Chilling tapes let court into mind of killer

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The Independent Online
Frederick West told detectives about six murders - including those of his first wife and daughter, Heather - in a series of chilling confessions.

His matter-of-fact tone during the taped interviews held Winchester Crown Court spellbound. He said: "What happened was Heather was going to leave home the day before and we stopped her and said give it the night to talk it over with us because you're too young to leave home anyway, and we'll talk it over.

"Well, we talked it over most of the night. Heather went down to bed ... and Heather cried all night she wanted to leave home.

"She (Heather) said 'if you don't fucking let me go I'll give all the kids acid (LSD) and they'll all jump off the church roof and be dead on the floor.'

"So she stood there and she had a smile and a sort of smirk on her face like 'you try me, I'll do it'. I lunged at her like that and grabbed her round the throat.

"I held her for a minute, how long I held her for, I don't know. I can't remember because for that few minutes I can't even remember what happened. I can just remember lunging for her throat and the next minute she's gone blue.

"I never intended to hurt her. I mean, I just went to grab her to shake her and say, 'take that stupid smirk off your face' because I was going to smack her across the face.

"I tried to get her into the dustbin. I couldn't get her in there so at that time we used to have one of those big ice-saws for cutting big blocks of ice. So I cut her legs off with that and I'm telling you, I have lived that a million times doing that since then. I cut her head off and then I put her in the bin and put the lid on and rolled it down the bottom of the garden behind the wendy house and covered it up and left it there."

That evening he sent his wife out to spend the night with a coloured man and buried Heather in the garden while she was away.

Detective Constable Hazel Savage asked him: "In how many pieces?"

West: "Three, two legs and a head and a body".

DC Savage: "Did you not get stained at all?"

West: "No, not to my knowledge. Anyway I think I got blood on my hands, not anywhere else."

DC Savage: "What, no blood on you then?"

West: "No, because she was quite cold and that. Really cold before I decided what to do with her."

DC Savage: "What have you told Rose about Heather's whereabouts ever since?"

West: "Rose accepted it then, that she had gone, that she had left home.

"I would like to stress Rose knew nothing at all. Whenever Rose brought it up years later, Rose used to say 'Christ, I wish we'd try and get in contact and find out where Heather is'.

"Although they didn't get on, she still loved her, same as the rest. And then that's when I used to make excuses up."

West said that his first murder victims were his first wife, Rena, and Charmaine, her daughter by another man: "I went and found Rena and then Charmaine was in the back of the van asleep.

"I took Rena into a pub and got her absolutely paralytic and then took her out to Dymock in the country where I know, and I strangled her and buried her.

"I think Rena had given Charmaine a drink of some sort, a bottle of lager or something. And then she drank that and she was sound asleep and I had forgotten all about her.

"I went back to the van and I found her [Rena's] car. There was Charmaine in the back of it, and I thought 'shit, what am I going to do now?'

"Anyway, I strangled her while she was still sleeping because there is no way I could have touched her any other way, and wrapped her up in the back and drove back to Midland Road." He buried the child in a back basement.

West later prepared a sketch showing where bodies had been buried at his home.

Detective Constable Savage asked him: "Who's that under the floor in the bathroom?"

West: "Lynda."

DC Savage said, "Lynda who?"

West said, "Gough, is it?"

Asked if he could remember the name of one victim, West replied, "I did know it at the time, but I forgot it now. There's so many. I mean, I knew her well because we had had an affair.

"All these girls I've had affairs with and that's why they ended up this way, because they threatened to tell Rose.

"Every one of them did exactly the same thing. 'I love you, I'm pregnant, I'm going to tell Rose, I want you to come and live with me', and that was the problem.

"My main problem was Rose not finding out what was going on."

West claimed he had an affair with another victim, Lucy Partington, after he met her in a park.

He said the relationship lasted about three months: "She said, 'I want to come and live with you' and all this crap, and I just grabbed her by the throat and then I drove back to Gloucester."

In a later interview, West said that he picked up three women hitchhikers in the Worcester area, one of them a 'Dutch girl'. "I have no description whatsoever of them because I never actually saw them in daylight as such.

"I was just generally talking to her [the Dutch girl] as I was going along and the next minute she sat on the engine, and the next minute she had got my fly undone and messing about. So I did the same.

"We made love, I think we made love twice, I think we did one after the other, and then she said, 'that'll be ten quid, or something'. And I said, 'well, I don't carry money. And anyway, I wouldn't pay a prostitute.'

"She started shouting and she said, 'you're the sort of person who goes with slags or something.' As soon as she said that I thought of Rose, and Rose is no slag as far as I was concerned, so I went for her and then the same thing happened with her.

"I smacked her up against the [lorry] window and she just dropped. I strangled her, or held my hands around her neck anyway, and that was it.

Detective Constable Savage asked him: "Are you responsible for killing all of these people, Fred? Can you tell me whether the way you killed them was different?"

West replied: "No, they're all exactly the same. I strangled them and then cut them up."

Detective Constable Savage asked: "Is there anybody else involved with you?"

West replied: "Nobody at all".