Rosemary West

From Academic Kids

Rosemary West (née Rosemary Letts) (born 1953) is a British serial killer. She was convicted of murdering ten teenage girls, including her own common law step-daughter, Charmaine, and also of a serious sexual assault on a woman. The police suspect she was involved in further murders for which she has not been convicted. She killed Charmaine alone, but her other murders were all believed to have been carried out with her husband and fellow serial killer Fred West.

Rosemary or "Rose" was West's second wife. They developed a habit of picking up girls from bus stops in and around Gloucester, England (they would be less afraid of a couple than of a lone man) then sadistically torturing, holding the girls prisoner for a few days and murdering them. West brought up a large family, many of whom were in care, and all of whom were abused by West and her husband. West has a voracious sexual appetite and enjoyed extreme bondage and sadomaschistic sex, even more so than her husband. She was bisexual, but preferring women, and it is likely that her victims (apart from Charmaine) were picked up mostly for her sexual pleasure. She also worked as a prostitute, often preferring black clients, and many of her children were fathered by these clients.

Other victims?

West was arrested in 1994. The crimes for which she was convicted occurred from 1972 to 1978, by which time the basement of the Wests house at 25, Cromwell Street was full of the bodies of her victims (apart from Charmaine, who was buried at the Wests previous home of 25, Midland Road, Gloucester). The only other body found at Cromwell Street was Heather, West's daughter, who was murdered by the Wests in 1987. The police consider it highly unlikely that the Wests just stopped their sexually motivated murders in 1978, and there are likely to have been many more murders with the bodies being buried elsewhere.

Rose West was convicted of ten murders and the police have concluded that her late husband Fred murdered a total of twelve, but Rose played no part in the first two murders (both committed in the 1960's) because she did not meet Fred until 1970.

Some reports claimed that the Wests may have killed as many as 30 people. Most of the victims were people whose disappearances were unlikely to be detected, which is why their killing spree went undetected for over 20 years. All of the 12 known victims of the Wests were women or girls, though it is possible that the Wests may have murdered men and boys as well.


Although she did not confess, the evidence against West, which was all circumstantial, was overwhelming. She was tried in October 1995, after her husband's suicide. The jury was unanimous: West was guilty of ten murders, and the judge, Mr Justice Mantell, sentenced her to life imprisonment. She is Britain's most prolific female serial killer. She had previously, along with Fred West, been convicted of a serious sexual assault in the 1970s. Her original minimum term set by the judiciary was 25 years, but this was increased to whole life in 1997 by home secretary Jack Straw. A November 2002 law lord's ruling could see West released in 2019, by which time she will be 66 years old.

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