Fred West: Expert reveals the 'joke' which exposed killer
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ITV’s ‘Fred and Rose West: Reopened’ provides a new examination of the evidence surrounding the notorious British husband and wife serial killers. Presented by Sir Trevor McDonald, the two-part documentary provides a fresh insight into their crimes. The pair are known to have killed at least 12 women and girls between 1967 and 1987. The murders were carried out at their home at 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester, which later became known as the “House of Horrors”.
Fred and Rose tortured their victims, often mutilating them and abusing them before their deaths.
Fred killed himself in prison before he could face justice, while Rose is serving a whole life order after being convicted of 10 of the murders.
The new documentary accesses previously unseen archive materials surrounding the Wests’ case.
The programme looks at the claim that Fred may have killed another 20 people on top of the 12 women and girls already known about.
The revelation that there could be more victims comes from a statement from Fred’s ‘appropriate adult’, Janet Leach.
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Sir Trevor speaks to investigative psychologist Donna Youngs in episode one of the series.
He says: “What of the 20 alleged by Fred West’s appropriate adult?
“Of the 12 murders we know of all went undetected for 27 years, and the gaps between their murders, where it’s assumed no one was killed, may hide a much darker secret.”
The journalist asks the expert about the seeming periods of inactivity for Fred in between victims during which time it was originally assumed no one was killed.
Looking at a timeline, which begins in the Sixties, she says: “What we’ve got here is the beginnings of his predatory activity through to the arrests in 1994.
“The activity is quite heavily skewed between 1970 to 1975. We have Charmaine [Fred’s daughter] going missing, ‘Rena’ [Costello] going missing, Therese Siegenthaler going missing, Shirley Hubbard, Carole Ann Cooper, Lucy Partington.
“Now the question is ‘what’s happening in the subsequent years?’
“We’ve got a gap here, 1976, 1977, equally we have another period here, 1980, 1981, and this continues to 1986.”
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Sir Trevor suggests that Fred’s killings didn’t stop when they appeared to.
Ms Youngs replies: “That style of offending is like an addiction, the need for more and more stimulation builds the more and more offences you carry out.”
She then says it “makes sense” that Fred’s apparent periods of inactivity might be linked to the missing victims who have never been discovered.
The series also sees former detective chief inspector Colin Sutton and author and Fred West expert Howard Sounes called in to help.
Sir Trevor and Mr Sutton visit an area of rural farmland near to where it is believed more victims may be buried.
One site where more victims may be buried is in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, while another two are in Herefordshire.
Episode one and two of Fred and Rose West: Reopened are available to watch on ITV Hub.
Episode one will be repeated on ITV tonight from 10:45pm-11:45pm.
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