The Cromwell Street Killings
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Rosemary and her husband Fred West, were accused of murdering 10 female victims over a 20 year period ending in 1987. They took great joy in luring away vulnerable runaways with offers of rides, lodging or jobs as nannies. Once in their clutches inside the “House of Horrors”, these young women were stripped, bound with tape, raped, tortured, then killed. Some were later dismembered and buried. The killer couple was arrested at their home at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, in 1994.
Police, armed with a search warrant, dug up the remains of their 16 year old daughter, Heather, who vanished in 1987. Further excavations under the house and in garden produced eight more bodies. One more body and Rosemary’s stepdaughter, Charmaine were later found under the kitchen of a former home at 25 Midland Road, Gloucester.
Fred hanged himself in Winston Green prison in Birmingham, on New Years Day in 1995. He faced two further charges of murdering his ex wife and a baby-sitter and burying them in fields near his former home. Police believe that Fred probably killed more women. Rosemary, who admitted being a prostitute, still maintains her innocence. However on 22nd November 1995, she was convicted of 10 murders. The authorities are investigating the whereabouts of nine other missing women who frequented their home.
The judge, Mr Justice Mantell, sentenced her to life imprisonment, saying: “If attention is paid to what I think, you will never be released.”
The Lord Chief Justice later decided that West should spend at least 25 years in prison, but in July in 1997 Home Secretary Jack Straw subjected West to a whole life tariff.
October 1996 the house at 25 Cromwell Street, along with the house next door, 23 Cromwell Street, were demolished and the site made into a garden and pathway. Every brick was crushed and every timber was burnt to discourage souvenir hunters.
27th September 2001 – A documentary filmmaker has called for an investigation into claims that serial killer Fred West may have murdered 20 more people. David Monaghan said West confessed the additional murders to a social worker assigned to him in prison and repeated them in a yet unaired TV show. Gloucestershire police said there was not enough evidence to investigate the claims and are trying to block the airing of the interview.
Rose West has abandoned plans to appeal against her conviction for her part in the Cromwell Street murders. West, still maintains her innocence but said she was ready to spend the rest of her life in prison.
West’s solicitor expressed surprise at the decision but her brother Andrew Letts said he was relieved she would never be free.
October 2008, Rose West moved from HMP Bronzefield, in Ashford, to HMP Durham.