Fredrick Walter Stephen West and his wife, Rosemary (Rose) Letts, are well known throughout Europe and most parts of the world as two of the most gruesome and sadistic serial killers of the century. Though it is not clear how many people they had murdered, as well as their motive to do so, the evidence presented from the twelve discovered murders are sure to send a chill up your spine. Fred West was born September 29, 1941. He was the second of six children to be born into a family of poor farmers.
West claimed that his father had incestuous relationships with his daughters, one of the many peculiar norms in this household along with bestiality. West’s mother, Daisy, also sexually abused him at the young age of twelve. Taking into consideration the start and upbringing of Fred West, you can take an understanding to why he met the fate that he did. At the age of fifteen, West left school; though he did not excel academically, he showed a great amount of interest for woodwork and artwork. In the year of 1956, West returned to what he knew and began to work on a farm.
A few years after, he suffered from a fractured skull, along with other injuries, and was in a coma for eighty days; his family reported that after the accident he became prone to sudden fits of rage. At the age of 20, he was arrested for molesting a thirteen-year-old girl and although he evaded serving time for his crime, his family quickly disowned him after. In September 1962, twenty-one year old West rekindled his love with an old girlfriend named Catherine Costello, who at that time was better known as Rena from her time working as a prostitute.
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Even though Rena was already pregnant with another man’s baby, she and West married on November 17. During this time, West began working as an ice cream truck driver, and on November 4, 1965, he killed a four-year-old boy by hitting him with his van. Fearful of his safety, he and his wife Rena moved with their two kids and nanny, Isa McNeil. Eventually, Rena and Isa fled to Scotland to escape West and his sadistic sexual cravings. She left her children behind. During this period, West began to see another woman who soon after became pregnant.
Around her eighth month of pregnancy, his second girlfriend disappeared and her remains were not found until June 1994; she disappeared in August of 1967. While still married to Rena, the then twenty seven year old West met his next wife Rosemary Letts on November 29, 1968, the day of her fifteenth birthday. Soon after she turned sixteen, she and west moved in together. On October 17, 1970, she gave birth to their first daughter Heather Anne. Soon after, Fred West was imprisoned for theft; it is believed that during this time Rosemary killed Charmaine, Fred’s stepdaughter from his first marriage.
On January 29, 1972, Fred and Rose West married and on June 1 of that year, Rose gave birth to their second daughter Mae. During this time West encouraged his wife to work as a prostitute. Rose eventually had seven kids, three of which were of mixed race. For obvious reasons, the family moved into a more spacious house on 25 Cromwell Street. West turned the top floor into bedrooms and the first into “Rose’s room”, which was used for prostitution. This room had peepholes in it so West would be able to watch his wife performing with other men and on the outside of the door, there was a red light.
This would let the children know that Rose was busy and that nobody should bother her. Like West, Rose came from a similar background where incest was allowed. In fact, Bill Letts, Rose’s father, would often visit their home to have sex with Rose, of course with the consent of her husband. In October 1972, they hired seventeen-year-old Caroline Roberts as the children’s nanny. On December 6, 1972, the West has invited her to their home, where they both raped her. Fred let her go only after she promised to be their nanny.
In early 1973, the West’s took eight-year-old Anne Marie, Fred’s daughter from his first marriage, down to the cellar where they bound and gagged her before West raped her, and Rose watched. In 1979, Anne Marie became pregnant with her father’s baby, but the pregnancy was terminated. Unable to deal with her father’s abuse, she left home. Shortly after West, began abusing Heather who disappeared a few years later. West felt that his daughter needed to be “broken” into the life of prostitution and whom better he felt to do this job then himself. In May 1992, West filmed himself raping one of his daughter multiple times.
From there the investigation escalated although the rape case fell because of the two core witnesses backing out. The remaining children were placed in foster care. During this time, various social workers interviewed the children. The disappearance of their daughter Heather became known during this process, but to her siblings her death was known merely as a joke her parents used to explain her disappearance. In reality, she suffered a brutal death by the hand of her own father, who not only strangled her, but also dismembered her body and buried her in the back yard.
The following the arrest of Fredrick West police uncovered human bones in his backyard not only those of his daughter. He immediately confessed to what he had done though it took time for him to stick to his story he could no longer hide from the pain he had inflicted on others. During the tour West gave the cops of the cellar and all the other rooms where he committed these heinous crimes, he said that the spirits of the dead were calling to him and telling him they were better off not being found, he regretted his confession.
Out of the twelve murdered souls only nine bodies were found in the house, including one in the bathroom, five in the cellar, and three in the garden; one of those was the body of their daughter Heather. West states that the murder of his daughter was simply “enjoyment turned to disaster”. He kept the secret of killing his daughter for eight years, not even Rose knew of this dark secret. Between 1967-1987 Fredrick West and his wife tortured, raped, and killed at least twelve young women and girls, mostly in their own home.
Fred West was found guilty for 11 murders and Rose of 10, following the trial another body was found which increased Fred’s total count to 12. On January 1, 1995, Fred West was found dead in his cell; he committed suicide by hanging himself, he was cremated and only three people attended his funeral. Rosemary Letts, unlike her husband, never confessed. She was tried and found guilty of all 10 murders and was sentenced to life without parole. In October 1996, the West’s house which is now better known as the house of horrors, was demolished along with its adjoining properties and made into a pathway.
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