Nun comforts imprisoned widow

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Frederick West's widow Rosemary was "coping" with the death of her husband by seeking comfort from a nun who visited her in prison, her solicitor said last night.

Leo Goatley visited her in Pucklechurch Prison, near Bristol, where she is on remand accused of nine murders, shortly after she was told that West had been found hanged. He said he found she was "coping" with the situation, and had sought comfort from the nun.

Mr Goatley added: "I told her to dwell on the positive things in her life and not the negative ones. I also told her that if the Crown case was flimsy beforehand, it is flimsier now.

"I have told her that, if there is anyone who has got extra work to do, it is the Crown who should take stock of their case and review what they want to do from now on."

Mr Goatley said: "Obviously there must be a lot of confused and mixed emotion in situations like this. In February 1994 she felt a great loss when she heard of Heather's death. She has had to cope with all of that. But she also has had the joy of three new grandchildren while on remand. That has been helping her to cope in her difficulty."

The couple were due to face a week-long pre-trial committal hearing beginning on 6 February at Dursley magistrates' court, in Gloucestershire.They last appeared in court together on 13 December, when the committal date was fixed.

West and his wife never exchanged words and appeared to avoid eye contact during their regular monthly remand appearance in court.