Rosemary Pauline West was the fifth child of electrician Bill and his wife Daisy Letts.
Though not diagnosed at the time, it was later speculated that Bill was a schizophrenic.
His wife, Daisy, however, was known to suffer from deep depression. Depression so bad that even though she was expecting Rose, she was given a very traumatic treatment:
“...her mother was apparently being treated with electro compulsive therapy when she was pregnant with Rose.”
Dr. Raj Dargee, Forensic Psychiatrist
Some suspect that Rose may have suffered prenatal injury as a result.
Rose was born on 29 November 1953.
The family lived in a little seaside town called Northam in Devon;
“It was very picturesque - quite remote in the winter - but in the summer absolutely idyllic.”
Jane Carter Woodrow, Author
“...It was all farmland, fields, we had the sea...and there was always a big meal on the table; it was great.”
Gill Job, Former Neighbour of the Letts Family
But this was not the reality or routine of the Letts family.
The father, Bill, was a ‘despot’ in ‘very dysfunctional house.’
“...the children...well, they didn’t have a good life. They never went out very much...They were never allowed to get dirty...That’s why they just walked around the garden. They didn’t play in the garden, just walked around all sort of stiff armed...they weren’t allowed out of that wall.”
It was said that Bill made his daughters clean the carpet with their toothbrushes.
“...people would see this very charming man but behind closed doors he was very violent to his wife Daisy; he was violent to some of the children. Rose was, to some extent, protected from that.”
Jane Carter Woodrow
One reason Bill wasn’t as mean to Rosie was because he knew there was something not quite right with her. Her school performance was poor, she was bullied because she was chubby and other children called her ‘Dozy Rosie’:
The other reason could have been because he was sexually abusing her. Whatever was done to her was so damaging, that even as an adult, she couldn’t confront it:
“When I took a proof of evidence from her it was a sanitised version of her early life that she gave where the darker sinister side was dealt with by symbols almost. You know there was this man in a dark cape and dark hat, almost a shadow following her as a child when she’d walk. And that was about as near as she’d get.”
Lee Goatley, Rose West’s Former Solicitor
One theory is that Rose learnt to use sex to placate the worst excesses of her father.
Aged thirteen, the family moved to the village of Bishops Cleeve, in Gloucestershire.
And it was there just a few years later that Rose would meet Fred West.