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Thursday, 28 March, 2002, 08:25 GMT
Watchdog clears Fred West series
Cromwell Street, Gloucester
Cromwell Street has been demolished
A broadcasting watchdog has rejected criticism of a drama-documentary about the Cromwell Street murders.

The Channel 5 mini-series, Fred and Rose - the West Murders, caused a barrage of complaints because it featured extracts from taped police interviews with Fred West.

Gloucester Police and local MP Parmjit Dhanda tried to stop it from being shown last October.

Mr Dhanda even took the case to the Attorney General but his argument was dismissed.

'Sensitive treatment'

On Thursday the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) said the series was a "serious, unsensationalised" effort to understand the Wests' motivation.

In its report, the BSC said that while the subject matter was grisly, the panel had taken the view that the subject had been treated "seriously and sensitively".

Fred West
Taped interviews of Fred West were played

The report said: "Much of the horror of had been hinted at rather than fully described.

"The panel considered that this had culminated in a serious, unsensationalised attempt to understand what in the Wests' backgrounds made them capable of such crimes."

The BSC also noted that although the programme had been distressing for the West family, several had taken part in it.

Killer insight

At the time the documentary was shown, Channel 5 had agreed that most people would find the West's crimes distasteful but that did not stop the case being a valid subject for a documentary.

The idea of the series, it said, was to place the killings in context to gain an insight into why they took place and how Fred West evolved from a sex offender to a serial killer.

Viewers were warned about the content before each episode was shown, and relatives of the victims and members of the West family had been contacted.

Fred West, who buried his victims' bodies at home in Cromwell Street, Gloucester, committed suicide before he could be tried for 12 murders.

Rose West was convicted of 10 murders.


Click here to go to BBC Gloucestershire
See also:

06 Mar 02 | England
Killer tapes prompt call for ban
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