Rena West
9th August 1971

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Rena West

Rena and Fred, pictured together at their wedding.

Fred's first wife Catherine 'Rena' West - née Costello - was born in the grimy Glasgow of the 1950s and lived a life typical of the time and place. Hard living and partying went hand-in-hand but those who recall her speak of an 'exceptionally nice' teenager.

However, her life developed into a complex one. Working as a bus conductor, she fell pregnant to a Pakistani bus driver - and it possible that it was this that caused her to move away from the area... and into the ultimately fatal hands of Fred West.

The pair quickly married and Rena gave birth to a girl called Charmaine - who would later become Rose West's first known murder victim. Charmaine's existence was covered up to Rena's family, possibly because of her mixed-race origins. She and Fred wrote to her parents to tell them that she had died at birth and that the couple had adopted a child instead. Before long, Rena fell pregnant again - this time to Fred - and the couple's first legitimate child Ann-Marie was born in July 1964.

By this time, Fred was already developing his taste for unusual sexual practices and his constant sexual demands made their marriage a rocky one. When Fred ran over a 4 year old boy while working as an ice cream van driver, they moved to Gloucester but Fred's sexual inclinations and propensity for violence soon drove Rena back to her native Glasgow.

When she returned in 1966, Fred's behaviour had not shown any improvement. He was by now in a relationship with Rena's friend Ann McFall, who had travelled south with the couple. Furthermore, Ann was pregnant with Fred's baby and was pestering Fred to marry her - despite his being already married to Rena. A few months later, Rena fled back to Glasgow once more, leaving her children with Fred.

In 1971, Rena returned to Gloucester to take her daughters back home with her - unaware that Fred had already disposed of the poor Charmaine. The exact circumstances of what happened next are now unknowable, but it seems that Fred killed Rena to keep her quiet and to stop probing into what he saw as his private affairs. Her body was buried in the same field as her daughter.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 14th October 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2019
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