What Happened To Fred And Rosemary West's Children?

News from the U.K. shocked the world in 1993 when the remains of a teenage girl were found buried in the back yard of her parents, Fred and Rosemary West. Missing since 1987, her parents had long told anyone who inquired about their daughter Heather that she had run away from home and eloped when she was 16 years old (via i News). Years later, when the West's children were placed into foster care for neglect and suspected abuse in the summer of 1992, CNN reports that the children would make off-hand comments about the family joke they all shared about the missing Heather's whereabouts. The joke was that their sister was buried in the family garden.

Over the next year, social workers documented the children's comments before concluding that their tales might merit a police investigation. In the summer of 1993, police began a search for Heather, who was never officially reported missing by either of her parents. When that search turned up empty, the police were able to obtain and execute a search warrant on the West residence at 25 Cromwell Street.

While Fred West first told police that he had seen Heather just days ago, he soon admitted to her murder. By the time police had uncovered a human femur from the garden, he was ready to confess to more crimes. All told, West admitted to nine additional killings. After committing suicide in jail while awaiting trial, he left his wife to stand for the charges alone. She was sentenced to life in prison.

The killer couple had multiple children between them, who have long since grown into adults.

The youngest West child, Barry, could never overcome the horrors he faced as a child

Barry West was the youngest child of the couple. Born in 1980, the youngest sibling of Heather West had a vivid recollection of the attack that took her life. In a 2019 interview, the 39-year-old son of Britain's most notorious killer couple told Sir Trevor McDonald that it was his mother that brutalized Heather that fateful day (The Daily Star). 

Barry, who was 7 at the time of Heather's murder, revealed that he saw Rose stomp on his elder sister's head five times. When she was finished, Heather remained motionless. The years of mental and physical abuse that West experienced at the hands of his parents took their toll on him throughout the entirety of his adult life. He reportedly experienced mental health issues and drug addiction. He died in 2020 of a suspected drug overdose, his body being recovered from a hostel in Maidstone, Kent (via Metro). Per the outlet, a family member remarked that Barry "never found peace" and could never "escape the ghosts of Cromwell Street."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Rose West murdered one of her stepdaughters

Fred West had two children when he met Rose in 1970. He had custody of the pair of girls, who Rose looked after in the early 1970s when Fred was imprisoned on theft charges for several years. One of the daughters, 8-year-old Charmaine West, is believed to have been murdered and dismembered by Rose West in 1970 while Fred was still jailed (per Biography). When Charmaine's mother appeared at the West's home looking for her, she was strangled to death, dismembered, and buried.

The Sun reports that the surviving sister, Anne Marie, was one of her father and stepmother's earliest torture victims, being held captive by the couple and eventually forced into sex work at the age of 13. The first one to move out of the West's house of horrors, she appears to have difficulties due to her childhood abuse. Anne Marie's daughter, Michelle, revealed to The Mirror in 2009 that, though gainfully employed, Anne Marie sometimes finds herself drinking at night to cope. Michelle also said that Anne Marie still speaks to her imprisoned stepmother weekly, claiming that she has been unable to break the spell the killer has over her. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

One of the West's daughters wrote a book about her parents

Rosemary West had a total of eight children, five of them with her murderous husband (via The Sun). The couple shared two daughters in addition to Heather, Mae June, and Louise. i News reports that Mae has been publicly vocal about her parents' crimes and even wrote a book about them. Her book, "Love as Always, Mum," was based on the letters Rose sent her from prison. In an interview with "Good Morning Britain," she expressed concern that her father did not stop killing after the death of her sister Heather in 1987, even though no bodies from after that year were found on the West property. She surmises that he kept killing but was disposing of the bodies elsewhere, as he and Rose appeared to have run out of room in their backyard for bodies.

Not much is known about Louise West today. As a child, she confided in a friend about the crimes she witnessed her parents committing, aiding police in building their case against them. As for sons, the Wests only had two together — their youngest, Barry, and Stephen, who was born in 1973. The eldest son had a fairly serious scrape with the law as an adult and spent nine months behind bars for a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. Since his release, he has been divorced twice. He was last reported to be in a relationship with a new partner, whom he shares a child with (via The Sun). 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Rose West had three daughters fathered by different clients

Rose West bore a total of eight children. Five of them were with Fred, the remaining three with men who impregnated her while she worked as a sex worker (via The Mirror). The three daughters Rose had with various clients were named Tara, Rosemary Junior, and Lucyanna. Not much is known of their lives today. The three, along with their half-siblings Barry and Louise, were taken into custody by child protective services in 1992 following allegations of abuse in the home.

The eldest of this trio, Tara, was born in 1977. She would later claim that she survived the sexual abuse from Fred West due to his lack of interest in any of his non-biological daughters. She went on to state that she escaped Rose's abuse because her mother felt guilty about who her biological father was. According to The Mirror, she said, "I realize now that dad was only interested in his natural daughters. He thought they were his property. Because I wasn't his daughter, he left me alone."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Were there more victims?

Fred and Rosemary West were eventually linked to the murders of 12 women and young girls (via Metro). Though it has been suspected that there were several other victims that were never tied to the couple, there has never been any conclusive proof of these claims. If there are more victims out there, Rose isn't talking about them from her prison cell, and Fred took all of his remaining secrets to his grave when he hung himself in his jail cell on New Year's Day, 1995 (per Gloucestershire Live). 

Though their crimes against the women they encountered were horrific and brutal, it should be remembered that two of the dozen victims were their flesh and blood. Of the remaining children that survived their clutches, most were subjected to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that no one should ever experience.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).