Rose West tells of hatred for dead husband

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The Independent Online

Rosemary West said yesterday that she saw her husband Frederick as an evil figure "with horns and complete with a satanic grin" after he confessed to murdering their daughter Heather.

"I hated him, I could not believe that I could ever hate anybody so much," said Mrs West on her second day in the witness box at Winchester Crown Court.

Later, she denied killing Charmaine West, daughter of her husband's first wife Rena. She told the court: "I could not have killed a little girl at that time, or at any time."

Mrs West, 41, denies murdering 10 girls and young women whose remains were found at two addresses where she and her husband had lived in Gloucester. West, who was charged with 12 murders, was found dead in his prison cell on 1 January this year.

She broke down and wept several times yesterday as she was questioned by Richard Ferguson QC, for the defence. She sobbed as he asked if she had suspected that her daughter Heather had been killed and replied: "No. I didn't know he [Fred West] was a murderer."

Mrs West said she hated her husband after he confessed to killing Heather, who she is also accused of murdering, and continued: "I didn't want to know him. I didn't trust myself with him. I would at least have had a go at him. The worst thing was going backwards and forwards to court together and being sat in the dock together. I requested that there be a police officer between us.

"I just didn't see the man I had known all these years, he was just a walking figure of evil.

"It may sound daft but I saw him with horns and complete with a satanic grin because he never looked sorry for what he did or anything. He just used to grin like it was all a joke or something."

Mr Ferguson asked her if her attitude changed after West was found dead. Mrs West replied: "I am still very very angry with him. I think it will take many years for that to go."

"Did you have any part to play in the death of any of these 10 victims?" asked Mr Ferguson. She replied: "I am not a murderer. I could not take somebody's life away from them. I would not want it done to me and I could not do it to anybody else especially my own daughter. I just feel such a fool because he has fooled all of us over the years. I don't know how he managed it."

Mr Ferguson asked if she ever suspected her husband was a murderer. Mrs West replied: "Not for a moment. I could never have lived with a murderer. I would never have known when it was my turn, I would have been too scared. I would have had to have gone to the police."

Mrs West wept when she gave evidence about Heather, who disappeared aged 16, in 1987, and whose remains were found at the Wests' home at 25 Cromwell Street last year.

She admitted that her relationship with her eldest daughter was "not too good at this time" but said that she tried to dissuade Heather from leaving home in 1987.

Mrs West said the girl remained determined to go and that she gave her husband some money to give to Heather and then went out shopping. When she came back, her husband told her that Heather had left with another woman and gone to work at a holiday camp.

She later believed that she had spoken to Heather on the telephone. Mr West had told her that their daughter was on the phone and she heard a "very blurred voice" amid a noisy background which sounded like a pub or club.

Mrs West also denied having had a lesbian relationship with Shirley Robinson, who disappeared, aged 18, in 1978, and whose remains were found at Cromwell Street together with those of an unborn child.

She said her husband was not the father of Shirley's child and had only told people that he was to cover up the fact that the real father was a someone who wanted to avoid scandal.

Mrs West admitted that she had fallen out with Shirley but denied that she was jealous of her. She said that after Shirley disappeared, West told her that the girl had gone to live with her father in Germany.

She denied that she had sexually abused Anne Marie Davis, Mr West's daughter by his first wife. Mrs West said: "It is just not true. I would not hurt Anne Marie like that. I believe that she resented me from the start. She resented me coming in between her and her father. I thought that she would accept me as she got older but she never did. She must hate me."

Under cross examination by Brian Leveson, for the prosecution, Mrs West denied killing Charmaine, daughter of West's first wife by another man.

Charmaine, whose remains were found at the couple's previous home, 25 Midland Road, was last seen in 1971 and the court has been told that Mr West was in prison at the time.

Mr Leveson said: "You killed her." Mrs West replied: "No, sir." Mr Leveson said: "You kept her body for Fred to bury." Mrs West replied: "No, sir."

Mr Leveson continued: "And from that moment on you were tied together for ever." Mrs West said: "Please, sir, where could I have kept a body at Midland Road? Can you explain where I could keep a little girl's body?" Mr Leveson: "Under your flat there was a coal cellar." Mrs West: "I was not aware of it. I thought it was a vent."

Earlier, Mr Leveson questioned Mrs West about a key to the cellar at 25 Cromwell Street where the remains of five victims were found. Mrs West said there was a master key. "Therefore you could have got into the cellar," said Mr Leveson. "No, sir, it was bolted from the inside," said Mrs West.

Mr Leveson pointed out that the cellar could not have been bolted from the inside if nobody was down there.

The trial continues today.