Mother accused West of killing pregnant girl

Will Bennett
Saturday 24 February 1996 01:02


The serial killer Frederick West was accused by his mother of the one murder he always denied when questioned by police, an inquest heard yesterday.

Daisy West was discussing the disappearance of Anne McFall with a friend when she said: "Fred has killed the girl and buried her in Kempley Wood."

The conversation between West's mother, who died in 1968, and the unnamed person, was revealed by the officer who led the West murder inquiry, Detective Superintendent John Bennett, at the inquest into the deaths of Miss McFall and West's first wife, Catherine.

David Gibbons, the Gloucester coroner, recorded verdicts of unlawful killing on Miss McFall who disappeared in 1967 aged 18 and Mrs West who vanished about 1970, aged 25.

The verdicts came as Gloucestershire police announced that three of the nine women they were trying to trace because they were known to have visited 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, the Wests' home, had been found alive and well.

Yesterday's inquest was into the deaths of the two victims West alone was charged with murdering. The builder was 53 when found hanged in a prison cell on 1 January last year.

The conviction of his second wife Rosemary, 42, of the 10 murders with which they were jointly charged meant that it was not necessary for the coroner to reach verdicts on those deaths. She is appealing against her convictions.

Det Supt Bennett told the inquest that on 4 March 1994 Frederick West's solicitor passed him a note in which West confessed to nine killings including that of his first wife, who was known as Rena. He had already admitted killing two other women.

Detective Sergeant Barbara Harrison said that in subsequent interviews West admitted several times to killing his first wife although he changed his story.

On the first occasion he told detectives that he had got Mrs West "paralytic" in a pub and strangled her before burying her in Letterbox Field, Kempley, near his boyhood home in Much Marcle, Herefordshire.

Det Sgt Harrison said: "While Rena was drunk he took her to Kempley, made love to her and then strangled her with his belt. He then dug a hole, cut her up with a long sabre knife and buried her."

But later West told police that he had strangled her after a row.

The inquest was told that although the cause of Mrs West's death could not be determined, her body had been dismembered like those of her husband's other victims. Det Supt Bennett said that he was satisfied that West had killed her.

Miss McFall's remains were found in Fingerpost Field next to the field where Mrs West was discovered. She had also been dismembered and the bones of an unborn child were with her.

Det Supt Bennett said that she was last seen about May 1967 when she was heavily pregnant but that West always denied killing her. He then revealed the conversations involving West's mother.

Det Sgt Harrison said that West told detectives that he had made Miss McFall pregnant and that she was buried in Fingerpost Field.

He showed them where her remains were and said: "I have got a horrible feeling that she was stabbed through the heart." He hinted that his first wife might have been responsible.

Gloucestershire police said they had traced three women known to have visited Cromwell Street. They are still looking for one more, Donna Lynn Moore, but have abandoned the search for five others because their descriptions are so vague.

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