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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
How many more did Fred West kill?
Fred and Rose
Fred and Rose pictured on holiday in the Malvern Hills
On New Year's Day 1995 Fred West took advantage of a break in his suicide watch to tie some material to a prison door and hang himself at Winson Green prison in Birmingham. He was awaiting trial for 12 murders. On Tuesday Channel 5 begins a three-part documentary, based on his police interviews, which claims he may have killed another 20 women.

The makers of a documentary about serial killer Fred West have called for a public inquiry into police and social services failings which allowed him to continue killing women for 25 years.

Next Tuesday Channel 5 will screen the first of three one-hour documentaries about the Gloucester killer, and his wife Rose, based partly on hundreds of hours of police interviews.

The documentary has caused outrage among some MPs and has been criticised by Gloucestershire Constabulary.

But director and co-producer Derek Jones told BBC News Online none of the relatives had objected to the programme and the police had not objected initially either.

Mr Jones said: "There were objections to a drama on the subject, but that has long since been shelved, and was nothing to do with us."

West, who was awaiting trial on 12 murder charges, hanged himself in January 1995 and his wife is now serving 10 life sentences.

Howard Ogden
West told his solicitor, Howard Ogden, of other killings
Janet Leach, a social worker who sat in on the interviews and befriended West, tells the programme he confessed to killing many more than the 12 he was charged with.

She said: "Fred said that there were two other bodies in shallow graves in the woods but there was no way they would ever be found.

'Twenty other bodies'

"He said there were 20 other bodies not in one place but spread around and he would give police one a year.

"He told me the truth about the girls in the cellar and what happened to them so I don't see why he would lie about other bodies."

Derek Jones, the director and co-producer of the programme, told BBC News Online: "There definitely needs to be a public inquiry.

"No-one has even scratched the surface of this case. They should look at the failures of social services and police in Gloucestershire in the 1970s and 1980s."

Fred and Rose West
Fred and Rose enjoyed a bizarre relationship
Mr Jones said: "Social services had 300 missing files and 100 missing girls. There were two girls from Jordansbrook children's home who were making a living as prostitutes from 25 Cromwell Street."

He said questions should also have been asked about West's eldest daughter, Charmaine, who disappeared in 1970.

'Need for an inquiry'

"West claimed she had moved back to Scotland to be with her mother and social services failed to follow that up," said Mr Jones.

He pointed out that the public inquiry into the Harold Shipman case had revealed many more victims than he was actually charged with.

West also told his solicitor, Howard Ogden, that he had picked up one girl, Mary Bastholm, who disappeared aged 15 in 1968, at a bus stop and had buried her in the village of Bishop's Cleeve near Cheltenham.

But when questioned by police about the Bastholm case he refused to say anything.

The film will also show extracts from pornographic home movies filmed by the Wests.

But Mr Jones said the extracts were not graphic and would only show Fred West dimming the lights, Rose West's head and shoulders and her anonymous clients.

Heather West
Heather West was buried in the back garden
Mr Jones said West told Mr Ogden how he believed the spirits of his victims were coming up through the floor from the cellar where they were entombed.

He said: "When they come up into you it's beautiful, it's when they go away you are trying to hold them, you feel them flying away from you and you try to stop them.

'Animal cunning'

"You can't send them back to where they were."

Mr Jones said the police interviews gave a fascinating insight into a man who led a charmed life as a serial killer.

He said: "While he was illiterate, he was not unintelligent.

"You don't survive for 30 years as a serial killer without a degree of animal cunning."

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