Airing Thursday 31st Jan 2019
"Coming back to this story 25 years later, it's still as shocking as it ever was, if not more so". Sir Trevor McDonald
Presented by Sir Trevor McDonald this brand new and very powerful documentary features exclusive interviews and insights into one of most disturbing murder cases in British criminal history – Fred and Rose West and the Gloucester House of Horrors.
A quarter of a century on from the discovery of the Wests' extraordinary crimes, in which they murdered young women and girls and buried the human remains under their home at 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester, people at the heart of the story speak for the first time.
Exclusive contributors include former Cromwell Street lodger Jayne Hamer who speaks of hearing screams from the cellar, and tells Sir Trevor how she feels lucky to have left the house alive. We also hear from families of murder victims, including two sisters of Juanita Mott in their first documentary interview. Their sister went missing in 1975, aged eighteen, and her remains were among the nine found at Cromwell St in 1994. Three more sets of human remains were found elsewhere bringing the total number of victims to twelve.
Trevor McDonald asks the key questions: how did these crimes go undetected for so long, and what role did Rose West play? Viewers will see fresh evidence indicating that at times Rose may in fact have been the driving force in these horrific crimes. Returning to Cromwell Street with Sir Trevor McDonald, contributor and programme producer Howard Sounes explains, “The Wests terrorised their children into not saying anything — "You mustn’t go to the police, or something terrible will happen.’”
A host of other exclusive interviewees include odd-job man Fred West’s former bosses Derek and Wendy Thomson, who had no idea of their employee’s dark side; and John Fitzgerald, the senior social worker who investigated child care issues in the case, as he sheds new light on how the Wests got away with it for so long. Sasha Wass QC, who helped defend Rose in court, gives her first media interview on her client’s sensational 1995 trial. The film also features a powerful exclusive interview with a West family member who has never spoken before on camera.
This programme uncovers new evidence that Rose West was often as violent, if not more violent, than her husband. Although Rose was only fifteen when she met Fred, who was 27 and had already killed, psychologist Professor David Canter suggests in the film that Rose may have played a leading role in the relationship from the outset.
He says: “I think it’s very probable that she was already very manipulative and she saw in Fred somebody she could manage in some way to achieve what she wanted.”
Although Fred West confessed to the killings in 1994, Rose denied it all – as she still does. Rosemary West was convicted of 10 murders and is one of the very few female prisoners with a whole life tariff meaning she will die in prison.
A Blink Films production for ITV