Fred and Rose West: The killer landlords of your nightmares
We all know those landlords from hell. The ones that send the least professional workers to fix your issues, if they even respond. Or the ones who don’t care if your mom died, they want your rent on the 1st with no issue. But you didn’t get murdered by your landlord!
Those who lived on property owned by the Wests however weren’t so lucky. Rose and Fred West rented out their home in Gloucestershire to a variety of people, but at least 10 people paid rent towards their death.
A marriage built on chaos
From the moment Rose and Fred met, the two were clearly meant to be a disaster. No one in Rose’s family was not interested in their relationship, but Rose did whatever she could to see Fred. The two ended up having a daughter together, and Rose looked after her and Fred’s other two daughters together.
However, Rose killed Fred’s oldest daughter Charmaine, and supposedly the two killed Fred’s first wife Rena. The two married after Rena’s death, and Rose gave birth to another daughter shortly after.
25 Cromwell Street: The house of pain and trouble
After the two married, the Wests moved into their permanent home in Gloucestershire with their two daughters. From there, Rose started working as a prostitute, advertising in the local contact paper for her services. But it became clear that both Rose and Fred had a fetish for putting females in intense sexual situations.
Having threesomes with some of the clients, Fred actively helped Rose with her business in whatever ways he could, whether buying bondage supplies, other things for the room, or bringing his business clients upstairs. Rose gave birth to several children through this, which Fred accepted as his own with no issue.
Sexual abuse against children
As the two continued to be more and more abusive towards their clients, they started forcing younger children in the neighborhood into their business. A local 8 year old was raped constantly by Fred, and by the time she was 12, she was forced into Rose’s prostitution business.
17 year old Caroline Owens was initially hired as a nanny for the Wests, but when they approached her with sexual advances, she quit. But before she could leave, the Wests knocked her unconscious, drugged her, and both took turns sexually assaulting her. She managed to escape, and reported to the police what happened to her.
Both Wests were arrested and charged with sexual assault, assault, and bodily harm. But Owens couldn’t bring herself to testify in court, so all charges were dropped except for misdemeanor indecent assault and causing bodily harm. Both were charged only 50 pounds for it.
A turn to murder
After the Owens situation, the Wests laid low for about three months until they turned to murder. Slowly but surely, several female residents of Cromwell Street turned up missing, with the Wests giving various excuses for where the girls were.
But the most sinister of all was the murder of their daughter Heather. Their children were instructed not to tell anyone about what went on in the house between Rose’s job and their beatings. Heather broke this rule, and attempted to get a job and run away from home. But just before she could, her parents killed her.
The chance to strike
With Heather’s disappearance, that’s all police needed to be able to investigate the Wests. The children were taken out of the house and placed in foster care while the parents were arrested for rape, child abuse, burglary, and obstruction of justice. But the children were too afraid to testify, so both Wests were set free.
But from there, police knew Heather’s disappearance wasn’t a mistake. They proved there were no records of her being alive after her disappearance, and her father’s jokes about her being buried under the patio were enough to get a search warrant on the house.
After police spent the day trying to find Heather, Fred made the decision to confess to not only Heather’s death, but everyone else he killed. He tried to spin the blame away from Rose, saying she had no involvement, but she was arrested for rape and assault of some of her clients.
Fred gets out of charges
Rose was formally charged for nine murders, while Fred was charged for 11. Fred tried to reconnect with Rose at the trial, but Rose made it clear she has no interest in him. She played the part of a grieving mother, disgusted by her husband’s actions. This sent Fred in a spiraling depression.
In an act of revenge, Fred took back the claim that he committed the murders alone, and said they were a joint effort between him and Rose. Then, on January 1st 1995, he hung himself. This left Rose to stand trial alone for the murders.
A habit of being violent
As the trial began, one crucial decision was made early on: victims of Fred and Rose’s sexual abuse were allowed to testify, as it showed a trend of violence with the couple. Prosecution argued that several of the victims were tied off with a bow, proving a feminine touch.
While her defense tried to argue that she didn’t participate in any of the murders, the jury found her guilty, saying being silent is just as bad as the murder itself. Rose was given life in prison without parole, and is still serving her sentence to this day.