Wests reunited at short court hearing

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FREDERICK and Rosemary West met yesterday for the first time in months - in the dock of court two of Gloucester magistrates court.

When he saw his wife, Mr West reached out, touched her gently on the back and mouthed a greeting. The intimate moment came as the couple appeared on multiple murder charges.

Mrs West appeared in the packed courtroom first. Wearing spectacles and neatly dressed in a black cardigan she was flanked by two uniformed policewomen.

She sat looking tired and drawn with her head bowed and facing away from the packed public gallery.

Thirty seconds later Mr West walked up the steps from the cells. His wife showed no reaction to his greeting.

During the eight-minute hearing, Mrs West, 40, spoke only to give her full name, date of birth and address as 'formerly' 25, Cromwell Street, Gloucester. The clerk told her she faced nine murder charges, two rape charges and one of assault.

Mr West, 52, stood a few feet away, hands in pockets, looking with interest towards the public gallery. He also spoke only to give his personal details. The clerk told him: 'You are appearing on 11 charges of murder.'

Withiel Cole, for the prosecution, asked for the case to be adjourned until 28 July. He also sought an adjournment of three days for Mr West to be further questioned by police.

Mr West's solicitor, Howard Ogden, told the court he now had several thousand pages of papers relating to the alleged offences at 25 Cromwell Street. These all had to be considered and further papers were expected to be submitted by the prosecution.

The chairman of the bench, Mr Lloyd Parry, agreed to remand Rosemary West in custody for 28 days and Frederick West was remanded in police custody until 4 July.

'I would remind the press that the reporting restrictions are still in force - particularly relating to people under 18,' Mr Parry said.

As the hearing ended, Mr West again reached over to touch his wife but a police woman brushed aside his arm.