Threat serial killer Fred West used to force his abused children to behave

As one of Britain's most infamous – and deadliest – serial killers, Fred West's name still strikes terror into the heart of the nation.

He and his wife, Rose, butchered at least 12 women and children.

They raped, tortured and then killed many of their victims before dismembering their bodies and burying them at their home at 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester.

Rose was finally convicted of 10 murders and told she would spend the rest of her life in jail.

Fred never faced justice after being found dead in his prison cell just weeks before he was due to stand trial for his gruesome crimes.

But it was those closest to the twisted dad that bar the worst scars of his years of sadistic violence – his own children.

Fred and Rose's eldest daughter, Heather, was the reason the murderous pair were finally snared.

And Rose also killed Fred's eight-year-old step-daughter, Charmaine.

A new Channel 5 documentary looks at the gruesome murders that happened within the walls of 25 Cromwell Street.

Police – still hunting for Heather – found a thigh bone while carrying out a search of the couple's home.

For years, Fred and Rose had claimed their missing daughter was a drug dealer and now living in Dubai, a story the police clearly never fully believed.

In one final attempt to discover what had happened to Heather, who was just 16 when she vanished, officers got a search warrant to search the West's home at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester.

On Febrary 24, 1994, eight years after Heather was last seen, police started digging at the home.

Initially, Rose was furious officers were searching her home, especially as Fred was at work.

But before search teams arrived the following day, Fred had made a remarkable confession – he marched into a police station and told officers he was responsible for killing Heather.

Experts now believe he was doing this in a desperate bid to stop the police from continuing their search and implicating wife, Rose, in his sick world of rape, torture and murder.

But bodies started to stack up at the house of horrors and both Fred and Rose were soon charged with multiple murders.

Fred even agreed to help police with their search.

Chilling photographs show where he had sprayed an X on walls or the word BODY to reveal where each of the dismembered corpse had been buried.

But Fred and Rose West's crimes had gone undetected for more than two decades.

The wall of secrecy they had built around their sick torture and murders was upheld by their own children, who themselves were physically and sexually abused by their parents.

And sick Fred, who sexually abused at least two of his daughters, had a way of making sure his children kept his and Rose's sick secret.

He would threaten to "bury them under the patio" – and, knowing what their parents had done, the youngsters remained too afraid to report them.

Fred's solicitor Howard Ogden said: "The children were kept under locak and key in a cellar environment and Rose controlled that."

The serial killer also felt a sick ownership over his daughters.

Jayne Hamer had been a lodger at 25 Cromwell Road when she was just 17 in 1977.

She said: "Fred felt he should take his daughters before any other man had her.

""I heard one of the children down in the cellar, shouting 'stop it daddy'.

"I hoped it wasn't what I thought it was. I was devastated but I was 17 and had just left home and I knew no one would believe me, so I thought the best option was to move out."

Fred West was found dead in his prison cell on January 1, 1995, just weeks before his and Rose's murder trial was due to start.

Rather than being devastated her husband was dead, Rose saw this as her 'get out of jail' card.

Her solicitor, Leo Goatley, said: "I told Rose Fred was dead and her emotions were confused. There was a certain glow and relief in her expression.

"If she was distressed she certainly didn't betray that to me."

Despite no forensic evidence against Rose, and with Fred no longer alive, she still faced a murder trial, charged with 10 deaths.

She was convicted of all 10 charges and told she would spend the rest of her life behind bars.

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