Fred and Rose West's sex tapes (partially found footage of pornographic videos produced by British serial killer couple; 1972-1994)
Frederick and Rosemary West were an English couple, who, between the 1960s and 1980s, murdered at least twelve young women and girls. They were also confirmed to have routinely abused their children physically, emotionally, and sexually, with their daughter Heather being among their murder victims. Following their arrests in early 1994, Fred and Rose were charged with twelve and ten counts of murder respectively. Fred committed suicide in custody on 1st January 1995, while Rose was found guilty and became one of only four women to date to receive whole life sentences. The Wests were infamous for their deviant sexual lives; during their time at 25 Cromwell Street, the pair frequently recorded pornographic videos, which primarily featured Rose engaging in consensual sexual intercourse with clients of both sexes.
Both Fred and Rose experienced troubled childhoods. Fred was the oldest of six surviving children born to farming couple Walter Stephen West and Daisy Hannah Hill. Growing up performing farming duties at Moorcourt Farm, Fred later explained in a police interrogation that his sexual deviancy began at 12 when he and his mother began an incestuous relationship. His father had also allegedly sexually abused Fred's sisters and even instructed him to engage in bestiality with sheep. One incident saw him kill a pig by slitting its throat, supposedly beginning his lust for murder. While younger brother Doug deemed Fred's allegations as pure fantasy, early signs of Fred's declining mental state emerged as a young adult. At age 17, he attempted to sexually assault a girl at the Ledbury Youth Club, only to be pushed away and fall two floors down. This aggravated a head injury he suffered a year prior in a motorcycle accident, which allegedly permanently altered his psyche. At 19, he was accused by his 13-year-old sister Kitty of continually sexually abusing her, eventually resulting in her becoming pregnant. Kitty and her mother declined to testify, despite Fred admitting he had been frequently assaulting girls since his early teens. The incident led to him being convicted of child molestation; he avoided prison time but the incident resulted in most of his family relationships breaking down.
Rosemary's childhood was also harrowing. Born to William Letts and Daisy Fuller as their fifth child, Rose Letts may well have suffered prenatal developmental injuries as a consequence of her mother undergoing electroconvulsive therapy to combat depression. Living mostly with her father following her parents' separation, Rose was subject to continual sexual and physical abuse from him. The cycle of abuse trickled down to her siblings, as by age 13, Rose began molesting her younger brothers. She was also known for violent tendencies, which generally protected herself and her brothers from harm outside the Letts household.
Two years later, in 1969, she encountered a 27-year-old Fred West while walking to a bus stop. She was eventually seduced by this builder and even began to look after his daughter Anne Marie and stepdaughter Charmaine at the caravan they were residing in. The girls were under Fred's custody following the breakdown of his marriage with Catherine "Rena" West, triggered by Fred's ever-growing abuse against her. Rena initially escaped with the help of John McLachlan, whom she committed infidelity with upon learning of her husband's affairs, including with Anne McFall, a 16-year-old who was pregnant with another of his children. Rose's parents greatly disapproved of Fred. But despite various attempts to break them apart, Rose's love for Fred remained. They later moved to Gloucester, with Rose giving birth to her first child, Heather, on 17th October 1970. 1972 saw the pair marry, and move into the three-storey house designated as 25 Cromwell Street. By this point, both had already committed murders, and their sexual deviancy worsened over time.
Fred had previously killed a young boy in November 1965, running over three-year-old Henry Feeney with his ice cream van. Though many observers believed Fred had done this intentionally, it was officially ruled as an accident. His first known murder victim was McFall, who at age 18 was heavily pregnant with Fred's child. In July 1967, McFall was murdered by Fred, possibly to avoid being forced to marry her or financially support her child. She and her unborn baby's remains were found in June 1994 in Finger Post Field, the former having been discovered with missing fingers and toes. This became a signature of Fred's future murders, linking him to the crime.
In December 1970, Fred was incarcerated for petty theft. During this time period, Rose intensified her abuse of Anne Marie, Heather, and especially Charmaine, the latter triggering Rose's anger for remaining surprisingly mentally strong despite enduring repeated beatings. Before Fred was released, Rose could no longer tolerate Charmaine and murdered the eight-year-old. Upon his release, Fred buried Charmaine's body in the yard, and her death was never investigated until the 1990s. Two months following this, Rena returned to confront Fred regarding shared custody, particularly over Charmaine. After previously threatening to kill her following her escape, Fred made do with his promise years later, sexually assaulting Rena with a metal tube before strangling her to death. One motive surrounding this murder was to avoid Rena becoming suspicious of Charmaine's absence. Her body was disposed not far from McFall's.
Upon their move to 25 Cromwell Street, Fred and Rose designed their house to fit their sexual desires. One room was designated for Rose's prostitution activities, while the cellar was converted into a torture chamber where the couple could commit sexual abuse and bury most of their future victims. The pair took advantage of Cromwell Street's multiple storeys, renting empty rooms to primarily female lodgers. Among them was 21-year-old Lynda Gough, a seamstress who was seeking greater independence from her parents. In April 1973, she was bound and gagged, tortured, and then killed via asphyxiation, with her body being buried under the garage. Despite her mother visiting the household, and becoming suspicious of Rose wearing her daughter's clothes and admitting Lynda had visited her home only for her to supposedly find work in Weston-Super-Mare, no action was taken by police.
In November of that same year, 15-year-old Carol Cooper departed from her boyfriend after watching a film at a nearby cinema, enjoying a weekend away from The Pine Children's Home. Upon her return home, she was approached by the Wests and offered her a ride back. However, she was then kidnapped by the couple, and subject to appalling sexual violence. Upon her death, her body was dismembered and disposed of in the cellar. A similar fate befell 21-year-old Lucy Partington, an English Literature student at Exeter University student who was forcibly abducted in Cheltenham while waiting for a bus. She was then bound, raped, tortured and murdered by the killer couple. Like with Cooper, her body was discovered in the cellar. Ultimately, a police search that commenced years beforehand yielded no results.
On 15th April 1974, 21-year-old Therese Siegenthaler, a Swiss student who was studying sociology at Woolwich College and had recently started working in a ballet shoe shop, had attempted to hitchhike to Dublin so she could meet a friend. Despite being warned of the dangers surrounding hitchhiking, Siegenthaler accepted a lift from Fred. Fred then proceeded to knock the young woman out, before raping her in his van. The woman was subject to further sadistic torture while bound at Cromwell Street, which commenced until her passing. Another police search failed to find her before the Wests were caught. Several months later, 15-year-old Shirley Hubbard was abducted. Having run away from home previously, she had spent much of 14th November 1974 with her boyfriend and had also worked at Debenhams. After departing from Worcester to Droitwich, she would be kidnapped on the road home by the Wests, and was victimised by multiple instances of brutal sexual abuse. Most disturbingly, her head was completely wrapped with tape, with only a forcibly inserted tube enabling her to breathe via her nose. She was also the West's youngest murder victim discovered at Cromwell Street. Both Siegenthaler and Hubbard's mutilated bodies were disposed of in the cellar. Like with Siegenthaler, the police were previously unable to locate her body until nearly two decades later.
18-year-old Juanita Mott temporarily lived at 25 Cromwell Street prior to April 1975. Unlike other victims, Mott was not actually murdered during her time as a lodger. Rather, she was abducted while hitchhiking on 11th April 1975, with the pair raping her before Rose killed the young woman via blunt trauma inflicted by a hammer. The motive behind killing Mott after she left Cromwell Street remains unknown. Ultimately, the murder occurred a day before she was due to celebrate her friend's wedding. Another lodger was Shirley Anne Robinson, an openly bisexual 16-year-old waitress who was initially approached by Rose's father. After finding his approaches creepy, Robinson was instead seduced by Fred, who also offered to let her stay as a lodger. For over a year, Robinson stayed at the house and began a deep sexual relationship with Fred. She was even impregnated by him, causing concern and anger among Rose regarding Fred's true affections and whether he would "replace" her with Robinson. Ultimately, Fred betrayed Robinson in May 1978, murdering her via strangulation and ensuring the peace between himself and his wife. Unlike most other victims, there were no real signs Robinson was bound and tortured prior to her death. She and her unborn baby were discovered buried deep in the house's garden.
After running away at age 16, Alison Chambers resided at Jordan's Brook House, fulfilling duties as a solicitor. However, longing for true companionship, Chambers was welcomed to Cromwell Street by the Wests, with her especially bonding with Rose. By August 1979, she had fully moved in, and it appeared she would fulfil the role of the growing family's nanny. Alas, no contact with her emerged following a letter she wrote to her parents in September 1979. Like with most earlier victims, she was eventually subject to the couple's depraved sexual abuse, before being decapitated and dismembered. Her body was buried under the garden pond. Chambers was the couple's last confirmed non-family victim. However, Fred is also linked to the disappearance of 15-year-old Mary Bastholm, who was last reported alive in 1968. Fred reportedly confessed to his son Stephen that he indeed murdered her, but Bastholm's whereabouts to this day remain unknown.
The couple's final victim was their daughter Heather. By 1987, Fred and Rose were raising a large family, their children including Anne Marie, Heather, Mae, Stephen, Tara, Louise, Barry, Rosemary Junior, and Lucyanna. All suffered various abuse at the hands of the couple, with Anne Marie being routinely sexually abused from a young age by both Fred and her uncle John. However, after she ran away in 1979, Fred then focused his attention on Heather and Mae. After enduring this for years, Heather finally confided to her friends about the abuse she and her siblings were suffering. She had also attempted to escape by applying for a chalet cleaner job in Torquay but was unsuccessful. Realising how Heather could very well expose their horrendous crimes, Fred and Rose murdered her in June 1987 before later explaining to their children that their now-deceased daughter had actually left for the Torquay job. In reality, she was buried under the house's garden patio which was dug by her unsuspecting brother, Stephen.
The pair were arrested twice before they were finally caught. Caroline Owens, a 17-year-old who started living with the couple in October 1972, had fulfilled the role of a nanny for two months. However, Owens, disturbed by the frequent attempts to seduce her into sex, left Cromwell Street. On 6th December that year, the pair encountered her hitchhiking and offered a lift back and a seemingly sincere apology. Owens accepted the offer but was soon subject to the same torture past and future victims faced. She managed to escape after a promise to remain as a nanny was accepted by the couple, allowing her to return home and confide to her mother about the abuse she suffered. While Fred and Rose were charged, Owens refused to testify, resulting in the Wests merely being convicted for lesser crimes and being fined just £50 each.
By May 1992, Fred had begun sexually abusing Louise. Like with Heather before her, she confided in a friend, who in turn informed her mother. The pair were promptly arrested, with the children placed in foster care and the house being subject to a search warrant. Ultimately, the couple again escaped justice, when neither Louise nor Anna Marie agreed to testify. However, police had become suspicious regarding Heather's disappearance, especially concerning Anna Marie's claims that her parents continually joked about burying Heather under the garden patio. Anna Marie also told police about the absences of her mother Rena and half-sister Charmaine, whose disappearances were never properly investigated. On 24th February 1994, another search of the house commenced; a few hours later, Fred returned from work and was promptly arrested.
He then confessed the following day to murdering Heather, later helping police find her remains in the garden. During the search, police uncovered three thigh bones belonging to different victims. Upon the discovery of three bodies, Fred opted to confess to the remaining murders, assisting in the recovery of the bodies dwelling within the house's cellar and those outside of it. Fred attempted to direct blame completely away from Rose, confessing that he alone was responsible for the murders. Police were not convinced, eventually also arresting and charging Rose with nine counts of murder, which was later extended to ten when she became directly linked to Charmaine's death. On 1st January 1995, Fred committed suicide via hanging in his prison cell, after authorities failed to confiscate a suicide kit he smuggled in. His brother John committed suicide on 28th November 1996, just as a trial over rape allegations was due to end.
As for Rose, she continually insisted on her complete innocence but was ultimately found guilty of the ten murders. She is serving a whole life order, becoming one of only four women to be handed that sentence. The others are Myra Hindley, Joanna Dennehy, and Lucy Letby. Before his suicide, Fred claimed he had killed at least 30 people. Considering his troubles with mathematics, the true murder toll of him and Rose may never fully be determined.
The Sex Tapes
During the initial 1992 investigation, police seized 99 homemade pornographic tapes. These, alongside various sex toys and similar articles, helped illustrate the extensive sexual deviancy the Wests were obsessed with. While Fred certainly engaged in disturbing sexual acts, his wife was considered a nymphomaniac. A bisexual, her sex drive seemingly had no bounds. According to former lover Kathryn Halliday, Rose lamented that nobody of either sex could truly satisfy her. With Fred's blessing, Rose had sexual intercourse with numerous men and women. Apparently, some pubs close to Cromwell Street were stacked with former Rose conquests.
Seeing prostitution as a viable means of attracting welcome income and satisfying Rose's desires, the couple converted the second floor of 25 Cromwell Street into a makeshift brothel. Aside from hosting sex parties, the couple also placed advertisements in local magazines offering Rose's sexual services. One advertisement indicated the pair were fascinated with West Indian men between the ages of 50 to 60. This was backed up by how a lounge bar was decorated to appeal to these clients. Other advertisements enabled the pair to conduct wife-swapping, often receiving sexual photos of like-minded couples in the process. Additionally, a few women were recruited as fellow prostitutes; the pair tried to convince Halliday to join in, eventually filming a sequence where Rose and later Fred had sex with her. Rose generally engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse, which resulted in her becoming pregnant with other men's children. Four of them were subsequently of mixed-race ethnicity; Tara and Rosemary Junior are believed to have shared the same father. Some regular clients were alleged to have been local police officers.
Fred not only supported Rose's prostitution, but he was also sexually attracted to it. Fred designed the bedroom so that it contained an intercom system, where he could listen in to Rose's activities while he was downstairs. He additionally added spy holes, allowing him to view Rose having sex with clients, presumably without the latter's knowledge. So that the couple could rewatch the action, Fred purchased an expensive video camera. In most cases, the camera was placed on a tripod and recorded footage of Rose pleasuring clients, whether it be in the bedroom or in the back of Fred's van. Whereas the camera was sometimes set up by Rose in open view, other instances had Fred secretly film while situated within a wardrobe. Some known recordings showed the couple engaging in water sports with one another, while others had Rose engaged in masturbation. Fred regularly rewatched the footage via seven stolen video players.
The couple regularly overshared to others about their sex lives, with Fred proudly showcasing his sex tapes to curious acquaintances. When Mae presented her new boyfriend, Rob, Fred offered to share both the homemade tapes and commercial pornographic films he acquired with him. Additionally, family friend Shaun Boyle claimed Rose wanted him to star in a filmed threesome, and even promised Fred would pay for his services. Boyle ultimately declined this advance. More pornography was made even after the police seized the 99 recordings during the 1992 investigation. By the time the couple was arrested in 1994, they had filmed four more sex tapes, one featuring Rose masturbating.
Elephants in the Room
When discussing Fred and Rose's sex tapes, a few elephants in the room must be noted. In 1982, Fred entered a video rental store, bragging about his recordings and offering them as under-the-counter goods. According to one female employee, he claimed that unlike the limited erotica already for sale, his films, both of the straight and lesbian variety, were legitimate. However, his bragging contained sinister references to his crimes. According to the witness, Fred claimed some tapes featured his daughters. Additionally, while discussing the topic of snuff films, Fred insisted he could actually obtain legitimate recordings of women being tortured and murdered. Naturally, not only did the store refuse any of Fred's offers, but they also contacted the police. Alas, the police did little to properly investigate Fred's claims.
During her time visiting the Wests, Halliday recalled watching some of the couple's tapes. She became disturbed by the videos' graphic nature, many featuring women involved in extremely uncomfortable sexual situations. Most were filmed in the couple's bedroom. The recordings' impact was negligible for the couple; Fred was surprised when Halliday requested "normal" recordings, while Rose was notably unsatisfied with them. The recollections of the video store employee and Halliday fuelled speculation that the couple filmed themselves torturing and murdering their victims. Rumours persist snuff recordings were among the 99 tapes acquired by the police. Alas, these rumours will remain as such, because the police failed to examine most of the recordings, instead destroying the collection upon the Wests being acquitted of their 1992 charges. It was established a few examined tapes simply featured Rose having consensual sex with men and women. However, confirmation was later achieved that some recovered photographs featured the couple's victims, with a few allegedly taken post-murder.
Other disturbing revelations have emerged. In the 17th March 2000 issue of The Daily Mirror, it was reported that a previously convicted paedophile's house was the subject of a search warrant. There, the police uncovered a mixtape containing, among other illegal footage, Rose sexually abusing children as young as five. It raised concern the pair's murder toll was much higher than the confirmed total, with children possibly among the additional victims. Rose also filmed one instance of Fred sexually abusing Louise. Finally, it is possible that some tapes showed Rose engaging in sexual intercourse with her own father. Indeed, while they initially could not stand each other, William over time began to appreciate Fred, with the pair later setting up a café called The Green Lantern. William may well have started the sequence of events that led to Robinson's murder, as a job offer he made subsequently led to Robinson meeting Fred. Another rumour concerned the idea Bastholm's body was buried in the basement of a nearby café, the Pop-In Café (now the Clean Plate), though no evidence was found during a 2021 excavation. It is known William was a regular "client" of Rose, with Fred deeming the exchanges as acceptable. Allegations emerged that at least one of Rose's children was fathered by William.
Unsurprisingly, the Lost Media Wiki does not consider any of the aforementioned "elephants in the room" as lost media, as per its rules, guidelines and tips page that condemns such material for its illegal and abhorrent nature. However, this subject matter has been discussed in this article in the interest of documenting the extent of Fred and Rose's recordings, with this stance shared by books, newspapers, television and YouTube documentaries, and other websites delving deep into the West's crimes. Nevertheless, the motivation surrounding this article's existence stemmed entirely from the tapes the pair produced featuring consensual sexual acts.
Of the legal tapes, some likely dwelled within the 99 recordings destroyed by the police in 1992. Considering how eager Fred was to share them, it is possible copies of said films linger within other people's collections. Additional recordings were recovered in the 1994 search; some footage was subsequently turned over to the West family estate, managed by solicitor Peter Harris. In a controversial move, Harris brokered a deal where some West-related media, including certain sex tapes, were sold for the purpose of producing an official book, documentary and film of the crimes. Aside from the ethical concerns regarding potentially profiting off the crimes and their abhorrent nature, Gloucestershire police also objected to the deal on crown copyright grounds.
In August 2001, Channel 5 announced they were producing a documentary about the Wests, particularly focusing on the police and social services' missed early opportunities to stop Fred's actions. As part of the documentary's production, Channel 5 acquired extensive home video footage produced by the killer couple. One scene planned for broadcast showed a naked Rose on an exercise bike. Ultimately, Channel 5 censored the clip so that only her head and shoulders were visible. Additional censored footage was included in the documentary, but other films were considered too graphic for television. The documentary was released in three parts in October 2001, titled "Fred and Rose West - The Murders". Also included in the documentary was audio from Fred's police interrogations that had never previously been publicly released. Upon the documentary's release, an official complaint was lodged to the Independent Television Commission (ITC). However, in December 2001, the ITC dismissed all nine complaints, deeming that the programme exercised sufficient editorial restraint. It also decided that the inclusion of Fred's interrogation audio reflected the decision many other acceptable documentaries made in providing voices of serial killers. It summarised that "Channel 5 was breaking no new ground". Airing after 11 p.m., part 1 drew 1.5 million viewers.
More footage was included in a Channel 5 documentary titled "Fred and Rose West: A British Horror Story", released in June 2021. Additionally, some clips were recycled from the 2001 documentary, like a scene where Rose bragged she had the advantage over a male client because "I'm already undressed". The 2001 documentary can be viewed on YouTube, whereas the 2021 film is present on Channel 5's streaming service My5. Considering the graphic nature of most West sex tapes, it is extremely unlikely the uncut recordings will ever be publicly released.
- The Cromwell Street Enquiry.
- Channel 5 documentary "Fred and Rose West: A British Horror Story", which contained some sex tape footage.
- Murderpedia biography on Fred West. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Crime and Investigation biography on Fred West. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- The Hereford Times summarising Fred's claims regarding abuse during his childhood, and reporting on his brother Doug denying said allegations. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Killer Komix 2 summarising the lives and crimes of the Wests, as well as the films they recorded. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Murder in Mind: Fred and Rosemary West detailing the crimes of the Wests, including incidents unrelated to the murders. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Murderpedia biography on Rose West. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- DevonLive summarising Rose's troubled early life. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- All That's Interesting summarising the crimes of Rose West. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- The Darkside of Humanity providing a detailed account of the couple's relationship, films, and murders. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Crime and Investigation detailing how the couple originally met. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Herald Scotland summarising Fred's marriage with Rena and how she initially escaped. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- BBC News summarising all known murder victims Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Understanding Fred & Rose West: Noose, Lamella & the Gilded Cage describing 25 Cromwell Street. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- 14th September 1998 issue of Daily Record summarising the death of Henry Feeney and how most observers believed Fred deliberately killed him. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Murderpedia summarising the murder victims. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- City Journal documenting the murders and the 99 pornographic videos that were destroyed by the police without having been properly reviewed. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Daily Mail summarising Lynda Gough's disappearance and her mother speaking to Rose. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Understanding Fred & Rose West: Noose, Lamella & the Gilded Cage providing a detailed summary of victims from Carol Cooper to Heather West. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Daily Mirror summarising Fred and Rose's children. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- The Guardian documenting the children's experiences with their parents, particularly Anna Marie. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Daily Mirror documenting Heather's final days. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Independent reporting on Owen's testifying during the West's trial. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Daily Mail documenting Owens' story and how she escaped. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Crime and Investigation documenting the investigation. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Daily Mail documenting Fred's suicide and how he was able to carry it out. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- The Irish Times reporting on Fred's brother John committing suicide prior to the end of a rape trial. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- WalesOnline summarising the four women who received whole life sentences. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Fred & Rose summarising 25 Cromwell Street being designed for Rose's sexual activities, the type of films recorded, and Halliday's recollection of the Wests. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Rose West: The Making of a Monster providing a quote regarding Rose's seemingly insatiable sex drive. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Chilling True Crime Stories - Volume 2 summarising the diversity of Rose's clients and Fred's attempts to sell his films. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Killing for Culture providing one of the West's advertisements, and detailing allegations Fred produced snuff films. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Fred & Rose summarising the couple oversharing their sex lives and offering films to acquaintances. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Fred & Rose summarising the intercom system Fred created to listen in to his wife's activities. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Daily Star reporting on the 2021 Channel 5 documentary, including Boyle's claims, and allegations surrounding Rose's father. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Fred & Rose noting four pornographic films were confirmed to have been recorded in 1994. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- 17th March 2000 issue of The Daily Mirror reporting on the police discovering illegal videos featuring Rose (article found The Free Library). Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- Gazette summarising The Green Lantern café established by Fred and William Letts. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- The Guardian reporting on an excavation of the Clean Plate yielding no signs of Bastholm. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- The Guardian reporting on the controversies surrounding home video footage and Fred interrogation audio being included in a 2001 Channel 5 documentary. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- BBC News reporting on an official complaint being lodged to the Independent Television Commission following the release of the 2001 Channel 5 documentary. Retrieved 28th Aug '23
- The Guardian reporting on the ITC's ruling surrounding Channel 5's 2001 documentary. Retrieved 28th Aug '23