Fred & Rosemary West: Hell's Couple…
Fred and Rosemary West terrorized Herefordshire for 20 years, by luring young girls back to their house where they kept them bound in the cellar. As a couple, they claimed ten victims, including two members of their own family. There, they raped and tortured them until they grew bored with their victims, who were then killed. They then dismembered the bodies and buried the parts at or near the house where they lived at the time.
Rosemary, whose maiden name was Letts, was born to Bill and Daisy Gwendoline Letts in 1953. When Rosemary’s mother was pregnant with her, she was suffering from depression and received a controversial electroshock therapy that may have caused prenatal injury.
Her father was a paranoid schizophrenic, prone to violence, forcing her mother Daisy to move out, taking Rose with her. She grew up as a moody teenager and just like Fred, she too performed poorly at school.
Born in 1941 to a big, poor family of six, Fred was his mother’s favorite child. He claimed his father had incestuous relations with his sisters. There were rumours that his mother Daisy molested him from an early age, but Fred himself denied such claims. He recalled what his father Walter had told him on many occasions: Do what you want, just don’t get caught doing it.
Before meeting Rosemary, Fred was married to Rena Costello – a Scottish girl who worked as a prostitute. When Rena bore Fred’s child, the couple met Anna McFall. Eventually, McFall became pregnant with West’s child, urging him to divorce Rena and marry her instead. West was unwilling to do so and decided to kill McFall and the unborn child. The following year Rena, tired of her husband’s sadistic sexual desires, decided to leave and abandon the children in Fred’s "care."
While technically still married to Costello, 27-year-old Fred met Rosemary Letts in 1968, on her 15th birthday. Just a year later, they moved in together. The following year, Rosemary gave birth to their first mutual daughter, Heather Ann, who was raised with the other two girls from Fred’s previous marriage.
For a short period, Fred was imprisoned for theft. At that time, Rosemary is believed to have killed one of the step-daughters, Charmaine, just before her husband’s release. When their birth-mother, Costello turned up to collect Charmaine, she too disappeared.
In 1972, Fred and Rosemary got married. Soon, Rosemary gave birth to their second daughter, Mae. At the time, Fred encouraged his wife to work as a prostitute. Rosemary eventually had seven children, not always fathered by her husband. Needing a larger house for the family, they moved to a new residence where Fred designed a room for Rosemary to offer sexual services. The room had peepholes, so Fred could watch. It even had a red light as a warning sign for their children to know when mom was busy.
At the beginning of their marriage, Rosemary’s father strongly disapproved of their relationship, but later would visit the house, with Fred’s approval, to have sex with his own daughter, while Fred watched from the peepholes he had made.
The Killing Spree
In 1972 the Wests hired 17-year-old Caroline Roberts as the children’s nanny. They kept making sexual advances on her, but the girl declined. One night in December, she was held captive overnight and bound heavily with bondage tape while both Fred and Rose raped her. Somehow, Fred was able to convince the court the rape was consensual and was only fined, along with Rosemary, for indecent assault.
After the incident, the couple felt that they could not leave witnesses. Most of their victims were white females with ages ranging from teens to mid-twenties. They preferred young girls, whom they usually lured to the house under the premise that they would be hired as nannies. Eventually, they raped and tortured these girls in elaborate, sadistic bondage acts for days and then strangled or suffocated them, buring them on their property.
While raping, torturing and murdering young women, Fred also sexually abused Anne Marie West – his daughter from his relationship with Rena Costello. She eventually became pregnant, but miscarried. When Anne fled the home, Fred continued abusing his daughters. This time it was Heather West. When she told her friends about the domestic situation, her parents strangled her to death, dismembered her and buried her body in the garden.
Arrest and Sentences
In May 1992, Fred videotaped himself while raping one of his seven daughters. She told friends at school what had happened and their parents contacted police. Eventually Fred was charged with rape and Rosemary was charged as an accomplice. When police uncovered human bones buried at or near the house, the deeds of the sick predator couple were exposed to the British public.
Fred West was charged with twelve counts of murder, but he hanged himself while on remand in his cell, using knotted bed sheets on January 1, 1995.
The evidence against Rosemary was largely circumstantial. Unlike her husband, she did not confess and tried to distance herself from Fred, claiming she too was a victim. Nevertheless, she was found guilty of all ten murders and was sentenced to life in prison.
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