Fred & Rosemary West
I research these topics in my spare time so I can share what I am passionate about with others. I'm a stay-at-home-Mom who homeschools three children - this website is not my #1 priority. I like to add my own thoughts while I'm writing and keep it conversational throughout each piece. I like to keep things "light and fun", even when discussing dark subjects like true crime. I agree that my writing style is not for everyone and I apologize if you don't like it. All the opinions expressed in the following piece are my own. And yes, sometimes I use Wikipedia as a source but never solely.
Thanks for reading!
If you could nominate one parent; one mother, one father, or a set of parents as the worst parents in history - who would you nominate? Karla Homolka? Diane Downs? Charles Manson? What about Albert Fish? Well, if I could nominate someone as the worst mother in history it would have to be Rosemary West. Fred was awful too but Rosemary’s behavior really strikes me. Probably because I’m a mother and just a decent human being! Do you know her story? Do you know Fred’s story? These people are destined to be the King and Queen of hell.
Here is their story.
Let’s start with Fred.
Frederick Walter Stephen West was born second of six children in Much Marcle, Herefordshire, England. His parents were Walter Stephen West and Daisy Hanna Hill-West. He grew up poor to hardworking parents. His father was a strict disciplinarian and farm worker. While his mother was overprotective and doted on Fred.
In 1946, the West family moved to Moorcourt Farm. His father had been hired as a herdsman (aka a cowboy) and a harvest hand. Their home had no electricity and was heated by a log fireplace.
By 1951, Daisy had given birth to eight children. Six of which survived. Three boys and three girls. Fred was obviously the favorite and would be mercilessly teased and called a Mama’s boy. The children did not have much contact with the world outside their family. They relied heavily on each other for companionship.
As Fred grew up he was described as scruff, dimwitted, only moderately literate but talented with woodworking and art, lethargic, and he was a known trouble-maker. By the age of 12 (12 fucking years old and this woman does that horrific shit! I mean, not that age really matters in this case but it’s fucking awful.) Daisy started a sexual “relationship” with her favorite Freddy boy. This would become a regular occurrence (aka incest rape). When he wasn’t busy in bed with his morbidly obese mother, his father was teaching him the higher points of bestiality. Yep, his father taught him how to fuck the sheep.
Fred dropped out of school at 15-years-old to help his father with the farm work (and because he wanted to be closer to the sheep). He had been teased while in school for his thick “country bumpkin” accent and was glad to leave. He had been an outcast while in school for many reasons. One of those being his objectification of women and girls. He saw them only as objections for his pleasure. He thought it was his right as a man to go up to any woman he fancied and fondle them. When a woman would miraculously have sex with him of her own free will, she would say how disappointing it was. Fred was only worried about his own gratification. He didn’t have time to worry about the woman’s wants or needs. Gee, what a great, stand-up, guy.
Fred and his mother weren’t the only ones having sex. His father was regularly raping his three daughters as well. The entire family was growing up to believe that incest was normal. Fred’s youngest brother Doug doesn’t have any memory of the incest behavior. So, he either blocked it out because it was so traumatic, or he managed to escape the sexual abuse.
After turning 17, Fred purchased a motorcycle. Two months after buying it, he crashed it head-on into a car. He was in a coma for seven days in the hospital. He had fractured his skull, broken an arm and a leg, and a metal plate was put in his head. As a result of this accident, Fred would walk with a limp the rest of his life because one leg was permanently shorter than the other.
Now – this is important. He had a massive head injury while his brain was still developing. There has been a pattern amongst children/adolescents receiving these traumatic head injuries and moving on to be killers or serial killers. Just because you hit your head as a child doesn’t mean you will grow up to be a murderer, it’s just one of the factors.
He sustained another head injury after attempting to sexually assault a woman on a fire escape during a party. She pushed him off and he fell two stories down to the ground. Landing on his head. He had been a committed petty thief and was always looking for his next rape victim. His father had instilled a fucked-up philosophy in him;
You have taught him so many valuable lesson Dad.
After healing from his second head injury, he was accused of raping and impregnating a 13-year-old girl. There are conflicting reports about whether it was his own little sister, Kitty, or a girl from his small town. This was the issue that forced his family to disown him. As he was being arrested he was asked why he did it and all he could say in response was, “doesn’t everybody do it?”. No, Fred they fucking don’t. Incest, rape, and criminal activity were so ingrained in him that he legitimately thought it was normal behavior. He was genuinely confused as to why he was in trouble when he was first arrested. The case went to trial but was dismissed when the young girl refused to testify against Fred at the last minute. He was free to go but was banished from his family home. He lived with his Aunt Violet in Much Marcle for a time. He ultimately reconciled with his parents the next year but his relationship with his siblings was never the same. There was a lot of family tension and hatred towards Fred.
When Fred was 21-years-old he had a run-in with an ex-girlfriend. Catherine “Rena” Bernadette Costello. She was working as a sex-worker and five months pregnant with another man’s child when she and Fred got married on November 17th. The father of the baby girl, who would be named Charmaine, was a Pakistani bus driver. He had split the moment he heard Rena was pregnant.
Once little Charmaine was born, they explained her darker complexion by telling everyone that their biological daughter had been stillborn. Then they adopted this little baby to “replace” her. Like everyone didn’t see right through that bullshit.
The small family soon moved to Glasgow, where Fred worked as an ice cream truck driver. There was an incident where a four-year-old boy ran out in front of the truck and was killed. Fred was relinquished of any responsibility after the court declared that it was an accident.
In 1964, the couple had their second daughter – Anne Marie.
Fred was hard on the girls and treated them worse than animals. He created a “cage” on the bottom part of their bunk bed. He fitted bars all around the edges so they couldn’t leave it. They were only allowed out of their cage when Fred was at work. He thought that children should be neither seen nor heard. Sometimes I feel like that when my kids are in the middle of a screaming, fighting, tantrum fit. I would never lock them up in a cage though -that’s just insane and cruel! I just kick them outside if the weather is nice.
Through a neighbor, the couple was introduced to Anna McFall. A 16-year-old girl who had recently lost her long-term boyfriend in a workplace accident. She was heartbroken and liked to spend a lot of time at the West home. She did a lot of nanny work for the West’s and they all seemed to get along nicely.
Fred later admitted to multiple affairs during his marriage to Rena and she retaliated by having one of her own. She started hooking up with a man named John McLachlan. Fred caught them once hugging and kissing and punched Rena. Which made her scream and bleed. There was a fight between the two men and eventually, Fred backed down. McLachlan would regularly beat up Fred when he would see Rena with bruises and black eyes.
After the accident where the little boy was struck with Fred’s ice cream van, the business had been slow. People were upset and hostile with Fred and they no longer bought from him.
So, he bought a camper and moved his family down Gloucester and parked it at Bishop’s Cleeve. Rena and Anna McFall came shortly after. Fred found work at a local slaughterhouse and discovered his love of dismemberment. Remember that little tidbit for later. *Shudder*
While living in this small camper/trailer/caravan Fred was very demanding of the women. He was prone to angry outbursts and violent mood swings. Rena and Anna were his typical targets but he also took out his anger on his daughters. He physically attacked the small girls on more than one occasion. As well as sexually abusing them both. To bring in extra money, he pushed Rena into prostitution. She was desperate to find a way out of the situation. She took her chance and ran back to her boyfriend, John McLachlan but she left her children and Anne behind. Anne was more than happy to stay behind. She had “fallen in love” with Fred and wanted to stay and be with him. Rena resented the mother-figure role that McFall had taken on but she couldn’t take the girls with her to Glasgow. She returned often but never stayed long.
In July 1967, 18-year-old Anna McFall was 8-months pregnant with Fred’s baby. Then she vanished and was never reported missing. Fred cut the baby from her womb, cut off her head, fingers, toes, and kneecaps. Then he buried her at the edge of a cornfield. Though her remains were found, the missing fingers, toes, and kneecaps were never recovered. Neither was the baby.
With McFall out of the way, Rena returned to living full-time with Fred and her girls. They moved their camper to a trailer park and were relatively happy for almost one year. Then Rena left again – without the girls. After Rena left and there was no one to keep the girls, Fred dropped them off with social services. Like social services don’t have enough shit to deal with – now they are your babysitters?
Fred met Rosemary when she was 15-years-old and working her first job at a bakery.
Now that we know about Fred’s life, let’s learn a little bit about Rose. Her upbringing is no less tragic and sexually explicit.
Rosemary “Rose” Letts was born in Barnstaple on November 29, 1953. She was 12-years-younger than her future husband.
When Rose’s mother, Daisy, was pregnant with her she was severely depressed and was “treated” regularly with electro-shock therapy. When Rose was finally born, she had some problems. Even as an infant she would rock back and forth violently. If she were left in a stroller/pram she would make it creep across the room by rocking so violently. That’s like some shit straight out of horror movie – don’t you think? As she got older, she was nicknamed “Dozie Rosie” for being a bit “slow”. The rocking gradually lessened until she would only rock her head but she would do it for hours on end. Her family never sought medical attention for her and would just watch her as she put herself into a trance with these rocking “fits”.
Bill Letts, her father, was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, OCD, and a very rigid disciplined man. He had been in the military and learned to love order, routine, and organization. When his high standards were not met he would beat his wife and children. But he had a soft spot for Rose and she could almost always manipulate her way out of his beatings.
Bill treated Rose differently than his other children, she was his favorite. He started having sex with her when she was a child and this would continue until his death. By that point, Rose was married and had children of her own.
Not as much is known about Rose but we know for a fact that she was sexually abused from a very young age. She was also physically and mentally abused by all members of her family. She was destined to be a rotten egg.
When Rose started working at the bakery and met the older, exotic Fred West she said it was “love at first sight.” Her parents did not approve of the relationship and after many fights with her parents, Rose left the home and moved in with Fred. They had a small apartment on the ground flood in Midland Road, Gloucester.
At 17-years-old, Rose gave birth to the couples first daughter – Heather Ann West. It was rumored that the precious baby girl was actually sired by her father. So, that would make Heather, Rose’s daughter/sister? It was never proven, just highly suspected.
When baby Heather was two months old, Fred was imprisoned for stealing tires from cars. This would have been around December 1970 and he remained behind bars until June 24, 1971. While he was incarcerated Rose looked after the three little girls. She told them all to call her Mother. She also treated them all like total dog shit. But motherhood did not come naturally to young Rose. When asked if she would breastfeed her daughter she would snap, “Breasts are for fucking! Not breastfeeding!” Charming. These little angel babies were subjected to daily criticism, beatings, and severe punishments. She wanted to elicit an emotional response from them. Anne would become upset very quickly and be submissive to Rose’s demands. But Charmaine would remain stoned-faced. She refused to show emotion – even when severely beaten. This enraged Rose and she would beat Charmaine more. Charmaine had a tough spirit and she wouldn’t be broken even after years of being subjected to abuse and neglect.
Charmaine would often tell her half-sister that her “real mummy will come and save us.” She would tell Rose, “my real mummy wouldn’t swear or shout at us.” Charmaine was taken to the hospital on March 28, 1971, for acute puncture wounds on her ankle. Rose explained them away as the result of a “household accident.” They were never investigated for the incident despite one or more of the children routinely being admitted to the hospital.
The summer of 1971, before Fred was released from prison, Rose murdered her stepdaughter. She beat the 8-year-old to death then kept her body stashed away in the coal cellar until Fred came home. Like his murder of Anne McFall, he removed her fingers, toes, and kneecaps. Then he buried her under the floor of their home in multiple pieces. I’ve also read that he buried her in the back garden, close to the backdoor. He said that he had a difficult dismembering her at first but got through it once he tapped into his slaughterhouse knowledge. He looked at his daughter like a piece of cattle and just cut her up. Like another day at work. Her missing digits and kneecaps were never recovered. Even after he body was discovered. What the hell was he doing with fingers, toes, and kneecaps? Bizarre.
To explain Charmaine’s absence Rose and Fred told a few differing stories; that, “she’s gone to live with her mother and bloody good riddance!” That they had sent her to London for schooling. That her mother had taken her to London or Scotland. Anne Marie would ask about her sister and why her mummy hadn’t taken her too and Fred would say, “she wouldn’t want you, love. You’re the wrong color.”
Though Rena was only in sporadic contact with her daughters she took notice of Charmaine’s disappearance. She went to Fred’s house to demand full custody of Anne Marie and she was never seen again. It was believed that Fred strangled her while she was heavily intoxicated. When her body was discovered there were short pieces of metal tubing found with her. She was most likely restrained and sexually assaulted (in multiple ways) prior or death. Only her skeletal remains were ever discovered so it isn’t 100% known what happened. Only speculation.
With Rena out of the way, Fred and Rosemary were free to get married. They wed on January 29, 1972. No family or friends were invited to their intimate courthouse affair.
Rose was already pregnant with their second child when they made the move to their most infamous location – 25 Cromwell Street. The house was large with two levels and a garden. They converted the extra space upstairs into bedrooms for boarders. Fred installed a small bathroom for any boarding guests to share upstairs and kept their lower quarters private. They didn’t allow any of the boarders to use or be in the garden. That was reserved specifically for the West family.
On June 1, 1972, Rose gave birth to another baby girl – Mae June West. It didn’t take long after the birth of baby Mae for Rose to pick up sex-work. Fred made her, her own room upstairs and called it “Rose’s Room.” He designed it with various peepholes so he could watch while his wife “entertained clients.” There was a small private bar inside, and a red light would be turned on by the outside of the door when Rose was “in a meeting.” Fred also installed a doorbell just for Rose’s Room. Most of the money that Rose brought in was spent on the family and home improvements. Rose was the woman who handled every penny in the West home. Fred would hand over his check and Rose would see to the rest.
On occasion, Fred would be invited to join in on a threesome with his wife and a client. Mostly with women. Though not as common, Rose did have “sessions” with women clients. During these she would become more sadistic. When working as a team, Fred and Rose liked to choke, suffocate, and insert larger and larger dildos until the woman expressed fear and/or pain. “Aren’t you woman enough to take it?” Rose would tell them in a taunting fashion. They developed their sexual sadism together (not kink shaming but when it leads to murder – you’ve taken things too far my man). They experimented with bondage, restraining devices, dominance play, pain, and pushed the limits of violence. They also enjoyed amateur pornography. They would film themselves, Rose with clients, and the sexual abuse of their children.
Rose advertised her “services” in local papers and engaged in casual sex with some of their boarders. She developed a reputation for being “welcoming” to all genders and races. A few of her children were obviously fathered by men of color. Though, Fred would raise them as his own. So, he raped and tortured any child he had command over. When the children themselves or others asked why their skin was darker than some of their brother’s or sister’s Fred would tell them that their Great-Great-Grandmother was a black woman. So, they must have gotten it from her. Yep, because that is exactly how that works Fred (sarcasm).
Rose’s reputation even reached her father. He began visiting Rose’s Room on regular occasions. He may have even fathered another child with her. If you believe that he fathered her first, Anne Marie. By 1983, Rose had given birth to eight children.
When each child reached the age of seven, they were assigned daily chores. They were raised in a very similar fashion to how Fred was raised. They were not allowed much socialization outside the home, unless Fred or Rose were present. If a child did not meet their high standards or broke a rule, they were severely punished. All the children were afraid of their parents, especially Rose. She was always very careful not to leave any marks on their faces or hands. She was very cautious about not letting outsiders see the signs of abuse. She did not want to invite unwanted attention. However, the children were taken to the hospital a record 31 times between 1972 and 1992. The injuries were always explained as accidents and nothing was ever reported to social services.
Here are two instances of how Rosemary would abuse her children when she perceived that they were misbehaving:
One. Stephen, her son born in 1973, was cleaning the kitchen floor with a rag and bowl of soapy water. Rose stepped in the bowl and spilt the water everywhere. She was instantly infuriated. Like 0-100 in .2 seconds. She was VERY quick to anger. She hit little Stephen over the head with the bowl until it cracked. When he fell over and attempted to protect himself, she kicked him repeatedly in the head and chest. All while shouting, “You did that on purpose, you little swine!”. Obviously, a very loving and understanding mother – sarcasm.
Two. Rose was cooking dinner and couldn’t find a utensil she needed. So she took a large knife that she used to cut meat, pointed her anger and frustration at Mae, and used the knife on her chest and rib cage. She lightly pulled the knife over her daughter until she covered with superficial wounds. The whole time, Mae was screaming, “No Mum! No Mum!”. Heather and Stephen stood by in a doorway and witnessed the whole thing.
Though the children were her primary targets, Fred was not out of the question for Rose. She would chase him with carving knives, beat him, slap him, and abuse him verbally. She was a hellish woman. Just the devil incarnate.
When Anne Marie was 8-years-old both of her parents took her into the basement of 25 Cromwell Street. They put on smiling, sweet, happy faces as they led her down and told her how much they loved her. They explained that they just wanted to help her be the best wife for later in life. They told her that this would be good for her.
Then they undressed her, gagged her, and Fred raped her as Rose held her down.
She was in so much pain that she couldn’t go to school for a few days afterward. Rose explained that “everybody does it to every girl. It’s a father’s job. Don’t worry, and don’t say anything to anybody.” Rose made it very clear that if Anne Marie ever told anyone, the punishment would be severe.
Horribly, Fred was not the only one to sexually abuse Anne Marie. Rose would have her turn as well. She took extreme pleasure from torturing the little girl. She would bind her, gag her, tie her to various pieces of furniture and encourage Fred to have his way with her. She would use devices on her. And Rose made her wear lingerie and costumes while doing chores.
In October 1972, the West’s were considering hiring outside help for the children. They needed a nanny and they found the perfect one hitchhiking from Tewkesbury to Cinderford. They picked up Caroline Owens. A 17-year-old girl who hated her stepfather and was looking to get out of her house. When the West’s offered her the nanny job she was elated. She could live at their home and they could take her to visit her mother every Tuesday evening. Sounds legit I guess. I think she really trusted them because it was a man and a woman and they had a baby. Most people would trust this happy family picture. Wouldn’t they?
Owens moved in with the West family immediately. She shared a room with the “very withdrawn” Anne Marie. She noticed that Rose had a lot of male company. There seemed to be a steady stream of men coming and going from Rose’s Room. Rose explained it away and said she was just a masseuse. She said it helped bring in extra money for the family.
Owens time at the West home was very uncomfortable and unusual. Fred would constantly talk about sex and make advances on her. He once told her that if she ever needed an abortion she should come to him because he was the best. He said that many women had been so impressed by his skills that they begged him to “take me!”. Soooo. That sounds just like what every woman would want right after an abortion. More sex.
It all made Owens very uneasy and she announced that she would like to go home.
They agreed and she left.
But the West’s liked her. They hadn’t got to “play” with her yet. Or remove her fingers, toes, or kneecaps! They knew her regular hitchhiking route and would drive back and forth on it, looking for her. Finally, on December 6, 1972, they found her. Rose apologized for Fred’s abhorrent behavior and asked if they could drive her the rest of the way home. She agreed, thinking that maybe there had been some mixed signals. Maybe she had mistaken his intentions. O sweet innocent baby girl. I am so sorry for what you are about to go through.
Rose hopped in the back seat with Owens and said they needed to have a “girls chat.” Almost as soon as Fred pulled away back onto the road, Rose began to fondle Owens. Fred began asking her sexual questions. “Go ahead Rose and have a feel and see if she’s wet.” Owens protested and pleaded for him to pull over so she could leave.
Fred obliged. He pulled the car over. Called her a “bitch”. Then punched her until she was unconscious. He restrained her with her scarf and some tape and they took her back to their homemade torture chamber at 25 Cromwell Street. Once in the basement, Rose forced her to drink a drugged cup of tea and the torture commenced.
She was gagged again and sexually assaulted for hours. At one point, Fred started whipping her genitals with a leather belt and screaming about how “unusual” she looked. When she screamed, Rose would smother her with a pillow and tighten the restraints. Particularly the ones around her neck.
After they had had their fill, they threatened Owens by telling her that if she told a soul about what had happened that they would keep her in this basement forever. Then they would let their “black friends” have their way with her. All for a price. When they were done, they would bury her body under the “paving stones of Gloucester”. Fred gloated about all of the women and girls he had killed before. He told her that he had brought her into their home for Rose’s pleasure.
Then talk turned casual and they asked if she would like to return to their home and continue nannying for them. Out of sheer terror, Owens agreed. The moment that Fred and Rose took their eyes off of her, she bolted. She ran straight home and away from those maniacs. I’ve read a few different accounts of how she escaped. One that said she was vacuuming and ran when she was left alone. Another account said that they had taken her to the laundromat and she ran away from there. Anyway – she got out!
Once back home, she refused to tell her mother what had happened and where she had been. After some coaxing, she told her mother everything. She explained how she got every bruise, welt, and cut.
The West’s were immediately charged with assault, indecent assault, actual bodily harm, and rape. They were tried as a couple on January 12, 1973, but the charges were greatly reduced after Owens refused to testify against them. They were each fined a small amount, like $50, then released. When Caroline Owens heard the news of their “punishment” she attempted suicide. She would live to face her attackers in court one day.
Three months after this failed justice, the couple murdered 19-year-old Lynda Gough. She had been a friend of two previous boarders and spent a lot of time at the home. She was seen in the company of Rose on April 19 and on April 20 she was gone. Rose said that she had beaten one of her children so she kicked her out. Rose repeated this story to Gough’s mother when she came to look for her missing daughter. Rose had the audacity to be wearing Lynda’s clothing when she answered the door and spoke to the woman!
Fred had dismembered Lynda just as he had his other victims. When her remains were discovered they found some tape wrapped around her mouth and two small metal tubes. The tubes had been stuck up her nose to help her breathe. There were also long pieces of string found. Later Fred admitted to hanging his victims from a special beam in his basement ceiling. Similar to how cattle would be hung. Gough’s body was missing five cervical vertebrae, a kneecap, and some fingers. She had been buried under the garage.
In November 1973, the West’s abducted 15-year-old Carol Ann Cooper. What is it with every girl having the name Ann or Anne or Anna? Is it an English thing? Cooper was an orphan living at the Pines Children Home in Worcester. The evening that the West’s picked her up was a typical evening that the young lady was spending with her boyfriend. An innocent night at the movies. As she was waiting for the bus she was abducted. She was never seen alive again. It was speculated that she was dragged into Fred’s car, her face was covered in tape and her arms were bound with a long cloth. She was then taken to 25 Cromwell Street where she was hung from the basement ceiling like a cow. For hours, possibly days, she was heavily abused and ultimately murdered. Most likely via strangulation. She was dismembered and buried under the dirt floor of the basement.
For each girl that Fred and Rosemary “picked-up” the torture and sexual abuse would escalate.
December 27th, 21-year-old Lucy Partington was waiting at a bus stop when she was abducted by Fred and Rose. She was believed to have been kept alive for as long as one week after her disappearance. She was treated the same way as the others. Horrible abused, sexually assaulted (in various horrific ways), then murdered, dismembered, and buried. When Fred was cutting her up he injured himself and had to be taken to the hospital with a deep gash on his hand. Poor baby, right? I don’t have an ounce of empathy for ya Fred.
In April the following year, Therese Siegenthaler, a 21-year-old sociology student was abducted as she hitchhiked from South London to Holyhead. She was treated the same as the ones before her. Fred would later refer to her as the “The Dutch Girl” or “Tulip”. He had made the mistake of thinking her Swiss Accent was Dutch.
Fred and Rose’s favorite hunting ground are bus stops. November 15th, Shirley Hubbard was abducted from a bus stop while returning home from a date. She was 15-years-old and was last seen with her boyfriend on a date. They were supposed to meet up again the next day but Hubbard had vanished. Her dismembered remains were later found in the West’s basement graveyard. Unlike the other victims who had tape over their noses and mouths, Hubbard had tape wrapped completely around her head. One metal tube had been inserted through the tape and into her nose to enable her to breathe. She ultimately succumbed to asphyxiation.
April 1975, former Cromwell Street resident Juanita Mott disappeared. She had been hitchhiking back to her current home in Newent. She must have recognized the West’s and was happy to get a ride from them. They weren’t strangers. After her remains were discovered in the Cromwell basement, Fred would refer to her as “the girl from Newent.”
The murderous couple went quiet until 1978 when they abducted, tortured, and murdered 18-year-old Shirley Robinson. Did they REALLY have such a long cooling-off period when up to this point they had been going pretty consistently? I really, really, really think that is unlikely. Something had to have been going on. Somewhere, something was happening. She was a new resident at Cromwell Street and supposedly had an affair with Fred. At the time of her death, she was heavily pregnant – most likely with Fred’s baby. Rose was pregnant at the same time. This “competition” would never do. Rose needed her out.
So Fred took her out and buried her in the garden. She was dismembered but it was believed that she was not assaulted or tortured. Just murdered to get her out of the picture. This was not a sexually motivated crime.
The final murder that happened to a person outside the family was 16-year-old Alison Chambers. She was a runaway from a local Children’s Home. Somehow she heard that the West family was looking for a nanny. She was taken in and actually lived in the home for several weeks. It is unclear whether she was abused during this time but she was ultimately murdered, dismembered, and buried in the garden.
At 25 Cromwell Street, home to the West’s and their children, Heather, Mae, and Stephan were all having a difficult time. By this point (late 1979), Anne Marie had run away from home after being released from the hospital. She had been hospitalized with an ectopic pregnancy (the result of her father’s repeated rapes). Once she returned home, Rose just beat the shit out of her. It was horrific. She kicked and punched this young girl in the gut until she was sick and crippled with pain.
Once Heather and Mae reached puberty, the sexual abuse reached a fever pitch. Fred would abuse them and yell things like, “I made you. I can do what I want with you!”. He told them they needed to get pregnant at least once by him. Before raping and assaulting them he would make them sit and watch porn. The homemade tapes as well as the commercial stuff. Nothing quite like watching porn with your dad. Wow…
Stephan was told that he would have to initiate a sexual relationship with his mother by the time he was 17 or there would be hell to pay. O gross. I never thought that would be a sentence that I would type.
Heather developed coping mechanisms to deal with the daily abuse. Such as biting her nails until they bled, she would drink tons of alcohol, she was always eyeing her father whenever they were in the same room, she became nervous around any male (not just her father), she was having night terrors (and most likely suffered from some form of PTSD) and would wake up with nightmares, she began rocking back and forth constantly. Anytime she exhibited this distressing behavior, Rose would laugh at her. Both of her parents called her “ugly” and a “bitch”. They said she didn’t enjoy the “acts” because she was secretly a lesbian. Yea, I’m sure that’s it (sarcasm). Not the fact that she was being so violently abused by her mother and her father! You fucking quacks.
After school (1987 – another long stint between murders!), Heather began desperately hunting for a job that would take her away from home. She submitted applications all over the country and was rejected from every single one. She was distraught, nervous, and miserable. Every time a rejection would come in the mail or by the phone she would cry all night long. Omg…I am so sorry, love.
When they returned, Heather was gone. Just vanished. She didn’t even take a single belonging with her. Rose and Fred told them that she had eloped with a lesbian lover and ran off. But Rose told a neighbor that she had had a huge blow-up fight with Heather and she had run away. Her disappearance was never reported to the police. Fred and Rose went as far as having friends fake phone calls from Heather so her siblings would think that she was still alive.
After Heather’s disappearance, a morbid joke was tossed around by Fred and Rose. Anytime one of the children were misbehaving, they would jokingly threaten that they better behave or they would “end up under the patio like their sister, like Heather.” Heather had actually been buried in the garden. The area above her grave was covered in concrete and turned into the families BBQ area. She had been murdered because she was telling people about her home life. This was a threat to Fred and Rosemary’s lifestyle. They couldn’t risk getting caught and exposed. Then their “fun and games” would be over.
In 1992, daughter Louise was 13-years-old. She was raped by her father when Rose was out of the house. Her siblings later found her in agonizing pain. She said that Fred had raped and sodomized her. At one point he even strangled her to the point of near unconsciousness. When Louise attempted to tell her mother what had happened, Rose laughed her off and said, “O well. You were asking for it.” She would continue to be raped her father over the next few weeks. Rose even stood and witnessed one of the events. She then told her daughter, “Well, what did you expect?”. Fucking monsters, man.
There was obviously no help to be had at home. Louise took a chance and told a close friend about what was happening at home. This friend told her own mother who anonymously told the police. GOOD GIRL!
Under the guise of searching the home for stolen property, investigators inspected the West home. They found copious amounts of sexual paraphernalia (including at least 100 pornographic videos, bondage, restraining devices, and other sex toys). Louise was interviewed by a specially trained solicitor for children and gave a full statement about the events. She said it began a while back and that her mother didn’t seem to mind. She talked about how her mother had inflicted most of the physical abuse while her father was responsible for the sexual abuse.
All of the remaining children in the West home were placed into foster care. Medical examinations of the children revealed the physical and sexual abuse that they had all undergone. It was at this point, that the joke about “being buried under the patio like your sister” was repeated.
A full-scale investigation was started not long after.
Fred was officially charged with three counts of rape, one of buggery, with Rose as an accomplice
Rose was officially charged with child cruelty, inciting her husband to engage in sex with their daughter, and obstructing justice.
Police began questioning the couple as to the whereabouts of their missing daughter, Heather. They told various stories, such as; Rose had bribed her to leave and gave her money so that her “lesbian tendencies” would not influence the younger children. They said that she was “alive and well” and prostituting herself somewhere. They claimed that she called sporadically but they did not have a reliable form of communication from her.
News spread about the charges placed on the West’s and their crimes. Daughter Anne Marie called the police and offered her full statement. She gave in-depth detail about her experiences growing up with Fred and Rose as parents. The extensive physical, mental, and sexual abuse that she had endured. She agreed to testify against them at the upcoming trial. While being interviewed by police, Anne Marie made it known that she had been searching for her mother Rena and sister Charmaine for years. There appeared to be no trace of her anywhere and Anne Marie suspected that her father had murdered her. But she had no solid proof. I think speculation alone from Anne Marie would be enough. I know that doesn’t hold up in a court setting but I would believe her word over almost anyone else. Wouldn’t you?
As the trial date loomed closer, Louise back stepped. She was now refusing to testify against her parents. She wanted her family reunited. She didn’t want to see her father charged with such horrible things. She began to deny the molestation and the abuse. She was obviously conflicted. She was only a child. I can only imagine the confusing mixed emotions that must have been running through her head.
With her testimony teetering on the edge of possibilities, investigators focused their attention on finding Heather or her remains.
Unfortunately, at the trial in June 1993, the case against Fred and Rosemary collapsed. Both Louise and Anne Marie retracted their statements. Anne Marie was notably upset by the misery it was causing her younger siblings. Louise wanted her family back together. Despite the horrific abuse.
Despite being acquitted of all charges, the younger children remained in foster care. They were only permitted supervised visitation with their parents at 25 Cromwell Street.
A search warrant was finally executed at the Cromwell Street home on February 24, 1994. When a pale, hysterical Rose answered the door to the police she shouted to her son Stephan, “Get Fred!”. Once questioning started about Heather, Rose multiple stories. When these contradictions were pointed out she snapped, “I can’t fucking remember! It was a bloody long time ago! What do you think I am? A bloody computer?”.
Fred had been at work three hours from the home and rushed back as soon as he heard the news that a search warrant was being executed. The entire time that police were in his home, Fred made repeated remarks about them all having grudges against him because he had been acquitted of the rape of his daughters.
Though officers went home that night, a uniformed officer stayed in the garden to watch over the excavation site. This made Fred and Rose very nervous and they stood at the window in the kitchen. They talked in hushed, urgent tones.
There was a surprise the next morning when Fred confessed to murdering Heather. Before talking to police he told his son Stephen, “Look son…I’ve done something really bad.” Fred was taken to the police station to provide his full confession. He claimed that he had killed his daughter in a “fit of rage.” Then he meticulously dismembered her body. Before burying her, he stored the pieces of her body in a trash can. He needed to wait a few days for the opportunity to dig her grave in the garden. During his confession, he was very persistent that his wife had absolutely nothing to do with the murder. He told police that she had been with a client when he murdered Heather.
When Stephen and Mae heard that Fred had confessed to murdering their sister they were in disbelief. Stephen sobbed and Mae went into shock.
Heather’s body was unearthed on February 26th just after 4 pm. Surrounding her body was a tangled mass of other human remains. Some were loose and some were in trash bags. Her fingers, toes, and kneecaps were missing. Her fingernails were found in a small pile beside her, suggesting that they had been ripped from her during a torturous event. She was positively identified with dental records.
Fred was officially charged with Heather West’s murder that night. He later confessed that there were two other bodies buried in the garden. He agreed to accompany officers back to 25 Cromwell Street and show them exactly where he had buried the bodies of these other victims. These women turned out to be Shirley Robinson. He told them how she had been his lover and was pregnant when he killed her. The other woman’s identity was unclear. She may have been one of “Shirley’s mates”.
Fred was charged with these murders as well.
With three bodies uncovered, the police decided to search the entire property. The family was removed from the home and Rose was placed in a nearby safe house. The police worked tirelessly during this investigation. Working as much as 16 hours a day.
Those interviewing Fred received this note from his solicitor; “I Frederick West, authorize my solicitor, Howard Ogden, to advise Superintendent Bennett that I wish to admit a further nine killings, expressly Charmaine, Rena, Lynda Gough, and others yet to be identified. – F. West.
He would go on to explain how he had picked up these women to rape them or hire them for sex. Most had been hitchhikers, sex-workers, or just women waiting at a bus stop. He would take them back to 25 Cromwell Street where he would abuse, dismember, and bury them in shallow box-like graves. He told them that he didn’t particularly like to dismember the bodies but it made it easier to fit them into small, cubical like graves.
Six more bodies of young women were unearthed between March 5th and 8th. Each had been killed in a similar fashion with extensive mutilation, evidence of sexual abuse, tape, gags, and small bits of metal tubing. Each body was found to be missing its fingers, toes, and kneecaps. Fred would not comment on why he removed these and would not tell investigators where they were.
Rose quickly came under suspicion. They didn’t believe for one second that she had no idea all of these murders were happening right under the nose. She was arrested on April 20, 1994. She was extensively questioned about the murders of Lynda Gough and her daughter Heather. She was officially charged with the murder of Lynda.
On May 6th charges were pressed against both Fred and Rose for five counts of murder. Rose would only say, “I’m innocent”. She would refuse to cooperate during the subsequent 46 interviews prior to their trial.
Fred would eventually confess to the murders of his first wife Rena and his oldest (step) daughter, Charmaine. He told police that he knew where Anna McFall’s body was but he had not killed her. All three remains were unearthed between April 10th and June 7th.
While awaiting trial, Fred was placed under a strict suicide watch in Birmingham’s Winson Green Prison. He was checked in on every 15-minutes. Night and day.
June 30, 1994, the magistrate's court in Gloucester brought down official charges. Fred was charged with 11 murders and Rose with nine.
While in prison awaiting trial, Fred became noticeable more depressed. He made several attempts to reach out to his wife but she rebuffed every one. She was playing the role of grieving mother for her daughter and step-daughter. She said she absolutely hated Fred and blamed him for everything. After receiving the cold-shoulder from Rose he changed his confessions. He told police that he had not acted alone and she had been present for most of it. She was the mastermind. He was acting on her commands.
Fred committed suicide on January 1, 1995, by hanging himself in his cell. The strict suicide watch had been relaxed and he took this opportunity to end it all.
Here is the letter that was found with him:
Below this oddly loving note was a drawing of a gravestone. On it was written “In loving memory. Fred West. Rose West. Rest in peace where no shadow falls. In perfect peace he waits for Rose, his wife.”
So this mother fucking monster escaped his trial and punishment with suicide. I really wish we could have seen him roasted in court. Seen him cast out and dismissed by Rose.
Despite her husband being dead, Rose’s trial commenced on October 3rd. She pleaded not guilty to ten charges of murder (Charmaine’s murder had been added later), two counts of rape and indecent assault of a young girl.
Graphic accounts of sexual mistreatment were discussed in the court. The prosecution used this information to argue that it established a pattern of behavior that would be repeated in the murders. During the trial, prosecutors would present the West’s as “sex-obsessed sadistic murderers.” Regardless of the defenses attempts to present even a shred of reasonable doubt the prosecution was successful in pointing out the following; Charmaine was killed with Fred was in prison. That Fred and Rose had made the mistake of letting Caroline Owens escape, they promised they “would never be so trusting again”. The scarf that was used as a gag on some of the victims was obviously “a woman’s touch” (I don’t really agree with that but whatever). He showed the court how Rose was obsessively controlling of her husband and her children. They showed her sexually sadistic character. And they demonstrated how she was attempting to deflect suspicion from herself to her now-dead husband.
There were multiple witnesses called to the stand, including some boarding residents from 25 Cromwell Street, relatives of victims, Rose’s mother ad sister, and surviving victims Anne Marie, Kathryn Halliday (a former lover of both Fred and Rose), Caroline Owens, an anonymous woman known as Miss A (she had been sexually assaulted by Fred and Rose in 1977. She made it clear that Rose was the more aggressive of the two), and other neighbors.
When the defense presented its case, they attempted to place all of the blame on Fred. They talked about how he had already killed at least one woman before ever meeting Rose. Rose herself would be put on the stand to testify and seemed “upbeat and humorous.” She did cry when talking about the abuse she was raised with. She said that she went on to marry such a violent man because that was all she knew. She claimed to have not even met six of the victims. She said she didn’t recall much from the attack on Caroline Owens.
When Heather West was brought up, Rose said that she loved her daughter but they had a strained relationship. She said that Heather was physically and psychologically abusive to her younger siblings. Rose was adamant that she had no knowledge of Heather’s murder.
The defense was able to dig up women who had been attacked allegedly by Fred West between 1966 and 1975. These seven women recognized Fred as their attacker and the defense used this testimony to show that Fred was capable of great violence without Rose being present. She did not need to be there and be his driving force for him to commit these horrific crimes. I think they were evil apart but together they morphed into this unspeakable form. Like the worst that human nature has to offer. Just evil, sadistic, horrific, and sadistic piles of walking, talking shit.
The final witness to be presented to the jury was Janet Leach. She had been Fred’s appropriate adult (kind of like a PR person or a spokesperson, I think). She talked about how Fred had come to confide in her. The most damning evidence that she presented was the pact that Fred and Rose had entered into prior to being arrested. Fred would confess and stress that Rose had “known nothing at all” about any of the murders. Fred told her about how some of the murders were “Rose’s mistakes”. He talked about finding out that Rose had killed Charmaine while he was in prison. She helped dismembered some of the bodies. She even removed the unborn child from Shirley Robinson’s body before they finished dismembering her. Fred had told Leach that “Rose had played a major part in these murders.”
BAM! Like a nail in a coffin! No way she can get out of that!
The trial lasted seven weeks. Before dismissing the jury to deliberate he emphasized with them that “the law considers [two people] equally guilty regardless of which of them did the deed” if it is proven that they worked together.
November 21st the jury came back with unanimous guilty verdicts for all ten counts of murder. They called her crimes “appalling and depraved.” The judge sentenced Rosemary West to life in prison, emphasizing that she should NEVER be paroled.
As of 2019, Rosemary West continues to serve time at HM Prison New Hall. She continues to proclaim her innocence.
So, it’s no question why these two were filled with such rage. They couldn’t have escaped this fate with even the most intense therapy - most likely. Now that you have heard their stories, would you nominate Rosemary West as “Worst Mother of the Year”? How about we settle on the title of “Queen of Hell”? All good options in my opinion.
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The Last Podcast on the Left - Episode 153: Fred and Rosemary West