Back in the 1990s, this was considered the UK 'crime of the century, comparable only to the moors murders committed by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, the macabre marriage of Fred & Rose West took serial killing to a whole new level. 25 Cromwell Street was dubbed 'The House of Horrors', and for once, the sensationalist tabloids weren't exaggerating. Fred & Rose West killed approximate 12 women, including their daughter, and Fred's first wife and stepchild. 9 of those bodies were buried within the house itself, the bathroom, the garden, and a basement conversation holding the bodies close for many years until a police investigation and a horrid rumour warranted a dig that repulsed even the more hardened crime enthusiast. Howard Sounes began his journalistic career as a staff reporter for the Sunday Mirror when the story broke, even coining the phrase 'house of horrors' so is well acquainted with this story and has built a career out of it.
The book is a vast and gripping exploration into Fred and Rose West, as individuals, as a murderous duo, and their familial relationships. A plethora of children spawned by these two were victims in the vilest way possible, and yet, you could almost have sympathy for Fred & Rose too, as they were both victims of their own nefarious upbringings. That said, even now and an astonishing near 30 years ago, the crimes are no less shocking. Quite frankly, I would suggest grabbing a copy of this book and listening to the podcast. I wouldn't want to divulge too much but would say that this is unputdownable in terms of true crime non-fiction, and such an incredible true-life story.
These are the known victims; Anna McFall, 18, killed by Fred West in July 1967. Discovered in June 1994 at Fingerpost Field near Much Marcle. She was eight months pregnant at the time of her death.
Charmaine West, 8, Fred's stepdaughter. Believed to have been killed by Rose in 1971 while Fred was serving a sentence at HMP Leyhill. Buried in the cellar at 25 Midland Road. Rena Costello, 27, Fred's first wife, also killed in 1971, buried at Letterbox Field in Much Marcle. Lynda Gough, 19, killed in April 1973. Buried in 25 Cromwell Street. Carol Ann Cooper, 15, killed November 1973. Buried in the cellar at 25 Cromwell Street. Lucy Partington, 21, killed in December 1973. Last seen at a bus stop in Cheltenham, her body was discovered in the cellar in Cromwell Street in 1994. Therese Siegenthaler, 21, abducted in 1974 while hitchhiking. Buried under an extension built by Fred at 25 Cromwell Street. Shirley Hubbard, 15, abducted from a bus stop in Droitwich in November 1974. Dismembered remains were found in the cellar in Cromwell Street. Juanita Mott, 18, a former lodger at Cromwell Street. She was last seen in April 1975. Her body was found buried at Cromwell Street.
Rosemary West was found guilty of 10 counts of murder relating to bodies found at Cromwell Street and Midland Road, in 1995. She remains in prison and is unlikely to ever be released.
Fred West took his own life while on remand awaiting trial for a further two counts of murder on New Years Day, 1995
Fred West has been back in the news in 2021 as the long-suspected killer of Gloucester teenager Mary Bastholm. Mary's body has never been found. Read more about that here
Listen here to the brilliant podcast called 'UNHEARD: THE FRED & ROSE WEST TAPES'
BUY THE BOOK HERE