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Serial killer Rosemary West murdered at least 10 young women. Most of them were dismembered and buried in the cellar of her home on Cromwell Street.
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Serial killer. Born Rosemary Letts on November 29, 1953 in Devon, England. Electro-convulsive therapy, administered to Rosemary West’s 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 behavior 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. Her father objected strongly to her relationship, 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.
The pressure of caring for three children while still a child herself caused Rose to exhibit violent erratic tendencies. It is believed that she murdered Charmaine, West’s eldest child, in 1971. Whatever the circumstances, Charmaine suddenly disappeared and, as West was in jail at the time, it is likely that her body was hidden by Rose until West’s release. He agreed to hide the body, removing the fingers and toes. When West’s first wife, Rena, came in search of her daughter, she too was strangled, dismembered and had her fingers and toes removed.
Fred and Rose West were married in Gloucester in January 1972, and their second daughter, named Mae, was born in June of the same year. They were both indulging their unconventional sexual appetites by this time, with Rose earning extra money as a prostitute and West exercising an almost insatiable appetite for bondage and violent sex acts on underage girls. The cellar of their home was a torture chamber, and his 8-year-old daughter, Anne-Marie, became one of its first occupants, subjected to a horrifically brutal rape by her father while her stepmother held her down. This became a regular occurrence, and the child was threatened with beatings if she told anyone of her ordeal.
Their behavior extended beyond the family circle when, in late 1972, they engaged a 17 year old called Caroline Owens as a nanny. She was incarcerated, stripped and raped. Despite threats that she would be killed and buried in the cellar, Owens reported the Wests to the police, and charges were brought against them. Incredibly, and despite his existing criminal record, West was able to convince a magistrate that she had consented to the activities, and the Wests both escaped with fines.
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