THE BODIES: Litany of sadness: the lives of West's twelve female victims

THE FREDERICK WEST AFFAIR: Police hunt uncovered house's gruesome secre ts and revealed evil beneath the surface of an apparently ordinary family man

Will Bennett
Monday 02 January 1995 00:02 GMT

The murders with which Frederick West was charged fall into three groups.

First, the early killings: the three victims were Catherine, his first wife, Charmaine their daughter, and Anne McFall, their nanny. Anne was pregnant, almost certainly by West, when she was killed in 1967.

Second, eight killings of young women during the 1970s, all of whom were found buried at Cromwell Street. These victims fall into two categories. One victim, Shirley Robinson, lived at Cromwell Street and was pregnant by West, and one, Alison Chambers, probably lived there. Five - Juanita Mott, Carol Cooper, Shirley Hubbard Therese Siegenthaler and Lucy Partington - were on journeys of some kind, and one , Lynda Gough, is uncertain. They were either Cromwell Street residents or on the move. Third, the killing of his daughter Heather West, 16. The victims were - Anne McFall: last seen in the Gloucester area in the summer of 1967 when she was heavily pregnant. It is believed that West was the father.

Her disappearance was never reported to the police. She was born in Glasgow in 1949 and worked in a knitwear factory after leaving school. In 1966, she moved to the Gloucester area and worked for Frederick and Catherine West as a nanny. Her body togetherwith the bones of an unborn baby were found in Fingerpost Field, Much Marcle.

Catherine West Born Catherine Costello, she married West at Ledbury Register Office in November 1962. She was a waitress in a cafe in Ledbury at the time.

She and West had two daughters, May and Charmaine, the latter becoming another of his victims. Catherine was last seen in March 1970 when she was aged 25. Her disappearance was not reported to police. Relatives later heard that she had gone to live in Saudi Arabia. Her remains were dug up in Letterbox Field, Kempley on 11 March.

Charmaine West The daughter of Frederick and Catherine. Born in Coatbridge, Scotland, in March 1963, she was last seen in early 1972. West's explanation for her disappearance was that she had gone to live with her mother in Scotland. Her body was found at 25 Midland Road, Gloucester, where West lived in the early 1970s.

Heather West: Born in Gloucester in October 1970 when Rose was 16. A former pupil of Hucclecote School, Gloucester, who was last seen on 19 June1987. Friends thought that she had moved out of the family home. One relative was told that she had run off with a lesbian, anotherthat she had gone to work in a holiday camp. It was the police search for her which sparked off the murder inquiry and her remains were the first to be excavated. They were found in the back garden of Cromwell Street on 26 February last year. She was identified from dental records.

Shirley Robinson Born in October 1959 in Germany of a British father and a German mother, she moved into Cromwell Street to live with the Wests.

She was eight months pregnant by Fred when she disappeared in April 1978. She had written to her father Baden Robinson, 61, a former RAF man, who runs an English pub in Cologne, Germany, saying: "I am expecting a child from Freddy. We are in love." A foetus was found alongside her remains, which were found on 28 February in the back garden at Cromwell Street.

Alison Chambers Born in September 1962 in Hanover, Germany, where her father was serving in the British Army. She was a troubled teenager.

She is believed to have been living in a children's home in Gloucester and working at a YTS training scheme at a solicitor's office when she vanished in September 1979. Her disappearance was never reported to the police although it was to the Missing Persons Bureau. Her remains were the second set found in the garden at Cromwell Street and were uncovered on 28 February.

Lynda Gough Born in May 1953, she vanished in April 1973 from Gloucesterwhere she had a rented flat and worked as a seamstress. Hers was the eighth set of remains found, excavated from six feet below the ground-floor bathroom at Cromwell St on 7 March..

Juanita Mott Born March 1957, she was the daughter of an American serviceman and lived at Newent, near Gloucester. She was unemployed when she disappeared on 11 April 1975 . Her disappearance was never reported to police but her family did contact the media.

Five years later her sister Belinda used to visit 25 Cromwell St because she knew one of the lodgers there and met West. What are believed to be her remains were found on 6 March.Identification was difficult as there were no dental records.

Carol Ann Cooper Born April 1958 in Luton, she disappeared on 10 November 1973. She had been living at The Pines children's home in Worcester, and was spending the weekend with her grandmother in the Warndon area of the city.

She vanished after getting off a bus while returning to her grandmother's house. Police were told that she had disappeared. Her family thought it was possible she had run away although they were puzzled by the fact that she took no luggage. She was the ninth and last victim found at Cromwell Street on 10 March.

Shirley Hubbard Born June 1959, she vanished aged 15 on 14 November 1974. She was on work experience at Debenhams in Worcester at the time, and was last seen leaving the store to return home. Hers were the fifth set of remains found at Cromwell Street on5 March. Identification was difficult because there were no dental records.

Therese Siegenthaler Born November 1952 in Switzerland, she was studying sociology at Woolwich College of Further Education in south-east London.

On 15 April 1974, she set out for Ireland for a touring holiday. She planned to hitch-hike to Holyhead in North Wales and take the ferry. As she prepared to leave a friend, Edward Simmons, warned her against hitch-hiking. She laughed and said: "I can look after myself. I'm a judo expert." She never arrived.

Her brother flew several times to England and Ireland to try to find her. Her remains were the fourth set to be found at Cromwell Street and the first to be found under concrete in the basement.

She was identified from dental records and by superimposing her picture on the skull. Her father Fritz died in 1990. She was the apple of his eye and her stepmother Rosa said: "He never got over her disappearance and it made him ill. Right up to his death he kept saying `if only I knew where to find her grave'."

Lucy Partington Born March 1952, she was from Gloucestershire and was an English student at Exeter University. She became a Roman Catholic shortly before her death. She was described as kind and thoughtful. She disappeared aged 21 on 27 December 1973. She had been staying with friends in Cheltenham and was waiting for a bus stop when she vanished. Her remains were found beneath the Cromwell Street basement.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in