Rosemary West is remanded in custody

Solicitor says chances of fair trial have been prejudiced by media publ icity. Will Bennett reports
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The Independent Online
Rosemary West was yesterday remanded in custody on nine murder charges until a committal hearing next month, which will decide whether she has a case to answer.

It was her first appearance alone in the dock since her husband Frederick, who had confessed to killing 12 young women and girls, committed suicide in Winson Green prison, Birmingham, on New Year's Day.

A Crown Prosecution Service review, which will decide whether to continue the case against her in the light of her husband's death, has not yet been completed. The decision will be announced before the committal hearing.

Yesterday, magistrates at Gloucester remanded Mrs West, 41, in custody until the hearing which will begin before magistrates at Dursley, near Gloucester, on 6 February.

At the hearing her lawyers will argue that she has no case to answer and that her chances of a fair trial have been prejudiced by media publicity.

Her solicitor, Leo Goatley, said after the hearing yesterday: "In my view her prospects of getting a fair trial have already been seriously prejudiced and I shall be making an application along those lines in due course.

"I will be making an application for the case to be dropped ... My client is resilient. She has the support of her family and she has confidence in her defence team."

Mrs West, who is charged with the murder of nine women found buried at the couple's home in Cromwell Street, Gloucester, yesterday appeared pale but showed no emotion as she stood in the dock.

There was no application for bail. The court formally withdrew proceedings against Frederick West in the wake of his death.

Among those in court yesterday was Anne Marie Davis, Frederick West's daughter by his first marriage, who was dressed in black. She will make the final decision on where his funeral will be held and whether he will be buried or cremated.