As the court proceedings commence, a man and a woman stand in the dock, appearing noticeably different from one another. The middle-aged man is of short stature and boasts an unusual head shape. His curly hair is startlingly prominent, further emphasizing his disproportionately large head. His facial features are peculiarly unformed, resembling those of an undefined child. An anxious smile reveals pale blue eyes that are engulfed by the soft, pasty cushion of his face—a gap between his two front teeth adds to his youthful and childlike appearance. Donning a cheap suit, he looks entirely out of place within the courtroom, like a young boy begrudgingly forced to attend an unwanted formal event.
“All I Have Is My Life…I Will Give It To You, My Love…”
As the trial nears its end, the police officers stationed beside the man prepare to escort him away from the court. However, the man resists and turns his pleading gaze to the woman standing before him, just like an overgrown child seeking comfort. He timidly stretches out his hand towards her, but as he does so, the officers intervene and physically push him back. The man locks eyes with the woman, registering her reaction to his attempt. Sadly, six months later, the man is found dead in his prison cell, his heartbroken and shattered – as were the lives of all he had damaged. An improvised noose constructed using strips of his bedsheet and tied to a ventilation grille above his cell door, became his chosen method for ending his life. In a heartfelt farewell letter addressed to the woman, he confesses, “All I have is my life… I will give it to you, my love. When you’re prepared, join me. I’ll be here waiting for you.”
Contrasting the man’s appearance, the woman stands tall, with a heavy and formidable presence. Despite being a decade younger than the middle-aged man, her bulky figure and drab, ill-fitting navy cardigan add years to her appearance. Her features are plain and doughy, with large purple-framed glasses dominating her face. Her dull brown eyes stare at the courtroom emotionlessly, interrupted only occasionally by a pudgy hand smoothing her straight mousy brown hair, cut just below the ears in an unflattering manner. Her small mouth appears as a thin line on the broad and flat expanse of her face, while her gaze finds little interest in surveying the court officials. However, she purposefully avoids glancing at the man beside her sharing the dock.
Fred and Rose West, reviled by society, were the lead characters in a storybook romance…one of the bloodiest
Fred and Rose West, reviled by society, held a unique worldview where they were the lead characters in a storybook romance. Tragically, this outlook would manifest as one of the bloodiest criminal cases in recent memory. In the cramped and dingy trailer that was their make-do home, Fred lay on the unkempt bed while Rose’s eager hands roamed his body. However, Fred was exhausted, spent by previous activity, and had to turn down Rose’s advances. Despite her lumpy form and unhealthy physical traits that come from poor eating habits, she held an irresistible allure for Fred. At 15 years old, Rose was the only person whose desires matched or exceeded Fred’s own. The levels of Rose’s sexual appetite often necessitated that other men join them at their caravan to fulfill her insatiable needs. Though these extraneous relationships generated extra cash, Rose claimed to have no interest in financial gain, declaring she would do it simply for the pleasure.
Despite the rumors about Rose’s mental state and her father’s abusive behavior, Fred West was not ignorant of these details. However, his sexual desires were insatiable and he could not resist the allure of Rose Letts despite her questionable background. He disregarded the derogatory label “Dozy Rosie” given to her by her family due to her tendency to rock back and forth while alone with herself. At 27 years old, Fred was already saddled with familial responsibilities. He had two small children – one from his own relationship and another from a scandalous affair that his wife Rena had indulged in. Deeply buried in his psyche lurked a dark secret; a year prior to meeting Rose, he became embroiled in an intimate affair with a woman named Anna McFall. Anna served as an undercover nanny for his offspring once Rena, who worked as a prostitute, moved back to Scotland.
the beginning of Fred west’s long and gruesome list of victims.
The issues between Fred and Anna surfaced when Rena, who was facing minor theft charges, returned to Gloucester in November 1966 and reunited with Fred. Meanwhile, Anna began exhibiting controlling behaviour, demanding that Fred abandon his wife and fully commit to her. The situation escalated when Anna became pregnant and wanted to become the next Mrs. West. She shared these ambitions with her family in Scotland, extolling the virtues of her wonderful boyfriend and their happy life together. However, Fred couldn’t financially support another child nor did he have any desire to marry Anna. Fearful and under pressure, he made a rash decision.
In July of the following year, Anna McFall vanished from the scene without a trace. It wasn’t until more than twenty-five years later that her remains were uncovered along with those of her unborn child in Finger Post Field, located just inside the county border of Gloucestershire. These discoveries represented the first two in what would become a long and gruesome list of Fred West’s victims.
Rose Letts was drawn to a man who lived in a caravan with two young children, as Fred had fathered one child while his wife bore another from an affair. Locals often considered him mentally handicapped due to a motorbike accident he’d suffered at age 17. While Fred was insatiable when it came to sex, he lacked an intuitive sense of human relationships. All the while, he had already committed murder and realized two key lessons as a result of his actions: first, that those who were killed could vanish without raising suspicion, much like a silent stone dropped into water, and secondly, that murder excited him.
‘She’s not even your own daughter…’
Rose Letts made a controversial decision in November 1969 when she moved in with Fred West, despite her parents’ disapproval. Rena had also disappeared by this point, and Fred was left to care for their two young children: Charmaine, age six, and Anna Marie, age five. Though Rose was put in charge of their care, she struggled to bond with the children due to her emotional immaturity at just 16 years old. She grew increasingly irritable by their noise and messiness, and took particular issue with Charmaine. ‘She’s not even your own daughter,’ Rose would complain to Fred. ‘And yet you’re supposed to look after her, feed her and put up with her moods. It’s not right!’. Rose regularly complained to Fred about the unfairness of having to look after somebody else’s daughter, feed her, and deal with her mood swings.
After giving birth to her own daughter, a dark-haired girl named Heather, at just 17 years old, Rose Letts and her expanding family moved into a drafty flat within an old house on Midland Road in Gloucester. Fred was later incarcerated for a theft-related charge, leaving Rose alone to manage three young children. Her already-simmering frustration with Charmaine only grew, leading her to lash out physically. Initially resorting to slapping the child, Rose escalated to using kitchen utensils or even smashing crockery over Charmaine’s head.
With Fred behind bars, she had few outlets for affection and instead found sadistic pleasure in punishing Charmaine. She’d tie the child’s hands behind her back with a belt, beat her legs with wooden spoons or leave her restrained and neglected for hours on end. The abuse even resulted in Charmaine being admitted to the hospital once for an unusual ankle wound that was never explained. Those who once viewed Rose as a mundane and unimaginative person would have been surprised by the creativity she devoted to reprimanding eight-year-old Charmaine.
In one of her many affectionate letters to Fred West, Rose Letts mused about the treatment of Charmaine in May 1971. “Darling, about Char,” she wrote. “I think she likes to be handled rough. But darling, why do I have to be the one to do it?” At just 17 years old, Rose was already showing signs of the person she would become: someone who lacked empathy for the pain of others, believed that an 8-year-old child could enjoy violence inflicted upon them, and portrayed herself as the sole victim even as she dished out increasingly sadistic punishments. Tragically, similar to Anna McFall’s disappearance, Charmaine too went missing one day. When Anna Marie returned from school and couldn’t locate her older sister, Rose claimed that Rena had come to take Charmaine away during the day. This falsehood was repeated to anyone who asked, although few people showed any interest in investigating further.
a macabre bond whose relationship was built on anger, cruelty, and disregard for others.
Charmaine had tragically become the victim of one of Rose’s violent outbursts, ultimately leading to her death. Her remains were hidden in the cellar of their dwelling, while Fred appeared unconcerned with the child’s fate. In Fred’s view, children were both abundant and dispensable, a mindset where people come and go without much thought or emotion. When Fred was released from custody a short time later, he and Rose disposed of the body outside within the muddy yard near the back door.
Fred’s occupation as a builder meant that their neighbours paid no notice to his work digging in the yard. As a result, he had no trouble creating a grave without raising suspicion. Thus, Charmaine’s passing became a macabre bond between the couple whose relationship was built on anger, cruelty, and disregard for others. To them, murder was simply another mundane aspect of life, and people were mere instruments to be exploited before being discarded. From these toxic roots grew twisted feelings of affection that blossomed around the forgotten remains of a helpless child.
With their first killing behind them, Fred and Rose had both become seasoned murderers with three pivotal takeaways: that killing was simpler than they originally thought, that their minds could suppress its effects and enable them to sleep soundly at night, and that the world remained ignorant even as a corpse rotted away in a musty basement. The situation at Midland Road began devolving into increasing chaos. Rose, who’d discovered a preference for prostitution in her previous life in a caravan, received clients in one room of their home. Excited by the sounds passing through the flimsy walls, Fred even installed peepholes to observe her during these transactions. He introduced Rose to various sexual practices like bondage, sex toys, lesbian encounters, threesomes, and others. Yet, it was Rose’s insatiable appetite for such experiences which stunned him.
Anna Marie became accustomed to the presence of strange men in the house during the nighttime, but she could never get used to Rose’s unpredictable and explosive temper. Whenever she noticed Fred preparing to leave, she’d plead with him, begging to accompany him and avoid being left alone with her stepmother. Unfortunately, despite his love for his daughter, Fred would never side with her against Rose. Poor Anna Marie resorted to avoiding her surroundings, dreaming of her biological mother coming back for her, just like how she had saved Charmaine. Perhaps they could become a complete family once again, just like other kids at school who had moms that helped them with homework, invited friends over for tea, and didn’t fly into fits of rage if a mistake was made.
Despite Anna Marie’s hopeful anticipation towards every visitor at their door, her birth mother would never show up with Charmaine by her side, ready to take them away. Rena West (née Costello), a resident of Scotland herself, had actively searched for her daughters during August 1971. Rena had inquired around the village of Much Marcle, which was close to where Fred grew up and had an almost uncomfortably tight relationship with his mother Daisy. Although Daisy had passed away, her husband and another son still lived there and relayed that Fred’s estranged wife was searching for him. “What will I say to Rena?” fretted Fred to Rose. “She’ll certainly be curious about Char…”. They both understood the inevitable answer to that question.
During August 1971, Fred made arrangements to pick up Rena and bring her to see her daughters. As Rena got in the car with him, she was filled with anticipation for the emotional reunion that awaited her. However, as they eventually arrived at Midland Road in the middle of the night, Rena didn’t excitedly peer out of the window or straighten her hair nervously in hopes of making a good impression on the daughters she had traveled to see. Instead, her lifeless body was already there, having been murdered by Fred. Over twenty years would pass before her remains were found buried in a nearby field, dismembered with each limb carefully removed and sliced from the neck.
wedding vows & 25 Cromwell Street
In January of 1972, Fred and Rose exchanged their wedding vows, subsequently turning to a move to their newly established residence: 25 Cromwell Street, which would gain notoriety around the world for its horrific events. This tall and lanky house was situated in a somewhat shabby inner city street inhabited by drug users, transients, prostitutes, and dole fraudsters. The home’s long and narrow backyard was shadowed on one side by the red brick wall of a Seventh Day Adventist Church and on the other by a row of tall fir trees whose lengthy shadows cast the garden into almost permanent dimness. Beforehand, the area was embedded with family homes, but nowadays, most of the buildings in the street were converted into lacklustre flats or bed-sits. People in this environment kept to themselves and shied away from socialization, as if to avoid any potential dangers. For over twenty years, this would be the Wests’ residence.
On the exterior, to those who were not a part of the West family residing at 25 Cromwell Street, they seemed to symbolize what an average working-class family ought to look like. The father of the household, Fred, was typically out working during most of the day, and when he wasn’t, he was seen performing alterations and home improvements in their first ever owned property. The children – who seemed to have a new addition every year – were taken to school promptly every day, with their mother Rose collecting them.
A plain-looking woman in dresses much like a tent and little girl socks- she bore the appearance of a matronly figure. Granted, a lot of people appeared to be coming in and out of the house at strange hours, but this could be easily clarified by the knowledge that the Wests were renting out rooms within their home to lodgers – providing extra income that went towards paying off the house mortgage. In truth, they came across as hard-working and dedicated people looking for ways to improve their lives – just like any other family would be.
Contrary to surface-level impressions, the West family at 25 Cromwell Street are anything but ordinary. Within the walls unfurled an atmosphere far from what could be considered a home. Rose, in particular, was the proprietor of a special room intended for male clients – inclusive of sex toys, pornographic films, and most notably, a spy-hole allowing Fred to view the happenings within. If Rose found herself growing tired of these interactions, she would wander about half-naked towards the lodgers’ rooms in order to engage in sexual activity with young men who paid rent to live and stay within the premises; their income able to assist with supporting the finances of the West family.
Rose had a habit of losing her temper quickly, now lashing out on her children whenever they were close by to bear witness. The children – several belonging to Fred, while some fathered from among Rose’s West Indian clientele – learned swiftly how to carry out their chores and avoid getting in anyone’s way. Most crucially though, they had learned not to speak out about the constant stream of young women entering and suddenly fleeing the house, leaving behind select scattered belongings for Rose to retrieve. The children kept quiet about the screams heard during the night and beatings they would endure, in addition to staying silent regarding incidents of rape that took place within the household.
Anna Marie’s introduction to the horrifying world of Fred and Rose was far from a one-time occurrence – in the years that followed, she was repeatedly subjected to sexual assault, forced to participate in group sex sessions, and even held down and abused by visiting men. Like her stepmother, Anna Marie was ultimately made into a prostitute. This trauma of hers was shared by several other West family children over the years, familiar with the torture chamber situated in Cromwell Street’s cellar. Tied to metal frames, mouths gagged and screams muffled, these children grimly clung on to the disappointing realization that no one might arrive to their aid.
Heather, the eldest child of Fred and Rose’s biological children, eventually found herself resisting her father’s attempts at “breaking her in”. Displaying defiance, she even asked her sister Mae to keep watch while she showered. Rose’s reaction to this blockage of their plan was pure fury: “She’s certainly a lesbian!” she sneered towards Fred in reference to Heather’s rebellious demeanour.
Soon after turning 16, Heather vanished without a trace, much like Charmaine
Heather’s refusal to comply with her parents’ perverse demands was simply a facade masking the increasing desperation she felt. She longed to break free of the shackles binding her to Cromwell Street, seeking refuge in a place where she could go to school without being beaten for tardiness and sleep through the night without lying awake, fearing a sudden and unwelcome intrusion into her room or the sounds of screams coming up from the cellar. Soon after turning 16, Heather vanished without a trace, much like Charmaine had several years earlier. Upon returning home from school, the other West children asked about their sister’s whereabouts only to receive a blunt answer from Fred: “She’s gone. Heather snagged herself a job in a holiday camp located in Devon. A fella picked her up in a Mini,” he told them.
The car that had been promised to carry Heather away and start her new life was never to be. Boundaries were crossed, hopes were shattered and a life snuffed out as Heather’s apparent smile and refusal to be owned signalled menace to either Fred or Rose. Her body was soon buried by Fred in a hole located in the garden after using his older son, Stephen for assistance under the guise of digging an area for future fish containment. The long-lasting results of such a traumatic and heinous act on a child are unimaginable. True to form, Fred proceeded to dismember Heather’s body prior to burial, retaining certain bones as tokens. As it turned out, Heather would not be the first victim to undergo this treatment at 25 Cromwell Street.
Numerous young women crossed the threshold of 25 Cromwell Street only to never exit again. Deceived by the facade maintained by Fred and Rose, some of these women entered willingly, lured by the promise of a stable, normal home. Rose would entice them with benign messages like, “Come round for a girlie chat”, expressing fake remorse over their troubled situations. These were girls who had left care homes seeking refuge, others who found themselves at odds with their parents, many from backgrounds where kindness was unfamiliar and unfamiliar was kindness. Yet there were also others who were simply plucked off the streets, caught at night in areas considered unsafe for “nice girls.”
As slaves under a couple increasingly bound to deviant acts, what became of these women in Fred and Rose’s underground dungeon? What kind of depths pervaded an environment where the lines between sex and pain blurred? While some were held captive for hours, others were incarcerated for days. Some wore masks, one female had just enough room in her nostril cavity to thread a tube through for breathing, suspended from wooden beams while others were taped in dire positions amidst muffled screams that escaped their gagged-together mouths. In spite of such depravity, two women managed to escape.
One of them, Caroline Owens fled after spending only one night imprisoned within this house of horrors. Although she went to the authorities to inform them of her ordeal, the Wests were only charged with assault and the penalty imposed was shockingly lenient. Caroline felt the grip of death at the hands of Fred who had raped her and then menacingly threatened to bury her under Gloucester’s paving stones. Her intuition led her to believe that she was not alone, and countless women without identities consigned to oblivion, pervaded the same depressing urban street. The second girl was a minor from a care home, unable to unburden herself to anyone. She existed with her trauma and fear, wrapped tightly around her like a restrictive straitjacket; a suffocating life. However, the Wests were bound to make mistakes.
One of the girls they abducted off the streets was Lucy Partington, a member of an affluent and tight-knit family, who mobilized an extensive search party for her. Her picture was publish in both newspapers and local news outlets throughout the area, pinned ferociously on lampposts and throughout social media. Lucy happened to be the niece of Kingsley Amis, the celebrated novelist. Her disappearance affected him deeply, chronicled extensively by his son Martin Amis in his memoir Experience.
Lucy’s pictures gradually disappeared due to the absence of any evidence linking her to the Wests and without any leads on her whereabouts. Other crimes began to surface, forming newer mysteries and different disappearances. Meanwhile, Fred and Rose continued their atrocious acts in their shabby semi-detached home, murdering victims and continuing to sexually abuse their own children while burying bodies discreetly beneath their back yard and cellar. As TS Eliot wrote in his poem, the end was not dramatic but rather underwhelming. A girl, only 13 years old, emerged as the key witness after suffering unredeemable abuse at the hands of the Wests. She opened up to one of her school friends, who dutifully alerted the authorities. The case was assigned to Hazel Savage, a policewoman who remembered Fred West from years before; during which she had come into contact with his then-estranged wife Rena Costello. An amalgamation of memories and facts woven together provided a vivid description of Fred’s dreadful sexual inclinations and violent tendencies.
law enforcement discovery
Upon arriving at the Wests’ residence, law enforcement discovered approximately 100 highly explicit pornographic videos, with a good portion of them self-produced. Subsequently, Fred and Rose were taken into police custody, and the five youngest children were placed under protective care.
“When I get out of here, they won’t have anything on me,” Rose proclaimed upon her release on bail, February 27, 1994. Despite her statement, the authorities started building a tighter case against the Wests, intending to unriddle their moral depravity. Hazel Savage investigated Anna Marie, by now a mother of two daughters living independently. From Anna Marie, Hazel learned about heart-wrenching experience after experience trapped in fear and pain over a childhood subjected to parents who abused her like an animate sex toy while distributing her amongst their friends.
“Please find Charmaine for me,” begged Anna Marie, “I have been looking for her for years.” However, Chris Davies, Anna Marie’s ex-husband who was acquainted with the Wests gave the police a different story. “You should look for Heather,” he suggested to Hazel Savage. Nevertheless, both Charmaine and Heather’s whereabouts remained unknown, just like litter that scatters aimlessly on Cromwell Street.
Fred and Rose gave conflicting testimonies about what might have occurred to Heather: she had reportedly gone to the holiday camp, or simply vanished without any apparent reason when Rose went shopping, or according to them, she earned her keep as a prostitute and drug dealer.
The case of Fred and Rose West’s sexual assault charges crumbled on June 7, 1993. The primary witness in the case – an anonymous 13-year-old girl – failed to appear at trial, leading to its collapse. In consequence, the police disposed of a large portion of their extensive collection of pornographic films, which were largely untouched. Though the Wests celebrated and believed that they were beyond the law’s grasp once again, Hazel Savage couldn’t let it go.
Her mind was filled with Rena’s voice reverberating over the years. She pictured the young Anna Marie betrayed and brutalised by those who were supposed to love her most. At the same time, information was filtering through about what the young West children were saying while under protective care. Social services grew particularly concerned about an ongoing joke among the children that underlined you should never get cross with Fred; otherwise, you may find yourself buried under their patio, much like Heather West. The idea that Fred and Rose might have played a role in their daughter’s mysterious disappearance was almost impossible to entertain. However, many aspects of Fred and Rose West’s life appeared to be beyond a typical person’s comprehension.
Hazel Savage’s tenacity led her to push for a warrant to search the garden of 25 Cromwell Street. Skeptics repeatedly questioned her, asking: “What if you’re wrong?” and suggested that the amount of money spent on searching for possible evidence may be unreasonable for “some kind of children’s sick joke.” Despite the doubts and criticisms cast upon her, Hazel was convinced that dark secrets lay buried in the bleakly paved strip of garden behind the Wests’ home. She felt that someone had to come forward to bring these secrets to light; someone needed to stop Fred, who had a creepy grin and rough hands from harming others. Rose, with her collection of sex toys that resembled torture instruments and her little-girl socks, also needed to be stopped. Hazel Savage was propelled by an unyielding determination to uncover the truth, regardless of the cynicism surrounding the grim situation.
the digging began
On February 24, 1994, a police van pulled up outside 25 Cromwell Street. Rose was alone in the house with her son Stephen when they entered. Her screeching pleas echoed throughout the home as police officers forced their way to the back garden and began pulling up paving stones, while a mechanical digger manoeuvred through the narrow yard. Despite the bitter cold, the men continued to work diligently, their breath hanging in the dank air. Stephen was adamant about his mother’s innocence, telling the police that they were making fools of themselves.
However, the officers responded tersely that it was their prerogative to do what was necessary to unearth the truth. Rose played the part of an offended, innocent homeowner to perfection and became increasingly outraged at the damage being done to her property. She emphasized this feeling of outrage by magnifying her already large eyes with her glasses and jabbing angry holes in the air with her plump fingers, all for show. Upon Fred’s return, he accused the police of harassment and insisted that they be left alone. The couple’s ability to act so convincingly in their distress was not surprising; they believed that their reprehensible behaviours – rape, incest, and murder – were entirely their own business and that their children were merely possessions. They staunchly refused to accept that anyone else had a right to intervene in their destructive lives.
“I’ve done something really bad.”
The noise of the digger ringing through the bleak house made the reality of the situation clear to Fred. He realized that the police were not going to leave anytime soon, and that they would inevitably find Heather’s remains. The question now was: how many other corpses would they stumble upon in the process? It was time for Fred to confess. As casually as possible, he told his son, “I’ve done something really bad.” Standing at the back door of the house, he directed police to the specific spot where Heather’s body lay buried for six years. “There’s no need to dig anywhere else now, is there?” he suggested.
Despite this claim, excavation efforts in the garden led to the discovery of bones from two separate skeletons, indicating that Heather was not alone in her resting place. Fred eventually admitted to killing two more women whose bodies lay buried under the garden. He confessed that other bodies could be found under the bathroom and cellar floors, as well. According to Fred, murder had not been his intention in any of these cases – they were all situations that had spiraled out of control. Additionally, he insisted that the rapes did not occur and instead suggested that the women had been willing sexual partners until things went too far. Rose, according to him, played no role in any of the killings.
For two weeks, the world was fixated on 25 Cromwell Street as police unearthed the remains of nine victims. The home’s dark past was finally being brought to light – a place where the screams of young girls went unheard and their bones lay buried and forgotten in the damp earth for years, if not decades. However, this was not the end of the revelations. Rena Costello and Anna McFall’s bodies were soon discovered in the rolling Gloucester countryside, while Charmaine’s remains were found hidden beneath the cellar of 25 Midland Road. Each set of bones told its own gruesome tale, bearing witness to unspeakable horror. Meanwhile, Rose continued to maintain that she knew nothing of the young girls who came into their home and were never seen again, or of the dismembered bodies found in their bathtub. She protested vehemently about not having heard any screams ringing out into the night or learning anything about her daughter or stepdaughter’s mysterious disappearances.
Rose West’s claims of innocence fell on deaf ears as she was charged with ten counts of murder, while Fred faced twelve. The possibility that there were more victims whose remains were buried under the paving stones of Gloucester, as Fred suggested, loomed ominously. These individuals had not been mourned or even remembered by their loved ones. While awaiting trial in prison, Rose turned on her husband, claiming to be a victim as well. She cried about the things Fred had taken from her – including her youth, purity, daughter, and freedom.
Meanwhile, Fred, who had never shown any remorse for his victims, began weeping for himself and the loss of what he deemed to be a pure and noble love. He showered “Rosie” with letters full of longing and adoration and sent messages of love via their children, who continued to visit despite everything. However, Rose refused to reply to any of these overtures. During court appearances, she would not even look at her husband and recoiled from his touch. Fred’s heart broke into pieces when he realized that he could not bear to be without Rose. She had been the one who made his twisted thoughts seem normal and welcome – his darkest fantasies in real life had been possible thanks to her encouragement. She recognized the evil within him and allowed it to become a part of their family’s existence. Rose had been like a carnival mirror reflecting back all of his malice à la normalcy mirror.
‘Happy New Year, darling… All my love forever and ever’
Without Rose by his side, Fred West’s true nature was exposed – that of a grinning, puffed-up little man whose sexual inadequacy was masked by his depravities. He exercised power only over those who could not defend themselves and inflicted pain on the defenseless. With Rose, however, he had been a hero in his own love story. On New Year’s Day in 1995, Fred wrote a loving message to his wife before taking his own life shortly thereafter. ‘Happy New Year, darling… All my love forever and ever’.
He took with him the secrets of other burial grounds and victims that would never be revealed. Meanwhile, Rose was left alone to face the aftermath. Ten months after Fred’s death, Rose West was found guilty of ten counts of murder. During her trial, survivors like Caroline Owen and Anna Marie Davies spoke on behalf of the deceased with courage and dignity, inspiring all who witnessed their testimonies. Despite this overwhelming evidence of her cruelty, sadism, and explosive temper, Rose continued to deny any involvement in these heinous acts.
Rose sentenced to life…10 times over
Rose West will remain behind bars for the rest of her life, having been sentenced to ten life sentences for murder. Surprisingly, she has displayed no interest in what became of her partner of more than fifty years, Fred’s ashes. The story of Fred and Rose West is an eerie, dark love story that stars a couple who went unnoticed by most – they seemed nondescript and typical, with busy lives that revolved around school runs and home improvements. However, together they carried out some of the most atrocious murders in criminal history.
Under their roof, a household of terror existed. Children’s screams echoed throughout the night as young women lost both their innocence and their lives. The couple enjoyed family barbecues on their patio, below which lay their own dismembered daughter’s remains, mingled with those of many others who had found death to be a welcome release from their living nightmare. Fred’s suicide was not a result of guilt for the untold victims he had murdered, nor regret for the killing of his own children, nor even a sudden bout of conscience for the scale of his wrongdoing. It was the loss of love that caused him to lose the will to live. United, Fred and Rose remained steadfast, creating a household filled with torture chambers and terror that would haunt the memory of all who discovered their deeds.
Without the woman he loved by his side, Fred West was a lost and confused soul, struggling to navigate through a world that seemed foreign to him. He was still capable of committing heinous acts of murder and rape, even in solitude. However, it was Rose who reinforced and encouraged his destructive urges, portraying them as ordinary and justifiable. Together, they partook in increasingly gruesome displays of sadism and cruelty, engaging in torture, sexual assaults, and killings… All in the name of their warped version of love.