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House of horrors Woman who lodged with Fred and Rose West says dating killer’s brother may have 'protected her'

Judith Bachelor lived with the killer couple in their home in 1971 when she was only 17

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A woman who lodged with British murderers Fred and Rose West said she may have been saved by dating the serial killer’s brother.

Judith Bachelor lived with the young couple in their home in 1971 when she was only 17. She had just left the foster care system and had recently lost her job.

When Ms Bachelor moved into the home, tragedy had already struck as Fred’s eight year-old stepdaughter Charmaine was buried under the kitchen. It is thought Rose killed Charmaine as Fred was in prison for other crimes.

The couple would later kill again in their “House of Horrors”, with all the victims being young women.

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Fred West took his own life in prison while awaiting trial for murder (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

Fred West took his own life in prison while awaiting trial for murder (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

Fred West took his own life in prison while awaiting trial for murder (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

After his crimes were exposed in 1994, Fred was charged with 12 murders, however he took his life in a Birmingham prison before his trial.

Rose on the other hand was convicted of 10 murders in November 1995 and is serving life. She has never admitted any part in any of the crimes.

Now fifty years on from first meeting the couple, Ms Bachelor has opened up about how lucky she was to escape unscathed.

“My foster sisters have always said I was lucky. They are always saying, ‘Do you realise you could’ve ended up under the floor or something?’,” she told the Mirror.

She began living with the couple after her then-boyfriend - John West - told her his brother had a place for her to stay in Gloucester. The couple first lived in Midland Road before they moved into the “House of Horrors”, 25 Cromwell Street.

“I could have been the perfect victim, yes, I was a vulnerable woman with nowhere to go,” Ms Bachelor added. “But the truth is, they were actually good to me while I was there.

“Looking back I think you could say I had a lucky escape but I think it was in the early stages of them having people live with them… I was the first one, and the fact his brother had taken me there may have protected me.”

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She also discussed how the couple seemed fairly normal from the outside, although Fred did make some unpleasant comments.

“When I was there Fred had not long come out of prison… He was quite quiet most of the time, as was Rose. But Fred could be creepy... a strange sense of humour,” Ms Bachelor said.

“He could make very dry droll remarks and then chuckle to himself. I remember him making a naughty comment and asking me what colour my underwear was on the washing line and I thought ‘No, don’t ask me things like that’.”

On another occasion, she was playing with Fred’s other daughters, Anne Marie and Heather, when she noticed a picture of Charmaine.

“I had seen a photograph of her on the wall and I had said to Anne Marie, ‘Who’s this?’.

“She said ‘That’s my sister but she’s with her mummy’. Of course that was Rena [Fred’s first wife] who he was with up in Scotland, and was obviously a lie.”

Ms Bachelor’s message for young women today is to not be as trusting of strangers as she was fifty years ago.

“Don’t just dive into a place... you don’t know what’s waiting,” she said.

“So many young people were abused and nobody ever said anything back then and these days it is all coming out of the woodwork so if you can get help, you must.”

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