interest so far. It seems, then, that Fred West's sexual perversion became slowly more obsessive in the period following his marriage, and the evidence suggests that necrophilia and desire to mutilate corpses began during his period as a butcher."
Rena and Fred's marriage became increasingly unstable. Rena wanted to take the two children back with her to Glasgow, but Fred refused, so she went back to Scotland alone. But she was miserable without her daughters and, in July of 1966, returned to Gloucester to find Fred and Anna McFall living together in a trailer.
Rena told Constable Hazel Savage that her husband was a sex pervert and unfit to raise their children. Coincidentally, there were eight sexual assaults committed in the Gloucester area committed by a man of Fred's description.

Anna McFall, victim
Anna McFall, victim
In early 1967, Anna McFall became pregnant with Fred's child. She was trying unsuccessfully to get Fred to divorce Rena and marry her. Fred responded to the stress of her demands by killing her and burying her near the trailer park sometime in July.
Not only did he kill his mistress and their unborn child, he slowly and methodically dismembered her corpse and buried her along with the fetus. Oddly enough, he cut off her fingers and toes, which were missing from the gravesite. It would be his ritualistic signature in future crimes.
Fred acted very nervous after McFall's disappearance. Then Rena moved back into the trailer and Fred became his old self again. Fred happily sent Rena out to earn some pocket money as a prostitute and began to openly fondle the young Charmaine.

Mary Bastholm (South West News Services)
Mary Bastholm
(South West News
In January of 1968, pretty 15-year-old Mary Bastholm was abducted from a bus stop in Gloucester. Howard Sounes believes that Fred was responsible because in later years, he abducted other women in a similar fashion from bus stops.
There were a number of links between Fred and Mary Bastholm: he was a customer at the Pop-In [where Mary worked] and Mary often served him tea; Fred had been employed to do some building work behind the caf�; Mary had been seen with a girl fitting the description of Fred's former lover, Anna McFall; and one witness claims to have seen Mary in Fred's car. (Sounes)
In February, Fred's mother died of complications of a gallbladder operation. He launched into a series of petty thefts, which caused him to change jobs frequently. On November 29, 1968, while he was working as a bakery delivery driver, he met the girl who would become his next wife and longtime soul mate, Rose Letts.


Bill Letts
Bill Letts
Rosemary Letts was born in November 1953 in Devon, England with a less than auspicious heritage. Her father, Bill Letts was a schizophrenic. Her mother, Daisy Letts, suffered from severe depression. Bill Letts was a violent domestic tyrant who demanded unconditional obedience from his wife and children. He enjoyed disciplining them and seemed to look for reasons to beat them. Given Bill's psychotic episodes and rigid Victorian behavior, he was not an ideal employee and drifted through a series of low-paying, unskilled jobs. The family was always short of money.
His son Andrew recalled, " If he felt we were in bed too late, he would throw a bucket of cold water over us. He would order us to dig the garden, and that meant the whole garden. Then he would inspect it like an army officer, and if he was not satisfied, we would have to do it all over againWe were not allowed to speak and play like normal children. If we were noisy, he would go for us with a belt or chunk of wood. He would beat you black and blue until mum got in between us. Then she would get a good hiding."
After giving birth to three daughters and a son and trying to cope with her violent husband, Daisy's deepening depression resulted in hospitalization in 1953. She was treated with the controversial electroshock therapy. Shortly after a number of these treatments, which delivered electric currents into the brain, Daisy gave birth to Rosemary. The effect of the electroshock therapy upon the daughter growing in her womb was unknown.
However, Howard Sounes in his book, Fred & Rose, describes how Rose was different from other children:
She developed a habit of rocking herself in her cot; if she was put in a pram without the brake on, she rocked so violently that the pram crept across the room. As she became a little older, Rose only rocked her head, but she did this for hours on end. It was one of the first indications that, in the family's words, she was 'a bit slow.'As Rose grew from a baby to a toddler to a little girl, she would swing her head for hours until she seemed to have hypnotized herself into semiconsciousness."
"Dozy Rosie," as she was called, was not very intelligent, but she had very pretty features: big brown eyes, a clear complexion and attractive brown hair. As she got older, she developed a tendency towards chubbiness.

Rose Letts in her teens (school photo)
Rose Letts in her
teens (school photo)
Rose was smart enough, however, to make herself her father's pet, always doing whatever he wished immediately. Thereby, she alone received paternal affection and escaped the beatings.
Given her lack of intellectual gifts, Rose was not a star performer in school. Also, she was overweight, which made her the butt of cruel jokes by her peers. She lashed out at them and attacked anyone who teased her. Consequently, she became known as an ill tempered, aggressive loner.
As a teenager, Rose showed signs of being sexually precocious, walking around naked after her baths and climbing into bed with her younger brother and fondling him sexually. Her father's rules forbade her to date boys her own age and her heaviness and temperament kept boys from being interested in her. She focused her interest in sex on the older men of the village.
In January of 1968, Rose and other girls of the community began to fear for their safety. A fifteen-year-old girl named Mary Bastholm disappeared from a bus stop in Gloucester. Mary had been on the way to visit her boyfriend, carrying a Monopoly set. All that the police found at the bus stop were a few pieces of the Monopoly set. The disappearance was thought to be linked to several other rapes in the area.
Rose was cautious for awhile, but her boredom and loneliness drove her to seek out male companionship. On one occasion, an older man, who had taken advantage of her na�vet�, raped her.
Early in 1969, Daisy Letts became tired of being her husband's punching bag, took fifteen-year-old Rose, and moved in temporarily with her daughter Glenys and her husband. Without her father watching her, Rose spent a lot of time out at night. Her brother-in-law, Jim Tyler claimed that Rose carried on with a number of men much older than she was and that Rose had even tried to seduce him.
In mid-1969, Rose moved back with her father, an action that surprised everyone. Some said that Rose and her father had an incestuous relationship and that Bill Letts had a reputation for molesting young girls, but all of this was unsubstantiated rumor.
Thus in her early teens, Rose Letts seemed destined for a dull and unhappy life: she was not very smart and not very pleasant tempered. She was an underachiever, a rebel against authority and unfocused toward any productive goal, aside from finding a lover older than herself.
Then she met Fred West.
A young Fred and Rose West
A young Fred and Rose West

Love and Death

However limited Bill Letts was as an ideal parent, he saw Fred West as a completely undesirable boyfriend for Rose. When Bill found that Rose was sleeping with Fred, he raised a fuss with the Social Services. When that was ineffective, he showed up at Fred's trailer park and threatened him.
Meanwhile West was sent to prison for various thefts and failure to pay fines for previous offenses. Rose went back to stay with her father until he found that she was pregnant with Fred's child. At age 16, Rose left her father's house to take care of Charmaine and Anna Marie, as well as deal with Fred, who seemed to always be in trouble with the law.

Charmaine (left), baby Heather and Anna Marie (South West News Services)
Charmaine (left), baby
Heather and Anna Marie
(South West News Services)
In 1970, she gave birth to Heather. With three children to care for, a boyfriend in jail and constant money problems, Rose's temper flared constantly. She resented having to take care of Rena's children and treated them badly.
One day in the summer of 1971, Charmaine was suddenly missing and Rose told her sister Anna Marie that Rena had come to get her. Colin Wilson believes that Rose "simply lost her temper, and went further than usual in beating or throttling her. She was, as Anna Marie said, a woman entirely without self-control; when she lost her temper, she became a kind of maniac."
Since Fred was in jail when Charmaine was murdered, his involvement probably extended to burying her body under the kitchen floor of their home on Midland Road where it lay undiscovered for over 20 years. Before he buried Charmaine, he took off her fingers, toes and kneecaps. Fred would hold this criminal secret over Rose for the rest of her life.
When her father came to take her away from Fred, Fred reminded her: "Come on, Rosie, you know what we've got between us." Bill Letts noticed that that statement upset Rose. "You don't know him!" she told her parents. "You don' t know him! There's nothing he wouldn't do -- even murder!"
Gloucester had a large population of West Indians that created entertainment and extra income for both Rose and Fred. Rose invited many West Indian men over to their house on Midland Road to have sex with her -- either for cash or fun. Fred, the voyeur encouraged this behavior and watched through a peephole. As over-sexed as he was, Fred was not at all interested in ordinary sex. It had to involve bondage, vibrators, acts of sadism or lesbianism to get him involved. Fred took erotic photos of Rose and ran them as ads in magazines for "swingers."
When Rose murdered Charmaine, she created both a problem and an opportunity for Fred regarding his first wife Rena. It was just a matter of time before Rena came around looking for Charmaine. In fact, in August of 1971, Rena sought out Walter, Fred's father, in hopes that he could tell her what happened to Charmaine.
Fred saw that he had no choice but to kill Rena. In all likelihood, he probably got her very drunk and then strangled her at his house on Midland Road. He then dismembered her body and mutilated it in the same odd way that he had Anna McFall's body: he cut off Rena's fingers and toes. Then he put her remains into bags and buried her in the same general area as he buried Anna McFall.
Later that year, Fred and Rose became friendly with their new neighbor, Elizabeth Agius, who babysat for them several times. When Fred and Rose returned home, Elizabeth asked them where they had been. The surprisingly candid answer was that they were cruising around looking for young girls, hopefully young virgins. Fred thought that with Rose in the car that a young woman would not fear taking a ride with them. Elizabeth assumed at the time that they were joking. Another time, Agius was openly propositioned by Fred. And still another time, she was, according to Colin Wilson, drugged and raped.

Rose's magazine ad for prostitution
Rose's magazine ad for prostitution
In June of 1972, Rose had another daughter by Fred. They named her Mae West. This time, the child was legitimate, Fred and Rose having married in January of that year at the Gloucester Registry Office.
Fred and Rose decided they needed a house to raise their growing family and also accommodate Rose's prostitution business. Number 25 Cromwell was just the place. The house was not much to look at on the outside, but the inside was large and had a garage and a good-sized cellar. They took in lodgers to help pay the rent.
Fred had plans for the cellar and told Elizabeth Agius that he was either going to make it into a place for Rose to entertain her clients or he would soundproof it and use it as his "torture chamber."
The first client was his eight-year-old daughter, Anna Marie. He and Rose undressed her and told her that she was lucky that she had such caring parents who were making sure that when she got married she would be able to satisfy her husband. Anna Marie's hands were tied behind her and a gag put in her mouth.
Then while Rose held the girl down, her father raped her. The pain was so severe that the girl could not go to school for several days. She was warned that she would be beaten if she ever told anyone about the rape. Another time, Anna Marie was strapped down while her father raped her quickly on his brief lunch hour.
In late 1972, Fred and Rose picked up a 17-year-old girl named Caroline Owens and hired her as a nanny. They promised Caroline's family that they would watch out for her while she lived with them.

Caroline Owens
Caroline Owens
In late 1972, Fred and Rose picked up a 17-year-old girl named Caroline Owens and hired her as a nanny. They promised Caroline's family that they would watch out for her while she lived with them.
Caroline was very attractive, so much so that Rose and Fred competed with each other to seduce her. In short order, Caroline found the Wests repugnant and told them she was leaving. The couple abducted, stripped and raped her. Fred told her that if she didn't do what he wanted, "I'll keep you in the cellar and let my black friends have you, and when we're finished we'll kill you and bury you under the paving stones of Gloucester." Terrified, she believed him. When her mother saw her bruises, she got the truth from her and called the police.
There was a hearing in January of 1973. Fred was thirty-one and Rose a mere nineteen -- and pregnant once again. Fred was able to con the magistrate into believing that Caroline was a willing partner. Despite Fred's criminal record, the magistrate did not believe the Wests were capable of violence and fined them each.

Lynda Gough (South West News Services)
Lynda Gough (South West News Services)
For some time, the Wests had been carrying on a friendship with seamstress Lynda Gough. Eventually, Lynda moved into 25 Cromwell Street to take care of the children. Something went amiss in the relationship and Lynda was murdered. Fred dismembered her and buried her in a pit in the garage. True to his ritual, he removed her fingers, toes and kneecaps. When Lynda's family came looking for her, they were told that she had stayed there but had left.
A hideous pattern was emerging. Young women would come to stay at 25 Cromwell either as lodgers or friends or nannies, but so few ever made it out with their lives. The house was slowly becoming a monument to the depravity of its inhabitants.

House of Horrors

Carol Ann Cooper (South West News Services)
Carol Ann Cooper (South West News Services)
1973 was a year for the Wests to celebrate. They walked away from Caroline Owens' rape and abduction charge with only a fine and they murdered Lynda Gough with no police repercussions at all. Then in August, their first son, Stephen, was born.
Emboldened by their success, they abducted fifteen-year-old Carol Ann Cooper in November and amused themselves with her sexually -- that is, until she outlived her entertainment value and was snuffed out by strangulation or suffocation, dismembered and buried. She joined the growing city of the dead at 25 Cromwell Street.
Industrious Fred, persistent in his home improvements, had enlarged the cellar and was demolishing the garage to build an extension to the main house. No matter that these improvements were done at very strange hours.
A little over a month later, university student Lucy Partington had gone home to her mother's house to spend the Christmas holiday. On December 27, she went to visit her disabled friend and left to catch a bus shortly after 10 P.M. She had the misfortune to meet up with Fred and Rose, who probably knocked her out and abducted her. Like Carol Ann Cooper, she was tortured for approximately a week and then murdered, dismembered and buried in Fred's construction projects. He cut himself while dismembering Lucy and had to go to the hospital for stitches on January 3, 1974.
Lucy, like Carol Ann Cooper, was reported missing, but there was nothing to tie the two girls to the Wests.
Between April of 1974 and April of 1975, three young women -- Therese Siegenthaler, 21, Shirley Hubbard, 15, and Juanita Mott, 18, met the same fate as Carol Ann Cooper and Lucy Partington. Their tortured and dismembered bodies were buried under the cellar floor of the West's house.
Bondage was becoming a major thrill for Fred and Rose. Shirley's head had been wrapped entirely with tape and a plastic tube was inserted in her nose so that she could breathe. Juanita was subjected to even more extreme bondage:
Juanita was gagged with a ligature made from two long, white nylon socks (similar to those worn by Rose), a brassiere and two pairs of tights, one within the other. She was then trussed up with lengths of plastic-covered rope, of the type used for washing line. The rope was used in a complicated way, with loops tied around her arms and thighs, both wrists, both ankles and her skull, horizontally and vertically, backwards and forwards across her body until she could only wriggle like a trapped animal. Then the Wests produced a seven-foot length of rope with a slipknot end forming a noose. This was probably used to suspend Juanita's body from the beams in the cellar. (Sounes)
Incredibly enough with this charnel house in his cellar, Fred continued to attract the police with continuous thefts and fencing stolen goods. It was necessary for Fred to keep stealing to pay for his home improvement projects. His home improvement projects were necessary to keep the monstrous habits of his wife and himself covered up with layers of concrete.
In 1976, the Wests enticed a young woman, designated as Miss A by the courts, from a home for wayward girls. At Cromwell Street, Miss A was led into a room with two naked girls who were prisoners there. She witnessed the torture of the two girls and was raped by Fred and sexually assaulted by Rose.

Shirley Robinson (South West News Services)
Shirley Robinson (South West News Services)
One of the girls that Miss A saw was probably Anna Marie, Fred's daughter who was a constant target of the couple's sexual sadism. As if Fred's rape and torture of his daughter was not enough, he brought home his friends to have sex with her.
In 1977, the upstairs of the house had been remodeled to allow for a number of lodgers. One of them was Shirley Robinson, 18, a former prostitute with bisexual inclinations. Shirley developed relationships with both Fred and Rose. Shirley became pregnant with Fred's child after Rose was pregnant with the child of one of her black clients.
While Fred was pleased that Rose was carrying a mixed child, Rose was not comfortable with Shirley carrying Fred's child. Shirley foolishly thought that she could displace Rose in Fred's life and, in the process, jeopardized her own existence. Rose made it clear that Shirley had to go.
And go she did, seven months after Rose gave birth to Tara in December of 1977, Shirley joined the rest of the girls buried on Cromwell Street. The cellar being full, Shirley was put in the rear garden along with her unborn child. This time, Fred dismembered Shirley and their unborn baby.
In November of 1978, Rose and Fred had yet another daughter who they named Louise, making a total of six children in the bizarre and unwholesome household. Fred also impregnated his daughter Anna Marie, but the pregnancy occurred in her fallopian tube and had to be terminated.
In May of 1979, Rose's father died of a lung ailment. Several months later, the Wests were up to their old tricks and murdered a troubled teenager named Alison Chambers after they raped and tortured her. Like Shirley, Alison was buried in the "overflow" cemetery in the rear garden.
The children were aware of some of the goings on in the home. They knew that Rose was a prostitute and that Anna Marie was being raped by her father. When Anna Marie moved out to live with her boyfriend, Fred focused his sexual advances on Heather and Mae. Heather resisted her father and was beaten for it.
In June of 1980, Rose gave birth to Barry, Fred's second son. Then again, in April of 1982, Rose gave birth to Rosemary Junior, who was not Fred's child.
In July of 1983, Rose gave birth to another daughter who they named Lucyanna. She was half-black, like Tara and Rosemary Junior. Rose became increasingly irrational and beat the children without provocation. The stress of so many children in the household took its toll on Rose's already bad temper.
The Wests probably continued to carry on their sexual abductions, but did not bury any of these new victims at 25 Cromwell St.
In 1986, the wall of filial silence that has protected the Wests, was broken. Heather told her girlfriend about her father's advances, her mother's affairs and the beatings she received. The girlfriend told her parents, who were friends of the Wests, and Heather's life was in jeopardy.
After her parents murdered her, they told the children that she left home. Fred asked his son Stephen to help him dig a hole in the rear garden, where Fred later buried Heather's dismembered body.
Rose built up her prostitution business by advertising in special magazines. She and Fred were on the lookout for women who they could get to participate in their various perversions as well as prostitute herself under Rose's direction. One such woman, Katherine Halliday, became a fixture in the West household and saw first hand the black bondage suits and masks that they had collected, plus the whips and chains. With good reason, Katherine became alarmed and quickly broke off her relationship with them.
As time went on, Fred and Rosemary became increasingly concerned about creating a minimum fa�ade of respectability, not because they cared what people thought of them, but because they were concerned that knowledge of what had gone on in their house would jeopardize their freedom.
The West's long run of luck was coming to an end. One of the very young girls that Fred had raped with Rose's assistance told her girlfriend what happened. The girlfriend went to the police and the case was assigned to a very talented and persistent Detective Constable named Hazel Savage. Hazel knew Fred from his days with Rena and remembered the stories that Rena had told her about Fred's sexual perversions.
On August 6, 1992, police arrived at 25 Cromwell Street with a search warrant to look for pornography and evidence of child abuse. They found mountains of pornography and arrested Rose for assisting in the rape of a minor. Fred was arrested for rape and sodomy of a minor.
Hazel Savage went to work interviewing family members and friends of the Wests. When she talked to Anna Marie, she heard for the first time the shocking story about how she had been so severely abused. She also expressed her concerns about Charmaine, who Hazel had known from her experiences with Rena.
Hazel had all she needed to bring child abuse charges, but she needed to further investigate the disappearance of Charmaine, Rena and Heather. Hazel was not satisfied that Heather had disappeared without a trace. Insurance and tax records showed that Heather had not been employed nor had she visited a doctor in four years. Either she had left the country or was dead.

(left to right) Rosemary Jr., Tara, Barry West with school friend (school photo)
(left to right) Rosemary Jr., Tara, Barry West with school friend (school photo)
The younger children were taken from Rose and put into government care. With Fred in jail and the police closing in on her, Rose took an overdose of pills and attempted suicide. Her son Stephen found her and saved her life. Later, she escaped from her loneliness by stuffing herself with candy and watching Disney videos.
Fred didn't do much better in prison. He was very depressed and sorry for himself. Actually, his luck was holding -- for the time being. The case against the Wests collapsed when two key witnesses decided not to testify against them. But the seeds of their discovery had been sown. The strange, inexplicable disappearance of Heather was firmly implanted in Hazel Savage's mind.
Hazel took over the case and launched an inquiry into Heather's whereabouts. When no sign of the girl was found, Hazel feared that that the rumor was true that Heather was buried under the patio. The West children were questioned repeatedly. Fred had threatened them that if they didn't keep their silence that they would end up under the patio like Heather.

Detective John Bennett (AP)
Detective John Bennett (AP)
Detective Superintendent John Bennett was in charge of the media-sensitive case. Finally the warrant to search the Cromwell Street house and garden was signed, but the logistics of digging up a fifteen by sixty-foot garden were nontrivial. Furthermore, Fred's extension to the house was built over a portion of the garden. The search would be very expensive and be certain to attract attention of the media.
Things improved for the investigation after Fred confessed to killing his daughter and after human bones other than Heather's were found in the garden. When Rose was informed of Fred's confession, she claimed that Fred had sent her out of the house the day Heather disappeared and had no knowledge of Heather's death.
The police set about the grim task of digging up the large garden. Fred had been released temporarily until there was evidence to hold him. But, as Fred watched the police dig up the garden, he knew it was a matter of time before they found Heather and the others buried in the rear garden.

Police digging in the garden (AP)
Police digging in the garden (AP)
Fred told his son that he had done something really bad and would be going away for awhile. Steve remembered that "He looked at me so evil and so cold. That look went right through me."
Finally the police found the remains of a young woman, dismembered and decapitated. Then another victim was found. When the police heard about the disappearance of Shirley Robinson, the scope of the investigation widened.
To protect Rose, Fred claimed responsibility for the murders himself. He was charged with the murders of Heather, Shirley Robinson and the as yet unidentified third woman. Furthermore, an investigation was opened into the disappearance of Rena and Charmaine. For some reason, Fred decided to tell the police about the girls buried in his cellar. Fred admitted to murdering the girls, but not rape. These girls, he maintained, wanted to have sex with him.
As Fred chatted about his murders, the police tried to grapple with the evidence. Lining up bodies with names was not an easy task. Nine sets of bones were discovered in the cellar and the police did not know whose they were. Fred was not much help since he could not remember the names and details of some of the women he had picked up. Considering the many women who go missing every year, extensive work had to be done to match up missing person's reports with the remains.
As the case developed, Rose abandoned Fred to save herself. She tried to position herself as the victim of a murderous man, but she was not particularly convincing. Police worked continuously to tie her in to the crimes.
The bodies of Rena, Anna McFall and Charmaine were found as Fred continued to cooperate with the police. On the Mary Bastholm case, Fred decided to quit cooperating and her body was not found.
At their joint hearing, Fred attempted to console Rose, but she avoided his touch. She told the police he made her sick. The great partnership in crime was over.


Fred's last portrait (POLICE)
Fred's last portrait
Rose's rejection was devastating to Fred. On December 13, 1994, he was charged with twelve murders. Again, Rose brushed him off. He had written to her, "We will always be in love...You will always be Mrs. West, all over the world. That is important to me and to you."
Just before noon on New Year's Day at Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, when the guards were having lunch, Fred hanged himself with strips of bedsheet. He had clearly planned his suicide well in advance so that he would not be discovered.

Rose leaves court following testimony (AP)
Rose leaves court
following testimony
Despite the paucity of direct evidence linking her to the murders, Rose went to trial on October 3, 1995. A number of witnesses -- including Caroline Owens, Miss A, and Anna Marie -- testified to Rose's sadistic sexual assaults on young women.
The goal of the prosecution, led by Brian Leveson QC, was to construct a tight web of circumstantial evidence of Rose's guilt. The defense, led by Richard Ferguson QC, tried to show that evidence of sexual assault was not the same as evidence of murder. That Rose did not know what Fred was doing when he murdered the girls and buried them in various places.
Ferguson made the mistake of putting Rose on the stand. Her defiance came through very clearly to the jury. Furthermore, the prosecution learned to extract damaging testimony from her by making her angry. She left the jury with entrenched beliefs that Rose had treated the children badly and that she was completely dishonest.
Finally the defense played the recordings of Fred West describing how he had murdered the victims when Rose was out of the house. Unfortunately for Rose, Fred was shown to be lying on key issues, which threw his entire statement into doubt.
The most dramatic evidence was given by Janet Leach, who was called as the "appropriate adult" (witness) to Fred West's police interviews. Privately, Fred had told her that Rose was involved in the murders -- and that Rose had murdered Charmaine and Shirley Robinson without him -- but that he made a deal with his wife to take all the blame on himself.
Janet was so stressed by this confidential confession that she suffered a stroke. It was only after Fred's death that she felt that she could tell the police what he had said to her. After her testimony, she collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital.

Rosemary West (AP)
Rosemary West
In his summary, Leveson called Rose the "strategist" and the dominant partner. "The evidence that Rosemary West knew nothing is not worthy of belief." Ferguson, in his summary, stressed that the evidence only pointed to Fred.
The jury took very little time to find Rose guilty of the murders of Charmaine, Heather, Shirley Robinson and the other girls buried at the house. The judge sentenced her to life imprisonment on each of ten counts of murder.

Update Archive

Updates March 1998 - December 1998
My Father the Killer
On Wednesday, March 25, 1998, four years after the sentencing of Rose West, the case was again in the news when BBC News Online reported that Fred Wests son Stephen had told authorities that he was convinced his father had killed 15-year-old waitress Mary Bastholm.
Stephen told police, that while visiting his father in prison in December 1994, Fred West had boasted that Bastholms body would never be found. He said his father talked of other victims and told his son: They are not going to find them all, you know, never.
Stephen then specifically asked him about Mary.� His father replied: I will never tell anyone where she is.
Bastholm was last seen alive at a Gloucester bus stop on January 5, 1968 while on her way to meet her boyfriend.� At the time of her disappearance she was carrying a Monopoly game, pieces of which were found strewn over the ground near the area where she was abducted.
While no hard evidence was ever found, police had long considered Bastholm to be yet another victim of Fred West, a claim that West had strenuously denied although Bastholm had been seen in Wests car.� West had also been a regular a customer in the caf� where Mary worked and had carried out building work at the rear of the premises.
Mary's brother Peter is also convinced she was abducted and murdered by West.� He told BBC {News Online} that he was relieved by the news but, because his parents had both died without learning the fate of their only daughter, he would never rest until Marys body was found.
Family Trait?
On Wednesday, May 20, 1998 the West case was back in the news when BBC News Online reported that William Hill, a cousin of Fred West, had been jailed for four years after being convicted of one count of rape and three charges of indecent assault.
Like his infamous cousin, Hill preyed on young women and one of his convictions related to the indecent assault on a fifteen-year-old girl over an extended period during 1980 and 1981.
Two cousins, Fred and John West both hanged themselves in prison prior to their convictions.� Ironically, Hill also attempted to take his life in the same prison where Fred West had ended his. He was later moved to a mental facility.
Conspiracy of Silence
Two months later, British politicians joined the victims families in expressing their outrage when it was announced that a television drama, based on the exploits of Fred and Rosemary West, was to be made.
The announcement concerned the commissioning of a four-part drama series titled Conspiracy of Silence.� The series was commissioned by Channel 5, London and made by Portman Entertainment, the company that bought the film rights to Fred West's biography and archive material in 1997.
Relatives of the victims were shocked and horrified and accused the companies involved of cashing in on the hideous crimes of Fred and Rosemary West.
Greg Day, a spokesman for Channel 5, defended his companys position saying the project was not intended to capitalize on the crimes but merely to educate a large percentage of the population who were looking for answers:� We are aware that the key to understanding what happened at 25 Cromwell Street is understanding sexual abuse.� A lot of it will be uncomfortable because it will deal with that but that is a valid part of the story which needs to be understood.
As a result, Home Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC that his government would be looking at ways to prevent criminals profiting from their crimes by selling the book and film rights to their stories.
Hideous Confessions
On Thursday, June 4, 1998, BBC News Online continued their coverage of the case when they reported that Janet Leach, the voluntary worker who had been appointed to sit-in on police interviews while Fred West confessed to his crimes, was seeking the right to sue the police for damages.
Leach claimed she suffered post traumatic stress disorder after being subjected to Wests hideous confessions in 1994.
Leachs lawyers described how their client had attended 40 interviews over several months and had become traumatised while listening to the most harrowing and horrifying details of West's crimes.
Her lawyers also claimed that Leach was not offered counselling by the police, even though it had been offered to police officers and at least one solicitor involved in the case.
Leach suffered a stroke in November 1995 when she was giving evidence at the trial of Rosemary West resulting in the trial being delayed for several days after Leach lost the power of speech but later recovered enough to return and conclude her testimony.
Her original claim for compensation was thrown out in November 1997 after a judge at the Bristol County Court ruled it would not have been fair, just or reasonable to say the police owed her a duty of care.
Since that time her lawyers have sought three separate appeals to have the decision overturned on the grounds that police should have been aware that having to spend hours and hours with one of the most notorious mass murderers of the 20th century gave rise to a risk of psychological injury.
They stated that Leach had previously worked for a voluntary organization that worked with the homeless and only had experience acting as an appropriate adult for mentally disordered youths.
Apart from being in attendance at the West confessions, Leach also accompanied West to his Cromwell Street home where the victims had been tortured, killed, dismembered and buried.� She was also taken to a field where the remains of another victim had been buried.
Chief counsel for Leach, Roderick Denyer, told BBC News Online: The police offered counselling to their own officers and didn't offer it to her. To impose a duty of care in this case is not unreasonable.
In response, Simon Freeland, acting on behalf of the Gloucestershire police, said: The force's code of practice requires that a person suspected of having a mental disorder could only be interviewed by police if an appropriate adult was present to protect their interests.� He also said that the police had not appointed Mrs Leach, and there was no contractual agreement with the police therefore they were not in a position to override the legitimate choice of West or his lawyers that she should be the appropriate adult in the case.
Old Bones
On Saturday, December 19 1998, Gordon Burn, the author of a new book about the West murders, was interviewed by detectives in relation to dozens of missing bones related to the case.� The book Happy Like Murderers took Burns over three years to write and involved extensive research.
The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire police, Tony Butler, and Detective Chief Inspector Terry Moore, interviewed Burn for over an hour regarding his theories on the whereabouts of numerous bones which were missing from several of West's victims.
Chief Inspector Moore had taken charge of the case following the retirement of Detective Superintendent John Bennett.� Moore told BBC News Online: Out of all the books it's probably the best written and the most interesting but there is a certain amount of journalistic licence.� He has got some things right and some things wrong.
Referring to the bones, Moore added: There are various theories but nothing has come to light. The secret has gone to the grave with Fred and Rose not saying anything.
Previous evidence given during Rosemary Wests trial by pathologist Professor Bernard Knight indicated: the bones - ranging from small finger and toe joints to entire shoulder blades - must have been removed prior to burial.
Burn became a person of interest when he suggested in his book that Fred West may have buried them near Pittville Park in Cheltenham, as the park is close to the bus stop where Fred and Rose first met in 1970.� Burns believes the location holds an almost spiritual significance for the Wests.
Burn, who also wrote a book about the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, was questioned at length regarding his research and asked wether he had been given any assistance by currently serving or retired police officers.�
Updates November 1999 - October 2000
Shame and Blame
On Thursday, November 18, 1999, Anne-Marie Davies, the daughter of Fred West was pulled from a river in Gloucester after a member of the public reported seeing someone fall from a nearby Bridge.� Following the rescue, Davis was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for treatment but was later discharged.
Davies had previously attempted suicide by taking an overdose of tablets during her stepmother's trial but survived after she was rushed to hospital and had her stomach pumped.
On Sunday, 5 March 2000, Court TV reported that Rosemary West had secured legal aid funding and was preparing an appeal in an attempt to clear her name.

West was expected to apply to have her case referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates miscarriages of justice.

According to her lawyer, Leo Goatley, West may unearth new photographic evidence, which would prove that her husband, Fred West, was the sole killer.

He also claimed his client could be cleared by anatomical photographs of women which were taken by Fred West and seized by police during an earlier investigation in 1992.� He asserts that the photographs were time stamped when they were taken, which could help his client prove she was not there.

The original photographs were allegedly destroyed but Goatley said his client was confident copies would have been made or details of the photographs chronicled by police.

He told reporters: The issue here is whether Rose West got a fair trial.� I have always believed her situation was different to Fred West's. She has always maintained her innocence.� There are a number of issues regarding disclosure and chequebook journalism that are worthy of review and I feel would have contributed to her not getting a fair trial.

In response, Gloucestershire Chief Constable Tony Butler said: We believe that all material was disclosed to the Crown Prosecution Service during the case.� We have no idea what the current issues being raised by Mr Goatley are, and suggest he contacts us through the proper channels.

A previous appeal, launched in 1996 was rejected.
On Friday, 20 October 2000, the promised appeal was launched when her lawyer faxed a skeleton argument to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
He told BBC News Online: An application to review the case has been made on the basis that she didn't get a fair trial for a number of reasons, which I am not going to go into.�

Updates July 2001 - October 2001
A Career in Tatters
On Monday, 23 July 2001, former prison officer Lynn Armstrong announced that she was suing the British Home Office because she was encouraged to befriend Rosemary West while West was on suicide watch in Winchester Prison.
Armstrong claims she was so traumatised by her exposure to the notorious killer in Winchester Prison it left her under the illusion West was innocent.
Her counsel, Andrew Bulhan, told Londons High Court that his client had spent more time with West than any other officer.
Bulhan told BBC News Online that the shock of West's conviction for horrendous crimes had driven his client into a depression which transformed from being an ambitious and highly motivated woman officer into a grumpy, argumentative, belligerent and, I'm afraid, disillusioned prison officer until she was medically retired.
He stated that her superiors in the prison system had failed to protect her against the risk of psychiatric injury associated with prolonged exposure to one of the worst mass killers Britain has ever produced.
Armstrong was seeking �50,000 compensation.
Many More
On Thursday, 27 September 2001, BBC News Online reported that the makers of the documentary detailing the crimes of Fred and Rosemary West had called for a public inquiry into police and social services failings, which allowed him (Fred West) to continue killing women for 25 years.
The programme includes an interview with social worker Janet Leach who attests to the fact that Fred West had confessed to killing many more than the 12 victims he was charged with.� "Fred said that there were two other bodies in shallow graves in the woods but there was no way they would ever be found.� He said there were 20 other bodies not in one place but spread around and he would give police one a year.� He told me the truth about the girls in the cellar and what happened to them so I don't see why he would lie about other bodies.
Derek Jones, the director and co-producer of the programme, told BBC News Online: There definitely needs to be a public inquiry.� No one has even scratched the surface of this case. They should look at the failures of social services and police in Gloucestershire in the 1970s and 1980s.� Social services had 300 missing files and 100 missing girls. There were two girls from Jordansbrook children's home who were making a living as prostitutes from 25 Cromwell Street.
He told reporters that questions should been asked regarding Charmaine, the Wests eldest daughter who disappeared in 1970.� West claimed she had moved back to Scotland to be with her mother and social services failed to follow that up.
He compared the case to that of serial killer Harold Shipman where a public inquiry had revealed Shipman was responsible for the deaths of a greater number of victims than he was charged with.
The program also describes how West told his solicitor that he believed the spirits of his victims were coming up through the floor from the cellar where they were entombed.
West allegedly said: When they come up into you it's beautiful, it's when they go away you are trying to hold them, you feel them flying away from you and you try to stop them.� You can't send them back to where they were
Giving Up
On Sunday, 30 September 2001, The London Mail reported that Rosemary West had abandoned the latest appeal against her conviction and had resigned herself to spending the rest of her life in prison.
Speaking for the first time since her conviction she also expressed a desire to apologize to her daughter Ann Marie for the abuse she suffered.� In a statement released to the Mail, West said: Despite everything, I should like at some stage to apologize to Ann Marie.� Ann Marie is part of my family and I would love to be reconciled to her and have contact with her.
She told the Mail that she was dropping her appeal because she felt she would never be free, even if released.� She also stated: she had come to understand herself, and her relationships with others, for the first time in her life.
End of the Road
On Monday, 8 October 2001, Lynn Armstrongs claim against the Home Office was rejected.� After the judgment Armstrong told reporters: This is not a tragedy. What happened in New York was a tragedy. Life goes on.�� She was refused leave to appeal but can still apply directly to the Court of Appeal.�
Latest Updates October, 2001 to January, 2003
After watching a 3-part Channel 5 documentary on Fred & Rose West in early October of 2001, Gloucestershires chief constable Tim Brain told the BBC that he thought it was sickening and unjustified.
Gloucestershire police found the broadcast out of context, hyped by inaccurate allegations and in poor taste. The police were not opposed to documentaries dealing with the West case, but other issues:
Tim Brain explained: What we object to is the use of this prosecution material which is subject to legal privilege. Our second concern is the feelings of the families of victimsWe believe any programme-makers should handle this matter extremely delicately.
Caroline Roberts, 45, who was abducted and sexually assaulted by the Wests, agreed that the documentaries should never have been shown, especially in the entertainment business.

Parmjit Dhanda, MP (BBC)
Parmjit Dhanda, MP
The fact that a documentary was permitted to be made using police interviews of Fred West was the subject of a bill introduced in March of 2002 into Parliament by Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda to prohibit the sale of criminal evidence.
Fred West had not made a will before he committed suicide in Birminghams Winson Green Prison on New Years Day in 1995.� Therefore the tapes of his interviews were never heard in court because his death occurred before his trial.� In order to maximize the value of the Wests estate, the official solicitor offered Wests possessions, including the tapes of his interviews, to the highest bidder which was Creative Consortium, a film production company
Dhanda told the House of Commons that: [The programme] showed Fred West describing his crimes in great detailIt showed pictures of victims, faded in and out against pictures of their skeletal remainsIt shows Rose West undressing in front of the camera and in bed with her clients.
Had West not killed himself before his trial and almost certain conviction, the British government would have owned that evidence.
While Dhandas bill is unlikely to become law, the bill gave him the opportunity to say his mind about this controversial issue.
As controversial as the West documentary was, the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) in March of 2002 reported that the 3-part series was a serious, unsensationalised effort to understand the Wests criminal behavior.
The BSC told BBC News that the idea of the series was to place the killings in context to gain an insight into why they took place and how Fred West evolved from a sex offender to a serial killer.
In August of 2002, Edinburghs forensic psychologist Dr. Keith Ashcroft thinks that Fred Wests insatiable sex needs were caused by a severe head injury after a motorcycle accident that occurred when he was a teenager.
Ashcroft theorized that frontal lobe damage may be partially responsible for sexual deviancy, although genetic defects or birth injuries could also contribute.� Unfortunately, he has not been able to get access to Wests autopsy reports to determine if his theory can be substantiated.
Ashcroft believes that extreme killers and pedophiles have brain abnormalities. Their impulsivity, lack of contact with reality, and inability to engage socially is linked to the frontal lobe of the brain its where our conscience is.
On November 25, 2002, British Law Lords ruled that power exercised by the British home secretary to increase minimum sentences given to murderers was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Home Secretary David Blunkett will push for new laws establishing minimum sentences for certain crimes, such as the sexually-motivated murders committed by Rose and Fred West.
Rose Wests minimum sentence was 25 years for the murder of 10 women. However, the home secretary later decided that she would serve a whole-life sentence.� Rose West announced in 2001 that she intends to stay in prison for the rest of her life and has abandoned her appeals.
On Wednesday, January 22, 2003, BBC News reported "the wedding between jailed serial killer Rose West and Slade bass player Dave Glover has been called off - just days after it was announced. The pair have been writing to each other for a year, but Mr. Glover is reported to have pulled out because of the publicity."� West and Glover surprised the world when they announced their marriage on Sunday, January 19.
By way of explanation for the broken engagement, Rose West said she wanted to give "this young man his life back."�
Her lawyer, Mr. Leo Goatley claimed that: "She sounded quite matter of fact when she told me the news. She just said 'I want you to tell the press that the relationship is at an end.'"�
Reuters reported that a spokesman said, "It has all come as an incredible shock," said a spokesman. "At no point had Dave Glover discussed this. It's like marrying Hitler."� Slade said Glover, 36, had been working regularly with them over the last 18 months, but that he was a session musician and his contract had now been terminated.


  1. Who else was involved in the investigation of the case of Fred and Rose West? Apart from the ones that are listed on this page.

  2. found this really interesting and educational as i am doing a blog myself on British killers