Rosemary Letts was born in Devon on 29 November 1953, the result of a difficult pregnancy. Electro-convulsive therapy, administered to her pregnant mother for deep-seated depression, may have caused prenatal injury that contributed to her poor school performance and bouts of aggression growing up. She had a weight problem in adolescence, but it did not stifle an inherent sexual precocity, which manifested itself in an interest in older men.
Rose’s parents’ marriage was a turbulent one, with her father prone to violent behaviour that resulted in her mother, Daisy, moving out of the family home, taking Rose with her. Rose, however, decided to move back in with her father again, which occurred around the same time that she became intimate with Fred West, aged just 16.
Her father objected strongly to her relationship, and resorted to contacting Social Services and threatening West directly, but to no avail; she was soon pregnant with West’s child and found herself looking after his two children by Rena Costello, when West was sent to prison on various petty theft and fine evasion charges. She gave birth to daughter Heather in 1970.