West's suicide warning missed

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The Independent Online
Letters written by Fred West indicating that he intended not to face trial were missed by officers charged with checking his cell.

An inquest in Birmingham, heard that one of the unsentnotes dated almost three weeks before he killed himself last year told his wife Rosemary: "You will become a widow." Another letter addressed to her and his family said: "All I have is my life - I will give it to you when you come to me I will be waiting for you."

The mass-murderer's son, Stephen, and his daughter, Anne Marie, wept as the letters were read.

Throughout the inquest, where the jury returned an 8-1 majority verdict that West had taken his own life, witnesses drawn from the ranks of prison officers, visitors and other officials at Winson Green Prison where West was held on remand all said that he had given no indication that he was planning suicide.

Detective Superintendent John Bennett contradicted a claim by Stephen West that he had told the officer his father intended to kill himself. No mention was made of West's state of mind during a meeting with Stephen, he said.