A woman whose serial killer parents sexually assaulted and murdered at least a dozen young women — including her older sister — now says she believes they may have killed as many as 30 people.
The father, Fred West, hanged himself in prison in 1995 before he could face trial for the 12 murders of which he was accused, according to the BBC. His wife, Rose West, was convicted in November 1995 of 10 murders and is serving life in prison.
The allegations against the couple — which included the murder of their daughter, Heather, and Fred’s daughter, Rena, from a prior marriage — horrified Britain after authorities looking for Heather in 1994 began digging into the garden of the Wests’ home at 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester. There, and in the home’s basement, they discovered the dismembered bodies of multiple victims.
The Wests’ surviving daughter, Mae West, said in an interview Monday on Good Morning Britain that she can only guess at the total of those killed.
“How many women do you think Fred West murdered?” asked the show’s host, Susanna Reid.
“I don’t know,” said Mae, now a 46-year-old married mother of two. “They do say they never stopped, so … “
“Thirty more?” asked Reid.
“Altogether, maybe,” Mae replied.
Mae West has written a new book, Love As Always, Mum xxx, which compiles letters she received from Rose in prison and describes an abusive childhood that she says included fighting off sexual advances from her father. Victims of the couple were sexually assaulted. The killings for which Rose was convicted occurred between 1967 and 1987.
“I’ve been asked, ‘Did you have knee caps as ashtrays?,'” she told Good Morning Britain, reports HuffPost’s UK edition. “They just think it’s going to be a literal house of horrors and you’re like, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’
“They can’t see you had normal meal times, TV, there was a lot of normality to it,” she said. “Then there was the other side that wasn’t, and we didn’t obviously see a lot of things.”
Her Father’s Repeated Sexual Assaults
In a 1995 interview with the BBC after their mother’s conviction, Mae and her brother, Stephen, said they were subjected to frequent beatings, often by their mom, in a household where they were exposed at an early age to pornography and often saw men come and go from their mother’s bedroom.
“Dad wanted mum to be with other men and women,” Stephen said in the 1995 interview. “Dad was quite happy for her to do it as long as she gained no enjoyment from it. If she seemed to enjoy it, they would have a massive argument. He would be very jealous that she was with someone else, although he made her do it.”
Mae said in 1995 that her father made sexual demands on his young daughters.
“Dad used to say a father should break his daughters in and the first-born child of a daughter should be her father’s,” she said. “From 11 or 12, he used to touch us all the time. If we pushed him away, he would get angry or say we were lesbians.”
On Monday, Mae told Good Morning Britain that she and her sister would “go to bed fully dressed, or we’d get up early in the morning dressed before, because he’d just come into the room when you’re dressing.”
Mae and Stephen were told in 1987 that Heather had left on her own, but the story kept changing, and the parents reportedly told the children that if they misbehaved, they would “end up under the patio like Heather.”
“With Heather, we thought she was running away, but as a child I used to think everything was strange,” Mae told Good Morning Britain.
In her new book, she writes: “Without being entirely serious about it, we’d decided to set a trap for Mum and Dad. We played them videos of episodes from Prime Suspect and Brookside that featured bodies buried under a patio. Then we watched for their reactions, but nothing about their behavior suggested they were uncomfortable.”
Their father eventually admitted to his other children that he had killed Heather, they said in the 1995 interview. The investigation into Heather’s disappearance eventually brought authorities to the West home with a warrant to search the garden when Mae was 21, she writes in her book.
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A former nanny for the Wests, Caroline Roberts, detailed her own escape from the West home in 1972, after she says the couple kidnapped, beat, sexually assaulted and raped her. According to her 2004 book The Lost Girl, they told her, “We are going to keep you in the cellar … we will kill you and bury you under the paving stones … There are hundreds of girls there, the police haven’t found them and they won’t find you,” the BBC reported.
Roberts went to police with her account at the time it happened, and the couple pleaded guilty and were fined for indecent assault but did not go to prison. Roberts died in 2016.
Yet even as the couple has remained famous for the horror the inflicted, Mae West told Good Morning Britain on Monday that she has never shared the truth with her youngest son about his grandparents. Her daughter, however, learned by accident when she attended a Halloween costume ball and encountered other guests dressed as Fred and Rose West.
“She just said, ‘Oh mum, you’ll never guess what, they came as your parents,'” Mae said. “She’s never really talked about it. She’s put that like, ‘Well that’s your background,’ and we’ve got on with things.”