Attracting unsuspecting victims to their “ house of horrors, ” Fred and Rose West’s murderous frenzy is still unraveling to this day.
This week, police began digging into the cellar of the Clean Plate Cafe in Gloucester, where a teenage girl suspected of being the victim of serial killer Fred may have been buried more than 50 years ago.
Detectives might try to question his wife, Rose, in a renewed search for 15-year-old cafe waitress Mary Bastholm, who was last seen alive in January 1968, but the teen is believed to have disappeared before Fred met her.
Together, the two men tortured, raped and murdered at least 12 people over a period of 20 years, torturing them in their “sex dungeon” and burying them in their basement and garden.
Grooming Rose as an underage teenager, Fred invited her to live with him, and the couple indulged in decades of dark and depraved fantasies – beating and mistreating their own children, while also inviting dozens of lovers. at home for increasingly violent sexual games.
But when their luck ran out, the sordid passion that fueled their crimes also wore off, as Rose pushed Fred aside in an attempt to save her own skin – which led to her suicide weeks before their trial.
Killer treated her 15-year-old lover at the bus stop
Before even meeting Rose, Fred had already embarked on his murderous madness.
Alienated from his first wife, Catherine “ Rena ” Costello, who fled his physical violence, the killer formed a relationship with Anne McFall, a 16-year-old “ nanny ”, with his daughter Anne Marie and the daughter of Rena, Charmaine.
Described later by Fred as “the love of his life” and his “angel”, McFall was only 18 when she became pregnant with her child – before passing away in 1967.
His dismembered body was not found until June 1994, when it was unearthed at Fingerpost Field, a few feet from Fred’s parents’ house. Although he initially denied killing McFall, he allegedly confessed to a visitor years later in prison.
Two years after Anne’s death, the then 27-year-old Fred met Rose at a bus stop a few days after her 15th birthday. Despite their “tramp” appearance, the couple tied the knot of an “insatiable desire for sex” as he lavished gifts on her.
Rose quickly became a frequent visitor to the Lake House Caravan Park where Fred lived with his children.
Fearing that she might engage in prostitution, her mother and father – who allegedly assaulted her as a child – called social services and placed her in a home for troubled adolescents.
Yet after her 16th birthday, she returned to Fred’s place – now living in an apartment in Cheltenham – and began to display her own horrific violent tendencies.
Rose’s thirst for blood grows
When Fred was jailed for 10 months for petty theft, Rose was left in charge of her two stepdaughters and her own child, Heather Ann, to whom she gave birth in 1970.
It was during this time that Rose committed her first murder, killing eight-year-old Charmaine and hiding her remains in the cellar for Fred to bury in the garden after her release.
Writing to Fred in prison at the time, she wrote, âHoney, about Char. I think she likes to be treated roughly. But honey, why do I have to be the only one doing it. I would keep her to herself if it weren’t for the rest of the kids.
When Rena called home to inquire about her daughter’s whereabouts two months later, Fred strangled her and dumped her mutilated body in Gloucester’s letter field.
Anne Marie subsequently opened up about the terrible abuse suffered by the children in the care of Fred and Rose.
Only eight years old, she was stripped naked before being tied to a mattress, gagged and raped by her father.
Then Rose assured her, “Everyone does it to every girl. It’s a dad’s job. Don’t worry and don’t tell anyone.”
Anne Marie later recalled that they were “so, so nice” after the rapes and gave her “salt baths”.
Spooky torture in a ‘sex dungeon’
Fred and Rose married in January 1972 and after Rose became pregnant with their second child, Mae June, the family moved to 25 Cromwell Street – later known as the ‘House of Horrors’.
Here, Rose began working as a prostitute, inviting men and women to their homes for increasingly brutal sex games, while Fred joined for threesomes and watched extreme pornography, including bestiality and sex. child abuse.
Stephen West was born in 1973 and the children were subjected to further grotesque violence, often fleeing their homes to be beaten on their return.
Between 1972 and 1992, children were admitted to A&E 31 times – but the injuries were explained as “accidents”.
The couple’s depraved cravings, however, continued to escalate. Fred created a “sex dungeon” in the basement of Cromwell Street, and they began to lure victims into their home.
After Caroline Owens, the first person they brought into their den, was gagged, tied up and raped, she managed to escape and contact the police.
However, too humiliated to testify, her escape only saw the couple accused of indecent assault.
Starting with 19-year-old Lynda Gough, the Wests decided to embark on a frightening murder spree to keep their victims from speaking like Owens.
Torturing and suffocating a series of young girls in the basement, they dismembered them before burying them in the cellar and garden.
Forensic psychologist Dr Julian Boon later commented, âWhat haunts me the most was a mask that only had two holes in its nose so the person could breathe but couldn’t see or hear.
“As a result, they could get anything done and it’s very scary.”
The sinister murder of his daughter unravels the plans
As their binge continued, Rose gave birth to a number of children who would be guest lovers in the house.
However, it was the death of the Wests’ own daughter, Heather, in 1987 that finally revealed their sickening secret.
Heather’s siblings went to school one day, but they were told the 16-year-old had left home when they returned.
At first, Fred and Rose said she took a job at a summer camp in Torquay, then claimed she ran off with a lesbian lover and was involved in credit card fraud .
In fact, they had murdered and dismembered their firstborn – later mocking their children saying that if they misbehaved they would end up ‘under the patio’ like Heather.
Following an anonymous tip-off accusing Fred of raping a 13-year-old girl in 1992, police raided the house – but he was released after the girl decided not to testify.
It was not until 1994 that the police decided to dig the garden on a hunch – sensing defeat, Fred guided them to his daughter’s grave.
He claimed to have strangled her in a fit of rage, cut her body with an Icelandic serrated knife, put her remains in a trash can and buried her body.
Rose’s icy rejection sends Fred into depression
As bodies piled up and Fred and Rose were arrested for multiple murders, the couple’s sordid romance turned sour.
Brushing off her husband’s loving contacts in court, Rose tricked Rose into assuming the character of a grieving mother and turned on her accomplice, who had attempted to take rap for the murders.
Fred’s attorney, Howard Ogden, said: âHer face was stone and cold and it came as a big shock to Fred.
“He thought she would be desperate to kiss him and be so grateful for taking rap but in fact she was hoping to save her own neck.”
Fred, who had previously fully admitted he was responsible for the deaths, suddenly began to respond “without comment” when police asked for more information.
This had devastating consequences for Rose, who could no longer claim that Fred had been solely responsible as the evidence accumulated against her.
Increasingly depressed, Fred begged Anne Marie and Stephen – their two children to visit him in prison – to tell Rose he loved her, but his freezing silence saw him sink into depression.
Weeks before the start of the couple’s murder trial, Fred was found dead in his prison cell after hanging himself on January 1, 1995.
The last line of his suicide note read: “In sweet memory. Fred West. Rose West. Rest in peace where no shadows fall. In perfect peace he awaits Rose, his wife.”