While most children grow up cocooned by warmth and love, the children of Fred and Rose West were forced to endure incest, brutal beatings, porn and prostitution.
The murderous couple raped, tortured and killed 12 women and girls between 1967 and 1987 – but their crimes were not confined to those outside of the family.
Their own daughter Heather, 16, was amongst the dead, while many of their other children were subjected to years of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of their parents.
Between 1972 and 1992, the children were admitted to A&E 31 times and many have spoken about the sheer brutality and horror of growing up at 25 Cromwell Street…
Fred’s ex Rena Costello was pregnant with Charmaine when they first met, and he raised her as his own.
Charmaine was just eight when she was murdered by Rose
(Image: No Name)
Rose and Fred West murdered and tortured young women and children, including their own family
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After splitting with Rena, he met Rose who became a step-mother to Charmaine.
But while Fred was in jail for petty theft in June 1971, Rose murdered the eight-year-old and stashed her remains in the cellar for Fred to bury in the garden upon his release.
When Rena called to their home to question the whereabouts of her daughter two months later, Fred strangled her and dumped her mutilated body in Gloucester’s Letterbox Field.
Charmaine, Heather and Anne-Marie daughters of Fred West (pic: SWNS)
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Charmaine’s half-sister Anne Marie was born to Fred and Rena, but raised by Rose following the murders of her mum and sibling.
She was one of the Wests’ first victims when they converted their cellar into a torture chamber, and was ordered to strip before being tied to a mattress, gagged and raped by her dad. She was just eight at the time.
Afterwards Rose assured her, "Everybody does it to every girl. It’s a father’s job. Don’t worry, and don’t say anything to anybody."
Anne Marie later recalled them being ‘so, so kind’ after the rapes and giving her ‘salty baths’.
Fred, with wife Rose, hung himself in his prison cell
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The abuse continued into her teenage years, with Anne Marie forced to perform household chores while wearing sexual devices and a mini-skirt.
She was raped more than 300 times, given syphilis by her dad, tied to furniture and raped, sexually abused by Rose and forced to work as a prostitute in the house at 13.
She ran away in 1979 after being savagely beaten by Rose following her discharge from hospital for an ectopic pregnancy.
Anne Marie gave evidence against both parents at their murder trial and attempted suicide in 1999.
Mae pictured age six with sibling Heather
After Anne Marie ran away, Fred turned his sexual attentions to his and Rose’s eldest biological children, Heather and Mae.
He molested both and threatened to ‘break them in’, and while Mae developed a coping mechanism of laughing off the abuse, Heather was so disturbed that she started drinking, became withdrawn and would rock back and forth.
Her parents thought her behaviour suggested she was gay and would mercilessly taunt her. She refused to shower at school, but when forced, classmates noticed her arms legs and torso were covered in welts and bruises.
After leaving school at 16 in 1987, she pinned her hopes for escape on a cleaning job at a holiday camp in Torquay, and cried all through the night after being rejected.
The next day her siblings went to school as normal, and when they returned she was gone.
At first Fred and Rose said she’d taken the job, then claimed she’d eloped with a lesbian lover and that she was involved in credit card fraud.
Heather was murdered when she was 16
(Image: PA Archive/PA Images)
But in truth, they had murdered and dismembered their first-born.
His crime only came to light in 1992 when police raided the house following an anonymous tip off accusing Fred of raping a 13-year-old girl.
He was arrested on suspicion of rape and buggery in 1992, but was released after the girl decided not to testify.
However, by that point the children had all been taken into foster care where social workers learned of the family joke about ending up under the patio ‘like Heather’ if they misbehaved.
Heather was buried in the garden of 25 Cromwell Street
On a hunch police excavated the garden and Fred eventually guided them to his daughter’s grave.
He claimed to have strangled her in a fit of rage, cut up her body with a serrated knife from Iceland, stored her remains in a dustbin and buried her body in the garden.
When she was found, Heather’s fingernails were in a pile separate from her body, suggesting she had been tortured.
"I cut her legs off with that and I’m not telling you I have lived that a million times doing that since then and then I cut her head off and then I put her in the bin and put the lid on and rolled it down to the bottom of the garden behind the Wendy house," he told police.
Speaking about the location of her grave, he added, "I avoided the roots of the young tree, mind."
Before the discovery of Heather’s body in 1994, he built a barbecue pit opposite where she was buried, and constructed a pine table above the site for family diners.
Mae West daughter of Rosemary West leaves Winchester Crown Court after hearing part on her mothers trial
Like Heather, Mae was forced to watch porn with her father and had a system with Heather their brother Stephen whereby they always ensured at least two of them were in the room with their dad.
She was raped by her uncle when she was five, and physically abused by her mum, who one time repeatedly scored her chest with a knife she’d been using to cut meat after a row about a missing kitchen utensil.
Fred once threw a vacuum at her as punishment for warding off his advances.
She continued to be close to her mother following her conviction, and admits she struggled to come to terms with Rose’s true level of depravity.
Born the year after Heather and Mae in 1973, Stephen suffered the same physical abuse and was once kicked in the chest and head after Rose accidentally stepped in a bowl of water he was using to mop the kitchen floor.
Like Heather ran away from home, slept rough and with friends, and was beaten on his return.
He was told he would have to have sex with his mum when he turned 17, and was unwittingly made to dig Heather’s grave, with Fred telling him the hole was for a fish pond.
Stephen West and Mae West
He attempted suicide in January 2002 but survived, and was jailed for nine months in January 2002 for having sex with 14-year-old girl.
Stephen has admitted: "There’s a bit of my dad in me."
His barrister Stephen Mooney tried to explain his client’s behaviour, saying: "He had one of the most traumatic and distressing childhoods one can imagine and what happened affected his emotional development.
"Anyone who has suffered like him has a tendency to remain emotionally less well-developed for his age."
With Fred’s approval, Rose worked as a prostitute from an upstairs room at 25 Cromwell Street.
She had a separate bell for clients and Fred would listen in to her sex sessions on speakers in another room.
Tara was fathered by one of Rose’s black clients in 1977, and first became aware of her own darker skin when she turned seven.
Unlike her older siblings, she was not beaten, tortured or molested, and believes Rose ‘spoilt’ her because she felt bad about her parentage.
Rose, pictured, treated Tara differently
"Mum used to hit me with a wooden spoon – I think she just had too many kids and couldn’t cope," she once said.
"It’s not like we were hospitalised… she didn’t break any of our bones. And Mum always made sure we went to the doctors, dentists and were smartly turned out. She wasn’t all bad."
On the subject of why she was spared Fred’s sinister attentions, she added, "I realise now that Dad was only interested in his naturaldaughters. He thought they were his property. Because I wasn’t his daughter he left me alone."
Louise and Barry
Louise was born in 1978, followed by Barry in 1980, who was seven years old when he claims he saw his mum ‘stamp on Heather’s head five times’.
“She didn’t move again," he told the Daily Star.
25 Cromwell Street
Born in 1982, Rosemary is believed to have been fathered by the same man as her big sister Tara and went by the nickname of Ro-Ro.
Lucy Partington was found decapitated and dismembered in the West’s cellar in 1994, and her sister Marian believes their daughter Lucyanna – who shared a dad with Tara and Rosemary Jr – was named after her.
“There was something about the use of the word ‘poetry’ that leapt out of the general mire of blasphemy and made my stomach churn. Another such moment was when we heard that their last child was called Lucyanna," Marian wrote in her book, Life After Lucy.
From 1967 to 1987, nine victims were buried at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester.
Fred confessed to the murders and hanged himself in his jail cell while on remand.
Rose was convicted of 10 murders and sentence to life.
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