Fred and Rose West are two of the most notorious and cold-blooded serial killers in British history. They were responsible for a string of brutal murders, tortures, and sexual assaults, which took place between the 1960s and 1980s in Gloucestershire, England. This article delves into the dark world of Fred and Rose West, providing a comprehensive account of their lives and the gruesome murders they committed.
- Early lives of Fred and Rose West
Fred West was born on September 29, 1941, in the small village of Much Marcle in Herefordshire, England. He was the second of six children born to Walter Stephen West and Daisy Hannah Hill. Fred’s childhood was marked by poverty, physical abuse, and sexual abuse within the family.
Rosemary Letts, better known as Rose West, was born on November 29, 1953, in Northam, Devon, England. She was the fifth of seven children born to William Andrew Letts and Daisy Gwendoline Fuller. Rose’s childhood was also marred by violence and sexual abuse, with her father being a tyrannical and sadistic figure in her life.
Fred and Rose met in early 1969, when Rose was only 15 years old and Fred was 27. They quickly formed a twisted relationship, fueled by their shared love for violence and sexual depravity. In 1970, they moved in together, and in 1972, they got married.
- The House of Horrors: 25 Cromwell Street
In 1972, the couple moved into 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester, which would later be dubbed the “House of Horrors.” It was here that the Wests committed the majority of their heinous crimes. The house had several rooms that were used for the imprisonment, torture, and murder of their victims, and the cellar was converted into a torture chamber.
- The Victims and Their Murders
Over the years, Fred and Rose West killed at least 12 young women and girls, including members of their own family. Their known victims include:
- Charmaine West (Fred’s stepdaughter): Murdered in 1971 by Rose while Fred was in prison for theft. Her body was found buried at 25 Midland Road, their previous residence.
- Catherine “Rena” Costello (Fred’s first wife): Murdered in August 1971, dismembered and buried in a shallow grave near Much Marcle.
- Lynda Gough: Murdered in April 1973. Her dismembered remains were found buried in the cellar at 25 Cromwell Street.
- Carol Ann Cooper: Murdered in November 1973. Her remains were found in the same cellar in 1994.
- Lucy Partington: Murdered in December 1973. Her remains were found in the cellar in 1994.
- Therese Siegenthaler: Murdered in April 1974. Her remains were found in the cellar in 1994.
- Shirley Hubbard: Murdered in November 1974. Her remains were found in the cellar in 1994.
- Juanita Mott: Murdered in April 1975. Her remains were found in the cellar in 1994.
- Shirley Robinson: Murdered in May 1978. She was pregnant with Fred’s child at the time. Her remains were found in the garden at 25 Cromwell Street.
- Alison Chambers: Murdered in August 1979. Her remains were found in the garden at 25 Cromwell Street.
- Heather West (Fred and Rose’s daughter): Murdered in June 1987. Heather’s disappearance and rumors of her murder eventually led to the police investigation that uncovered the Wests’ gruesome crimes. Her remains were found in the garden at 25 Cromwell Street.
Most of the Wests’ victims were young women who were abducted, sexually assaulted, and tortured before being murdered. The bodies were typically dismembered and buried in the cellar, under the patio, or in the garden of the Cromwell Street house. In many cases, the victims’ limbs were bound with tape or cords, and their heads were covered with tape or cloth.
- The Investigation and Arrests
In August 1992, the police began investigating Fred and Rose West after receiving a tip about the possible murder of their daughter, Heather. As they dug deeper into the case, they uncovered a horrifying pattern of abuse and murder.
On February 24, 1994, the police arrested Fred West on suspicion of murdering Heather. During a search of 25 Cromwell Street, they discovered human remains buried in the garden. This led to the arrest of Rose West on April 20, 1994.
The couple was initially charged with the murder of Heather, but as the investigation progressed, additional victims were discovered, and the charges multiplied. In total, Fred was charged with 12 counts of murder, while Rose was charged with 10 counts.
- Trials and Sentencing
Fred West never stood trial for his crimes, as he was found dead in his prison cell on January 1, 1995. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging. Rose West’s trial began on October 3, 1995. She pleaded not guilty to all charges, but the jury found her guilty of 10 counts of murder on November 22, 1995. She was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In 2003, the Home Secretary confirmed that Rose West would spend the rest of her life behind bars, making her one of only three women in British history to receive a whole-life tariff.
- Aftermath and Legacy
Following the investigation and trials, 25 Cromwell Street was demolished in 1996, and a public walkway was built in its place. The Wests’ crimes shocked and horrified the nation, leaving an indelible mark on British society. The case also raised serious questions about how the couple managed to evade justice for so long and prompted calls for better coordination between social services and law enforcement.
Fred and Rose West remain synonymous with evil, and their story serves as a grim reminder of the depths of human depravity. Their heinous acts continue to haunt the memories of those who lived through the horror, and the legacy of their crimes will not be forgotten.