Fred West's lawyer reveals he had a hug with the investigation team

Fred West’s lawyer reveals how he had a ‘silent group hug’ with investigators after the killer confessed to strangling his daughter Heather – and recalls the gruesome torture techniques used by the couple on their victims

  • Howard Ogden represented serial killer Fred West during police investigation 
  • Said he and investigative officers shared hug after confessed to killing daughter
  • Investigation into the murder of Heather West in 1994 led to other bodies
  • Ogden revealed gruesome way in which Fred and Rose West tortured victims
  • Friends of victims have said the sadistic couple took their loved ones lives away 

Fred West’s lawyer opened up about the emotional impact the investigation had on police officers in an upcoming documentary. 

Howard Ogden represented West during the police investigation into the murder of his daughter Heather West in 1994, which led to the discovery of more bodies, buried around Fred’s home, which he shared with his wife Rose West.

Fred and  Rose West committed at least 12 murders in their ‘House of Horrors’ at 25 Cromwell Street between 1967 and 1987. They were arrested in 1994, leading Fred to taking his own life before standing trial, and Rose to be sentenced to ten life terms for participating in nine of the 12 murders. 

Speaking in the first episode of a two-part documentary on the sadistic couple airing on Channel 5 tonight at 9pm, Ogden said the Gloucester killer’s confession were so horrifying, the investigative team and him had a ‘silent group hug’ to process the news after he admitted to strangling his own daughter. 

Fred West lawyer Howard Ogden, pictured, said in tonight’s Channel 5 documentary Fred and Rose West: The Search for the Victims that he and the investigative team shared a silent hug after the srial killer confessed to killing his own daughter Heather West, 16, in 1994

It is believed Fred and Rose West, pictured, tortured, raped and abused at least 12 victims, all young women, in their ‘House of Horrors’ of 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester between 1967 and 1987. Fred killed himself before he could be trialed for his crime. Rose was sentenced to ten life terms 

He went on to say the discoveries made in the Wests’ home, of mutilated fingers and  skulls, had a deep impact on the investigative officers. 

Fred and Rose West were first investigated by police in 1994 regarding the disappearance of their daughter Heather, 16. 

The parents told their children that Heather had accepted a job in Torquay and moved out.  During a 1992 and 1993 investigation by social services into the West family, the children said Fred would tell them that they’d be ‘buried under the patio’ like Heather if they misbehaved. 

Police then began to investigating Heather’s disappearance, noting there was no proof that she was alive as claimed by her parents. 

Heather West, pictured, was the eldest child of Fred and Rosemary West. She was murdered by her parents in 1987 

Police officers obtained a search warrant to look through Fred and Rose West’s house. After a day of search, Fred demanded to be taken to Bearland police station where he confessed. 

His sollicitor Howard Ogden was present, and recounted the tense moment in the Channel 5 documentary.   

‘We were dealing with an account, the like of which, none of us had ever heard or dealt with before professionally,’ he said. 

Terry Moore, who was Deputy Senior investigative officer on the case, said:  ‘To my way of thinking, anybody who is suspected of killing their own daughter; it’s a horrific crime and to be doing it and admitting to doing it without any compassion whatsoever led me to believe it’s not just a straightforward murder case.’

Ogden said the confession was so chilling, it led to an extraordinary moment between a defense lawyer and an investigative team.  

‘But it was so chilling that we all rose, the lead detective and the defense lawyer and went out to a tiny cupboard that doubled as a tea room and here we were, four complete strangers and we actually had a silent group hug,’ he said. 

Investigative journalist Gordon McRae said: ‘Heather, his own daughter, how could you kill you own kids, you can’t can you?

‘And going on in life as if nothing’s wrong, you know, still having conversations with his neighbours, still doing this and still doing that,’ he added. 

Howard Ogden said the investigation had a deep impact on the officers who discovered the bodies because they showed evidence or horrible treatment by the Wests

Rose West sollicitor Leo Goatley, pictured, said the remains found in the Wests’ house gave tangible evidence of torture and sadistic sexual abuse 

Fred West’s confession led to the police finding Heather’s remains under the patio of the couple’s house, as well as two other femurs, which indicated there was more than one person buried in the Wests’ garden. 

As more and more bodies were discovered around the house, with Fred confessing to killing ‘approximately nine more’ people, Ogden recounted the impact of each body’s discovery on the investigative officers.  

‘I remember one particular grave. It was a skull that was wrapped round with masking tape and coming out of the nostrils of the skull were two little pipes that enabled the victim to breathe,’ he said. 

‘That was an example of someone who had been treated in that way and would have had digits and so on removed and would have been in agony and would have been asking to die.

‘And in Fred’s warped mind he’s done her a favour,’ he added. 

Terry Moore, pictured, Deputy Senior Investigative officer, said the fact West confessed to killing hos own daughter without ‘any compassion whatsoever’ led him to believe it was not a straightforward murder case 

Rose West’s lawyer Leo Goatley said beams in the cellar had holes through them, which was consistent with victims between strung up from the ceilling while they were ‘used and abused’ by Fred. 

‘The excavation of the cellar had tangible, real evidence of the fate of those victims,’ he said. 

‘There was a picture emerging: sadistic sexual abuse, resulting in their lives ending, whether deliberately through stabbing or strangulation or through just total abuse and neglect and expiring whilst they were, for example, strung up in the cellar,’ he added. 

In the documentary, we hear a tape recording where Fred says the killings were just ‘enjoyment gone wrong.’

‘You’re trying to make out I just went out and blatantly killed somebody,’ the serial killer could be heard saying. 

‘No. Nobody went through hell. Enjoyment turned into disaster. That’s what happened with most of it, anyway.’

Edith Simmons, friend of Swiss student Theresa Siegenthaler, 21, who was also killed by the Wests, said she begged her friend not to hitchhike to Holyhead, but said she must have gotten into Fred West’s van

Rose and Fred West killed at least 12 young women in their ‘House of Horrors’ throughout a 20 years period. 

In the documentary, the friends of two of the victims shared how upset they were, and said the Wests had taken the life of their loved ones away. 

Shirley Innes, the best-friend of Juanita Mott, who was 18 when she disappeared, said she couldn’t accept the fact Juanita’s body had been found at 25 Cromwell Street. 

She revealed she had to take medication, including Valium, to recover from the news and that she was still ‘crippled’ by what had happened to Juanita.  

‘She knew not to get in people’s cars, she knew that,’ she said, ‘What possessed her to get in that van. 

‘That cripples me because she knew it was wrong and she’d still be alive now if she hadn’t gotten in that van. 

‘And I miss her so much, she’s the best friend I ever had, the only bestest-friend I had,’ added. 

‘She could have had a lovely life and they took that away from her.’ 

Meanwhile, Edith Simmons was a friend of Swiss victim Therese Siegenthaler, a sociology student who was travelling through the UK to go to Holyhead, and had planned to hitchhike there. 

Shirley Innes, who was the best-friend of Juanita Mott, who was among the 12 victims found at the Wests’ home, said she was still ‘crippled’ by Juanita’s fate

Edith recalled in the documentary she begged Theresa not to hitchhike and even paid for her train ticket to Holyhead, but the student decided to  hop off the train and go with her initial plan instead. 

‘She never got to Holyhead,’ Edith said. ‘Maybe Mr Fred West picked her up in his little van and said “you cant go to Hollyhead all the way, stay overnight with us, we have spare rooms”.’

‘My friend could have been a brilliant advocate for human rights, could have maybe been a diplomat. For what? I couldn’t understand,’ Edith said. 

West, one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers, is known to have murdered at least 12 young women, eight of whom were raped, tortured and mutilated.

The remains of nine victims were discovered buried in the back garden at the Wests’ home in Cromwell Street, Gloucester, in 1994.

West killed himself while awaiting trial at Birmingham’s Winson Green prison.

It is believed the couple have hidden the bodies of more victims, including the body of Mary Bastholm, 15, who went missing in 1968 and whose remains were never found. 

Fred and Rose West: The Search For The Victims airs tonight and tomorrow at 9pm on Channel 5.

The tragic victims of the House of Horrors murderers

Although Fred West was convicted of killing 12 women and Rose 10, the pair are thought to have killed up to 20 more.

One victim who was almost certainly killed by West was his former girlfriend Anne McFall who like the others, was found in a shallow grave with body parts missing. West denied it.

The warped pair used whips to torture their victims as well as their own children. 

Fred West committed suicide by hanging himself in a prison cell in January 1995 — before he could stand trial for the murders.

Rose West is still a prisoner at HMP Low Newton in Durham, having been handed a rare ‘whole life tariff’ for her part in the killings. 

Confirmed victims include:

Charmaine West, eight: Fred West’s stepdaughter from his first marriage, Charmaine was murdered by Rose in 1971 while Fred was in prison.

Rena Costello, 27: Charmaine’s mother Rena, Fred’s first wife, was murdered when she arrived to pick up her daughter Charmaine in August 1971. With Charmaine already dead, it is thought Fred killed her to avoid an investigation.

Lynda Gough, 20: Miss Gough was a lodger in the West’s home and was killed in April 1973. Rose told her mother she had moved to Weston-super-Mare.

Carol Ann Cooper, 15: The teenager disappeared while walking home from the cinema to her Worcester children’s home in November 1973. Her remains were found buried in the Wests’ garden.

Lucy Partington, 21: After spending Christmas with her family in Cheltenham, Miss Partington disappeared after leaving to catch a bus. The student was the cousin of novelist Martin Amis and the sister of author Marian Partington.

Therese Siegenthaler, 22: The South London student was killed in April 1974 after disappearing while attempting to hitch-hike to Ireland.

Shirley Hubbard, 15: One of the Wests’ youngest victims, she disappeared on her way home from college in Droitwich. When her body was discovered, her head was completely covered in tape with a rubber tube placed in her mouth to allow her to breathe.

Juanita Mott, 18: Miss Mott, a former lodger at 25 Cromwell Street, was living in Newent when she vanished.

Shirley Robinson, 19: Another lodger, Miss Robinson was killed in 1978 after becoming pregnant with West’s child.

Alison Chambers, 17: The teenager disappeared in August 1979 and her remains were later found beneath the patio at 25, Cromwell Street.

Heather West, 17: Repeatedly raped by her father, Heather complained to friends about the abuse and was murdered by her parents in a bid to keep her quiet.  

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