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Rose West's solicitor Leo Goatley talks to the BBC
"The issue here is whether Rosemary West got a fair trial"
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The BBC's Damian Grammaticas
"Photographs could prove Fred West was the sole killer"
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Sunday, 5 March, 2000, 10:21 GMT
West fights to clear name
The West's home was dubbed the House of Horrors
The West's home was dubbed the House of Horrors
Serial killer Rosemary West is preparing a fresh attempt to clear her name, backed with legal aid funds.

West, serving 10 life sentences for killing young women and girls, is applying to have her case referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates miscarriages of justice.

Her lawyer says he may be able to unearth new photographic evidence which would prove that her husband, Fred West, was the sole killer.

He committed suicide in Winson Green prison in Birmingham on New Year's Day, 1995, while awaiting trial on 12 murder charges.

Bodies in cellars

Nine bodies were found buried beneath the couple's house in Cromwell Street, Gloucester, south-west England, one of which was that of their own 16-year-old daughter, Heather.

Another body, that of Rose West's eight-year-old stepdaughter Charmaine, was found in a former coal cellar at the couple's former home in Midland Road, Gloucester.

Two other bodies, one of which was pregnant, were found in a field near Fred West's childhood home in Much Marcle, Herefordshire.

Rose West's lawyer, Leo Goatley, told the BBC he was preparing an application to the CCRC based on two issues: disclosure and chequebook journalism.

'Time stamp'

He says his client could be cleared by anatomical photographs of women which were taken by Fred West and seized by police during an earlier investigation in 1992.

Mr Goatley said the photographs were stamped with the time they were taken, which could help Rose West prove she was not there.

When the case came to court in 1995 Gloucestershire police said the original photographs had been destroyed but Mr Goatley is confident copies would have been made or details of the photographs chronicled by police.

He said none of this information was disclosed to the defence at the trial.

Fred West's daughter
Mr Goatley has questioned Anne-Marie's publishing deal
Another grounds for appeal could be the publishing deal signed before the original trial by Fred West's daughter, Anne-Marie.

She gave daming evidence at her stepmother's trial and later published a book, Out Of The Shadows, which was ghost written by Daily Star journalist Virginia Hill.

Mr Goatley, interviewed by former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil on BBC Radio 5 Live, declined to say whether he believed Rose West was innocent.

But he said: "The issue here is whether Rose West got a fair trial.

"I have always believed her situation was different to Fred West's. She has always maintained her innocence.

"There are a number of issues regarding disclosure and chequebook journalism that are worthy of review and I feel would have contributed to her not getting a fair trial."

Life sentence

West is currently at Durham Prison, a high security jail in north-east England.

The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, Tony Butler, told the BBC: "Mr Goatley has not approached us about any photographs in recent weeks.

"We believe that all material was disclosed to the Crown Prosecution Service during the case.

"We have no idea what the current issues being raised by Mr Goatley are, and suggest he contacts us through the proper channels."

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See also:

31 Jan 00 | The Shipman files
Shipman joins Britain's chamber of horrors
15 Dec 98 | Health
West case that haunts NHS staff
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