"Under the paving stones of Gloucester"
After one too many bizarre sexual suggestions, Caroline Roberts had decided to end lodging with the Wests. But a month later, she again accepted a lift from them. And during the journey, Rose was very apologetic for what had occurred before. But as Caroline tried to exit the car, Fred punched her unconscious.
Caroline awoke to find herself bound and on the way back to Cromwell Street. Once there, Rose started to kiss and touch her. But to Caroline, Rose was more like a mother-figure. Rose’s actions were abhorrent to her. So when Caroline resisted, they threatened her.
It was the beginning of twelve hours of sexual abuse and torture.
At one point, Caroline heard a knock on the door. She risked shouting for help.
So Rose covered her face with a pillow. Then Fred picked up her by the throat:
“...and I’ve got Fred’s face in my face...and he said, ‘we’re going keep you in the cellar and let our black friends use you and when we’ve finished with you, we’re going to kill you and bury you under the paving stones of Gloucester...there’s hundreds of girls there, police haven’t found them and they aren’t going to find you.”
And just when Caroline thought she was about to be killed, Rose went downstairs to look after the children.
Fred then raped Caroline:
“After he had raped me, he started crying. And he apologised for what he’d done, and he said, ‘please don’t tell Rose, if she finds out she’ll kill you and me.”
Caroline played along with both the Wests. But when she escaped, she went to the police.
Lacking the confidence that they believed her story, she decided not to give evidence.
In 1973, when the case came to court, the Wests escaped with a fine.
And with the lesson learnt that they couldn’t afford to let their rape victims escape.
That year, they murdered Lynda Gough. In November, they abducted 15-year-old Carol Ann Cooper. After they had killed her they dismembered and buried her under their home.
SEXUALLY SADISTIC SERIAL KILLERS
Caroline Roberts had been right to suspect she was not their first or only victim. As she thought, Anne Marie, Fred’s eight-year-old daughter was being raped by Fred. And to help him, Rose would hold her step-daughter down.
It took place in the cellar which Fred was rapidly modelling into his own tailored torture chamber. He enlarged it and hooks were attached to the ceiling so victims could be hung.
The Wests were, in fact, turning the entire house into their own twisted playground. Holes were drilled in the toilet and bedroom walls to provide peepholes for them both. Intercoms allowed those in the kitchen to hear what went on the bedroom. Whips and other sexual paraphernalia began to litter the house.
The Wests developed a party reputation as the place to go for sex, drink and drugs.
But it was a trap.
For the next twenty years, the Wests would rape, torture and murder.
And Rose was crucial to luring the young girls and women into the cellar of Cromwell Street. Her presence would initially reassure female victims. For no matter how odd Fred may have been – for example, he liked to munch on raw onions like they were apples - surely no harm would come to them as long as Rose was there.
But once trapped, what was done to them is almost unimaginable.
Victims were bound and gagged with clothing. This ensured they remained quiet – as they were sexually assaulted and tortured to death.
One victim had a mask made of tape and tubes. This bespoke bondage left the victim disorientated and only just able to breathe. Until the time the Wests decided they had no further use for them.
“What we know about sexually sadistic homicides is that...they enjoy the humiliation. They enjoy degradation. They enjoy the suffering of the victim.”
-Dr. Raj Dargee, Forensic Psychiatrist
Once dead, victims were then dismembered and often beheaded. Sometimes, small bones such as fingers, toes, and kneecaps were removed.
Their victims would often be buried under the cellar floor on which they were killed.
In April 1978, 18-year-old Shirley Robinson was seen for the last time. She had become pregnant by Fred and had boasted of marrying him. She was eight months pregnant when she was buried under the garden of Cromwell Road - the cellar now being too full to accommodate her. It’s suspected that Rose had insisted that there would only ever be one Mrs West.
But her killing was never about sexual fidelity - Rose would eventually have eight children and not all of them by Fred – it was as much to do with Rose reacting and becoming like her father, controlling and paranoid.
For nearly the next ten years the Wests deeply depraved lifestyle continued but, almost unbelievably, there would be no evidence of them murdering anyone during this period.
Their next killing, though truly sickening, would eventually be their undoing.
In 1987, Heather West, Rose’s first child, resisted her father’s sexual advances. He still raped her but Heather wasn’t scared of the threats made about what would happen if she talked about what was happening in Cromwell Street.
For daring to break the West conspiracy of silence, she was killed, dismembered and buried in the back garden.
Rose and Fred told people that their 16-year-old headstrong, lazy, lesbian daughter had simply run off.
It would be seven years before the truth would be known.