Monday, August 3, 2009
This was the bland semi-detached home of Fred and Rose West, and the guardian of their incredible secret: the remains of nine young women - many of them dismembered, decapitated and showing evidence of sexual torture - were buried under its cellar, bathroom floor and garden. The remains of Fred's eight-year-old stepdaughter were under the extention of a nearby house; his first wife and nanny were buried in windswept fields some miles away. There are undoubtedly many other victims whose fates may never be known. Yet Fred and Rose West, who committed at least nine of these murders together, continued to preserve the facade of normal married life. Friends and neighbours considered them a loving if somewhat eccentric couple, and their crimes went undetected for over twenty years.FRED & ROSE documents the lives and crimes of the most notorious murderers in Britain's recent criminal history, and offers completely new insights into these strange and tragic events.
Just in case this true crime story is not as widely known as I might think,this couple Fred and Rose sexually tortured and murdered many girls and then buried the bodies in the basement of the homes they lived in.Among the victims were their own children.
I still get the shivers when I just look at this book.Luckily it is only on my desk now so I can do this post but otherwise it is in a cupboard well hidden away.This book was one of the first true crime books I ever read so I have no idea if the shivers are due to having read it then before I was a seasoned true crime reader or if it was because it really was a horrific story.To be honest I think I must err on the side of the horrific story.The details included in this book are truly terrible.I could not get my mind around the fact that customers/clients were entering the house at all times of the day,a house that at any one time included at least 3 children.Customers who were coming to visit Rose who was prostituting herself for extra money or kicks,this fact is not really made clear in the book.
The details of the abuse of the young girls in the house was also very disturbing.The methods used,the activities entered into by this sick couple and the decision to include the children as well made me want to puke.I would recommend this book only to readers who are absolutely sure that they could handle all the gory details.
This book also highlighted for me (same as Secrets In The Cellar by John Glatt)how some neighbors are so involved in their own lives that they are totally oblivious to what is going on around them never mind right next door.Surely all these men visiting at all hours of the day and night must have raised some doubts? Then after the fact,the number of boarders (Fred and Rose also took in boarders)who then testified as to the strange noises they heard at night,is further proof that most people just do not want to get involved in the troubles of others.
Even more appalling is that after all of this,Fred then manages to commit suicide and never have to face the families of the victims.Surely he should have been watched day and night after being put in prison awaiting trial.
This book has lots and lots of photographs.Really personal photographs of Fred and Rose when they were still young.Photographs of the children and victims when they were alive and well.Photos of the house 25 Cromwell Street.There is also a 3D diagram of the house with all the different floors and a very confusing and unbelievable family tree which includes various boyfriends who were the fathers of some of Rose's children,then the children Fred had with other women,the children that this couple had together,and still the foster children they had.Really you would think there would be authorities checking up that these children were safe,but apparently not.
This writer,Howard Sounes,is able in this book to take many confusing details and present them in a way which is easy to read and folow.It is the details themselves which are very disturbing and not for the faint hearted.Venture at your own peril!
Here are some more book details:
Fred & Rose: The Full Story of Fred and Rose West and the Gloucester House of Horrors
Country: United Kingdom
Publication date: December 1995
Edition: Paperback original