I didn’t get any suggestions last week on what to do this week so I decided to go with the serial killer which I find the most interesting. In this case it is a serial killer couple, the most confusing part in this is that the majority of serial killers tend to be male and work alone. But there are a few out there who have come together and encouraged each other in their sick deeds. So this week I am going to talk about…
Year’s active: 1971 to 1987
Number of Killings: Fred; 11-13, Rose; 10
Killing method: Strangulation, Suffocation
Year caught: 1992
Where now: Fred; committed suicide whilst awaiting trial in 1995, Rose; In Low Newton prison in Durham (Age 60)
The house of 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester has often been known as “The house of horrors”, not long after the murders were discovered the house was demolished and now all that stands of the
house is an empty alley way. The most notable of the west’s murders was that of their own daughter, Heather West, who’s body they buried under the patio and used this as a threat towards their other children. The horrific incestuous and torturous couple managed to get away with murder for so long that they started to be less careful.
At the age of 19 he was accused of molesting a 13 year old girl and when questioned by the police he said “Well, doesn’t everyone do it?” showing what Fred had considered the norm.
Rose West was born on November 29th, 1953. Her parents split up when she was a teenager and she moved in with her dad in Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham at the age of 16. Her father was a paranoid Schizophrenic who was prone to violence and repeatedly sexually abused Rose. Even after Rose met Fred she worked as a prostitute whilst Fred watched, Rose’s father would also still visit her for sex with the permission of Fred.
Before Fred met Rose he married a woman named Rena Costello who had a daughter of her own named Charmaine. Fred and Rena also had a child together called Anne Marie. One of Rena’s friends Anne Mcfall became infatuated with Fred and stayed with him when Rena left. Anne Mcfall vanished when she was eight months pregnant with Fred’s child, her remains were not found until 1994, she was thought to be Fred’s first murder.
|Heather Anne West|
In 1970, Rose gave birth to their first daughter, Heather Anne. A few months later Fred was imprisoned for 6 months for theft, during this time Rose murdered Charmaine. According to Anne Marie (another of Fred and Rose’s children who is still alive today) both her and Charmaine were subject to beatings regularly, but Charmaine angered Rose due to her refusal to cry which eventually lead to her murder. When Rena returned to collect Charmaine, she too disappeared.
Just after Fred and Rose married, Rose went into prostitution and eventually went onto having seven children. Rose even had her own room that Fred created which had a peephole so he could watch and a red light above the door to warn their children not to enter.
Fred and Rose picked up people from bus stops and parks which they would torture and mutilate. They also had a number of lodgers and “babysitters” for their children which also lead the same fate. Other than the children their is only one known survivor of Fred and Rose West and that is Caroline Roberts.
Caroline Roberts was picked up by Fred and Rose West with the intention of her being a “nanny” for their children. She moved into
Cromwell street but quickly became uncomfortable, with Rose’s outbursts at the children and casual way they spoke about sex, when Caroline was asked to join in group sex she fled the house and vowed never to return. However, a month later the couple picked her up again and apologised, so Caroline got back into the car. But Fred then turned around and punched her in the head repeatedly, they tied her up and repeatedly beat and sexually abused her, they left her tied up throughout the night and Fred came back the next morning and agreed to let her go as long as she carried on being the children’s nanny. Caroline fled the house and contacted the police but Fred and Rose only got a £100 fine.
The first point of discovery of the West’s murder spree was when a girl told her girlfriend about Fred West raping her, she immediately went to the police. The case was assigned to a detective by the name Hazel Savage who knew about Fred’s past with sexual assault. In 1992, the police arrived with a search warrant for Cromwell street where they found evidence of child abuse, the couple were arrested. Hazel went onto interviewing the couples children, this was where the idea of Heather Anne having being murdered came about.
|Digging up of Cromwell Street|
Fred eventually confessed to killing Heather Anne when the police came to dig up their back garden in search of bodies. Fred initially said that he acted alone but as soon as Rose abandoned Fred he changed his story and put all the blame on her. A number of bodies were found in their back garden. In the initial hearing Rose would not look at or touch Fred, this was devastating for Fred and he hung himself in his cell in Winson green prison, Birmingham in 1995. Rose was found guilty of 10 murders and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Any thoughts on this couple or their children? Any serial killer you want me to write about next week? Let me know.