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Saturday, 6 October, 2001, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Police anger at 'cruel' documentary
Wests' home
The Wests killed nine girls at their home in Gloucester
The chief constable of Gloucestershire is to lodge a complaint about the "cruel titillation" in a Channel 5 documentary about Fred and Rosemary West.

Tim Brain said he was concerned about the feelings of the families of victims as well as the legal questions raised by the documentary, "Fred and Rose West - The Murders" which was broadcast earlier this week.

After watching all three episodes of the programme, the Mr Brain said he found it "sickening and unjustified".

Mr Barins said: "It has come as no surprise that we have seen no fresh or helpful evidence and every issue covered on the programme had previously been investigated.


Fred West sounded so normal - but what he said was so grotesque. It's almost as if he did not realise what he was saying

Caroline Roberts

"I have my own opinion on the ethics and the quality of the production but I shall leave it to members of the public to draw their own conclusions.

Mr Brain will now write to the Attorney General and the Independent Television Commission (ITC) repeating the complaints made before the programme was screened.

Andy Waldron, spokesman for Gloucestershire Police said on Saturday: "Before the film went out we wrote to the Attorney General.

"He said he had a sworn affidavit that anything that was going to be used was going to be used appropriately but did not have the benefit of seeing the tapes.

"The programme was fairly out of context and not of the best taste.

"Some of the allegations they used to boost their ratings were in fact totally inaccurate.

Families' feelings

Mr Brain said that speculation that the programme would throw new light on the disappearance of Mary Bastholm, a 15-year-old Gloucester girl who vanished in January 1968, had been unfounded.

Fred West
Fred West hanged himself in 1995

He said the constabulary was not opposed to the making of documentaries about the West case and had never tried to stop Creative Consortium broadcasting the series.

"What we object to is the use of this prosecution material which is subject to legal privilege.

"Our second concern is for the feelings of the families of victims and for the relatives and for those involved in the inquiry.

"We appreciate the case is of public interest but we also believe any programme-makers should handle this matter extremely delicately and be sensitive to the trauma suffered by all those involved."

'Grotesque' words

The chief constable's reaction to the programme was supported by Caroline Roberts, 45, who was abducted and abused by Fred and Rose West.

The mother-of-two, from Cinderford, Gloucestershire, said she was relieved that the documentaries playing the killer's voice were over.

"The documentaries should not have been shown. I cannot see why anybody should be allowed to use police evidence in the public domain - especially in the entertainment business.

"The first programme upset me initially because I heard their voices. I felt a bit miserable the next day.

"Fred West sounded so normal - but what he said was so grotesque. It's almost as if he did not realise what he was saying.

Appeal dropped

Fred and Rose West killed nine young girls including their 16-year-old daughter, Heather, at 25 Cromwell street, Gloucester, and buried them under the house or in the garden.

They also killed Fred West's daughter Charmaine, 8, and buried her under the floor of their previous home at 25 Midland road, Gloucester.

Fred West was charged with the murder of his first wife, Catherine, and his Scottish lover and nanny Anne McFall.

Fred West hanged himself in prison on New Year's Day, 1995 while awaiting trial - Rose West was later convicted of ten murders and jailed for life.

She has recently declared she is dropping plans to appeal.

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