25 Cromwell Street

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25 Cromwell Street

A policeman stands guard outside 25 Cromwell Street. Before much longer, sensationalist media interest meant that the site needed much greater protection.

In 1972, Fred and Rosemary West moved to this property in Gloucester. It was here that their murderous appetites were given full rein, as a succession of lodgers and prostitutes came, went and met grisly demises according to whims of the Wests.

The top floor included a room from which Rose carried out her part time occupation as prostitute. Her door was marked by a hand-made metal sign reading simply: "cunt." Holes drilled in the walls meant that Fred could watch goings-on as she had sex with a unending stream of men attracted by her advertisements in the local press.

The pair were fascinated by West Indian men in particular and following the couple's arrest, hours of film footage was found of Rose having sex with black men. 

The most notorious spot in the house was, of course, the cellar. Heavily soundproofed, it was here that Fred and Rose lived out the darkest parts of their perverted desires. Their victims were kept here for up to a week, often bound - sometimes with their heads taped up, with just plastic tubes in their nostrils to allow them to breathe.

Thus restricted, they were suspended from the ceiling joists for the sadistic enjoyment of their captors. When they finally died or were killed, Fred would dutifully dismember their corpses and dig a fresh hole through the concrete floor to keep them. At this stage, he would remove 'mementoes' of his victims - normally finger or toe joints, and sometimes knee caps.

At Rose's trial, much was made of the size of the house - and the prosecution argued that its narrow confines would make it impossible for Rose to be unaware of the murders, as her defence claimed. While the jury were presented with a scale model of the house, they demanded to be taken to visit the house to see its size for themselves. It is thought that experience of the house's relatively small dimensions played a significant role in their rejection of Rose's claims that she simply didn't know about the murders.

Following the conclusion of the trial in 1996, the house was demolished and replaced with a simple pathway to deter sightseers.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 26th August 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2019
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