Fred West is known to have carried out 12 murders, but Rosemary had no involvement in the first two, as she had not met Fred at the time.
Rosemary's parents split up when she was a teenager, and her father was prone to violence. She lived with her mother before moving in with her father around the time she met West at the age of 16. Rosemary's father disapproved of the relationship, threatening to call social services and threatening West directly. However, by 1970, Rosemary found herself pregnant by West and caring for his daughter Anne-Marie (by his previous marriage to Rena Costello).
Rosemary West and her husband were convicted of sexual assault in January 1973. They were fined for indecent assault of Caroline Roberts, who escaped the couple's home after being attacked and reported them to the police. The Wests' typical pattern was to pick up girls from bus stops in and around Gloucester and imprison them in their home for several days before killing them.
She also worked as a prostitute. She was frequently pregnant and was the mother of eight children: Heather Anne (October 1970), Mae (June 1972), Stephen Andrew (August 1973), Tara (December 1977), Louise (November 1978), Barry (June 1980), Rosemarie (April 1982) and Lucyanna (July 1983). Five of these were fathered by Fred West, while Tara, Rosemarie and Lucyanna were fathered by West Indian clients who had used Rosemary as a prostitute.
It is reported that, even after the birth of her fourth child, Rosemary's father would still visit her for sex, and would then have sex with Fred's daughter Anne-Marie.
In August 1992 Fred West was arrested after being accused of raping his 13-year-old daughter three times, and Rosemary West was arrested for child cruelty. This case against them collapsed in June 1993 when their daughter refused to testify in court. All of the Wests' children were removed from their custody to foster homes. This case brought to light the disappearance of Heather West, who had not been seen since 1987, and triggered the major investigation that followed.
The Lord Chief Justice later decided that she should spend at least 25 years in prison, but in July 1997 Home Secretary Jack Straw subjected West to a whole life tariff. This was only the second instance of a British woman being condemned to die in prison, the other being serial killer Myra Hindley (who has since died). In the first two years of her sentence, West was held at the same prison as Hindley.
A November 2002 Law Lords' ruling could see West released in 2019, by which time she will be 66 years old.