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Bad Romance: Love behind bars

Rose West
Image: Rose West | World History Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

You’d think getting banged up for heinous crimes and having your name deservedly blackened in the public consciousness forevermore would scupper your chances of getting a date. But not a bit of it. Some of the world’s most notorious sadists and killers have enjoyed serious relationships behind bars, with Rose West and Myra Hindley being an infamous example.

Britain's most notorious female killers

Two perverted female child killers, both of whom were previously in relationships with equally notorious men, meet in prison and have a lesbian love affair? It sounds barely believable, like something dreamt up by a particularly shameless tabloid journalist to flog some more papers. But it seems that Rose West and Myra Hindley really did have a fling while they both happened to be banged up in HMP Durham in the 1990s.

It wasn’t to last, though. The relationship apparently came to a bitter end for reasons that aren’t clear. Some say it was because of a twisted rivalry between the pair, with Myra jealous over Rose’s greater notoriety. Rose herself told her solicitor that she’d realised she was being manipulated by Myra, and that the Moors Murderer was ‘flippin’ dangerous’. Which is quite a damning judgment, coming from Rose West.

Don’t f**k with cats (or fall in love with the man who did)

Aside from Rose and Myra, there have been other examples of ghoulish killers finding love after their conviction. Take the vain, preening, animal-torturing cannibal killer Luka Magnotta, whose case has been chronicled in Netflix documentary Don’t F**k With Cats. He may not strike most people as a catch, but the one-time porn star who graduated from murdering cats on webcam to killing and dismembering a human being, has in fact tied the knot in prison.

Much like every other person looking for love these days, he used a dating site. In his case, it was no swipe app, but a website called Canadian Inmates Connect Inc, set up to let prisoners forge relationships with those on the outside. Magnotta’s profile stated he was seeking his ‘prince charming’, who was ‘preferably educated, financially and emotionally stable’.

His ‘prince charming’ has turned out to be another killer, Anthony Jolin, serving a life sentence for stabbing a fellow prisoner to death in a shower. On top of that, Jolin is also doing time for shooting a teenager in the head in an execution-style killing, The pair seem to have a pretty cushy time of things, if Magnotta’s boasts are anything to go by: letters from the killer have described the jail as feeling like a ‘university’. That said, their request for a ‘honeymoon’ in a private room used by visiting family members was allegedly turned down by the prison authorities, as was their request to share a cell.

Marrying Ted Bundy

Not all killers have had their love lives scuppered by the inconvenience of being locked up in prison. A case in point wasTed Bundy. Despite being a rapist, killer and necrophile, Ted Bundy had the uncanny ability to charm people even after they knew what he’d been up to in his spare time. Just look at how one of his trial judges fawned over Bundy, saying he would have made a fine lawyer.

And then there was the sensational moment, while he was on trial for the murder of a young girl, that Bundy proposed to a woman on the witness stand.

She was Carol Ann Boone, a long-standing friend who firmly believed in his innocence, and the pair took advantage of a Florida law which meant that a properly worded proposal, in an open court, would make the marriage legally binding. And that wasn’t the end of it. Bundy

Bundy somehow managed to enjoy the kind of romantic freedom denied to the likes of Luka Magnotta. Perhaps because they bribed prison guards, Bundy and Boone were able to have conjugal visits while he was on death row. ‘After the first day they just, they didn’t care,’ as Boone said of the guards. ‘They walked in on us a couple of times.’

She eventually became pregnant with Bundy’s daughter, but the couple split after that, and the whereabouts of the serial killer’s now-adult child is a matter of intense interest and speculation among true crime buffs. Her existence, wherever she is, is a physical reminder that the cliché is true: love really is blind.