Lesbian tells of violent sex sessions

Rosemary West trial: Woman who had affair with couple fled after increasingly aggressive demands were made
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Rosemary West became increasingly aggressive during a violent lesbian affair in which she tied up and blindfolded the other woman, Winchester Crown Court was told yesterday.

She and her husband, Frederick, showed Kathryn Halliday whips, rubber suits and masks at their home at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester. "I realised just how dangerous things were getting," said Mrs Halliday. She decided to end the sexual relationship she had with the Wests and did not return.

Earlier the court was told that children's screams were heard in the night by a visitor to number 25 and that the Wests gave varying explanations for the disappearance of their eldest daughter, Heather, whose remains were found under the patio at the house.

Mrs West, 41, denies murdering 10 girls and young women whose remains were found at 25 Cromwell Street and at the West's previous home in Gloucester. Mr West, who was charged with 12 murders, was found dead in his prison cell on New Year's Day.

The prosecution alleges that seven of the victims were gagged, tied up and kept alive while they were sexually abused. They were mutilated and dismembered before being buried at 25 Cromwell Street.

Mrs Halliday, 38, said she moved into 11 Cromwell Street in October, 1988, and met Mr West. He knew she was a lesbian and invited her round to meet his wife. Mrs Halliday said that "there were no niceties, no formalities at all" and that Mrs West undressed her and took her to a bedroom. Mrs Halliday said a sex session involving all three of them followed.

After Mr West had sex with her he left the room for a time during which Mrs West "became very aggressive and very demanding", grabbing her wrists and asking whether she would be able to cope with their sexual demands.

This was the start of a sexual relationship which lasted several months. Mrs West would knock on Mrs Halliday's window after she had dropped her children off at school at 9am. Mrs Halliday would then go round to number 25 for an all morning sex session.

Mrs Halliday got to know the West's children and broke down as she told the court that the cellar where the remains of five victims were discovered was later used as the children's bedroom.

She said: "They had the little children sleeping above the bodies in Cromwell Street and I find that absolutely..." She could not complete the sentence but after pausing added: "They let them sleep on top of them."

Mrs Halliday had sex with Mrs West alone and with both her and her husband with pornographic videos featuring bondage and sadism running.The videos were amateur and she recognised a bedroom at 25 Cromwell Street in one of them. In it a girl was tied to a bed, whipped and a man forcibly had sex with her.

Mrs Halliday said that when she had sex with the Wests "more often than not I had my hands tied and my feet were tied". She was also blindfolded, gagged and tied up with what felt like dressing gown cord. Twice a pillow was put over her face and Mr West punched her on one occasion. "It got more and more violent," she said. "They wanted me to do more and more all the time. They pushed me beyond my personal limits and when they began to hurt me bodily I began to ease off going there because of the physical pain."

Asked by Brian Leveson, QC, for the prosecution, why she had gone back, Mrs Halliday replied: "At the time I was very, low, I was very vulnerable."

On one occasion Mrs Halliday said she was taken to another bedroom where there were whips and where she was shown a suitcase which contained a selection of black rubberised suits and masks, somewith no nose holes. These were creased and had clearly been used. She said: "I was frightened and I never ever went back into that room ... I realised that I was getting into something way over my head and way out of my depth and I wanted none of it."

Mrs Halliday, who admitted receiving pounds 8,000 from the Sunday Mirror for her story, said that her relationship with the Wests ended and she left Cromwell Street in June, 1989.

Earlier, a former boyfriend of Anne Marie, Mr West's daughter by his first wife, told the court that he had heard a girl screaming in the night when he once stayed at 25 Cromwell Street. Erwin Marschall said: "I thought I heard some rustling around and then I heard a scream of some sort." He added that it sounded as though a girl was saying "no, no, please", and when he asked about it later he was told that Heather West was having nightmares.

Jayne Hamer, a former lodger at 25 Cromwell Street told the jury of eight men and four women that she heard girls screaming and shouting "stop it daddy" in the cellar.

Arthur Dobbs, who paid Mrs West pounds 10 a time for sex, said that she told him that Mr West had been having sex with the children. Later he rang social services and told them this but refused to give his name.

A series of witnesses said that Mr and Mrs West had given various explanations for the disappearance of Heather who vanished, aged 16, in 1987.

Mr Marschall said that Mrs West told him that Heather had become uncontrollable and had run away from home. "She did not seem to be too much bothered," he said.

Ronald Harrison, a friend of the Wests was told that Heather had injured the younger children while babysitting and had run off after being given "a good hiding" by Mrs West. The Wests said that she telephoned them regularly but refused to give them her address.

Margretta Dix, a neighbour, said that Mrs West told her: "I am not bothered if she is dead or alive, she has made her bed and she must lie on it."

Ann Knight, a neighbour,said that when she asked about Heather she was told that she had been having a lesbian relationship and had gone to Wales to live with a woman.

The trial continues today.