The vilest love affair: Serial killers Rose West and Myra Hindley were lovers in prison - before West dumped Hindley because she was 'dangerous' and 'very manipulative'

  • House of Horrors killer Rose West 'had a lesbian relationship with Myra Hindley'
  • Ex-solicitor Leo Goatley claims West had a 'flowering' short-lived affair in prison
  • Mr Goatley represented Rose West at her 1995 trial and also visited her in jail
  • Defence lawyer says Rose enjoys prison life and she does not wish to be released

Rose West and Myra Hindley had an affair in prison, a former solicitor of one of the serial killers has sensationally claimed.

The House of Horrors killer was 'quite taken' with the Moors Murderer and was 'impressed by her knowledge and ability', according to her defence lawyer.

But the relationship apparently ended after a few months when West concluded that Hindley was 'very manipulative' and 'dangerous'. 

Rose West
Myra Hindley

The House of Horrors killer Rose West, pictured above left, was 'quite taken' with the Moors Murderer Myra Hindley, right, and was 'impressed by her knowledge and ability', according to her defence lawyer

Details of the extraordinary dalliance between the two most evil women in Britain are revealed in a book about the murders committed by Rose and her builder husband Fred. 

It has been written by Rose's former solicitor Leo Goatley, who represented her for 12 years including at her 1995 trial for murdering ten girls and young women, and who also visited her in prison on dozens of occasions.

His book, published ahead of the 25th anniversary of Fred's prison suicide, states that he has no doubt that she was guilty of the sex and torture murders at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, which appalled the nation.

Fred and Rose West are pictured together above. The case against Rose was placed in jeopardy when Fred, accused of 12 murders, committed suicide aged 53 in Winson Green prison in Birmingham

Fred and Rose West are pictured together above. The case against Rose was placed in jeopardy when Fred, accused of 12 murders, committed suicide aged 53 in Winson Green prison in Birmingham

In other striking comments the solicitor:

  • Alleges that when aged just 14, Rose may have been involved with Fred in the unsolved murder of schoolgirl Mary Bastholm, who vanished when aged 15 in 1968;
  • Claims other unidentified victims of the Wests may have been unwittingly dumped at a rubbish tip by dustmen;
  • Reveals the murderer reacted calmly when he told her Fred had killed himself in jail;
  • Says Rose enjoys prison life and does not wish to be released;
  • Adds that the 'all-female environment suits' Rose's 'preferences'.

But it is his claim that Rose, who is now 65, enjoyed a fling with Hindley in Durham Prison in the mid-1990s that will attract most controversy.

Hindley, who in 1966 was convicted of the Moors Murders with lover Ian Brady, was held in Durham Prison in the mid-1990s at the same time as Rose West. 

The chilling murders had made Hindley Britain's most notorious female killer, a 'status' threatened by Rose's 1995 convictions over the House of Horrors killings.

Yet the pair formed a sinister alliance after a chance encounter when West was remanded in custody at Durham Prison in 1995, according to Mr Goatley's book Understanding Fred & Rose West.

Police are pictured in the rear garden of Rose West's house in Gloucester. Fred West had claimed there were 20 more victims, but did not give precise details of the location of other remains, other than to talk vaguely about a 'farm' where he would take his captives

Police are pictured in the rear garden of Rose West's house in Gloucester. Fred West had claimed there were 20 more victims, but did not give precise details of the location of other remains, other than to talk vaguely about a 'farm' where he would take his captives

The remains of a body are pictured being carried from the West home on 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester. Mr Goatley writes that there is a consensus among experts that 'it is more than likely that there were other unknown victims of the Wests' reign of terror

The remains of a body are pictured being carried from the West home on 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester. Mr Goatley writes that there is a consensus among experts that 'it is more than likely that there were other unknown victims of the Wests' reign of terror

Based on 12 years of letters, interviews and visits with West, Mr Goatley's book states that the 'short-lived' affair took place on the female wing where prison officers had a policy of allowing 'open association'.

Mr Goatley writes: 'Rose's first paramour was the Moors murderer, Myra Hindley, who happened to be on the hospital wing at HMP Durham at the same time in 1995 and early 1996. Hindley was there because she had 'fallen over' in the exercise yard of F Wing. It was prison policy that a new inmate who was a lifer would first be assessed on the prison wing.

'I recall that Rose was quite taken with Hindley, impressed by her knowledge and ability. Rose said Hindley had studied various Open University courses.

Hindley and Brady (pictured together above) were convicted in 1966 of killing ten-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, 17. Brady also murdered 12-year-old John Kilbride, Hindley was convicted as an accessory to that murder

Hindley and Brady (pictured together above) were convicted in 1966 of killing ten-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, 17. Brady also murdered 12-year-old John Kilbride, Hindley was convicted as an accessory to that murder

'She said, 'Yeah, Myra, she's all right, we get on, I want to see how it goes'. This was a reference to a flowering, albeit short-lived, lesbian relationship.'

Mr Goatley adds: 'When I visited a few months later, Rose's opinion of Hindley had changed dramatically. She was saying, 'You have to watch Hindley, mind. She is very manipulative. You don't realise it, but she gets you doing stuff for her. Oh, she's clever, all right. She's flippin' dangerous, that one. She ain't going to take me for a c*** again.' And so heralded the end of the romance.'

Mr Goatley says the affair with Hindley was one of many female relationships West enjoyed from the start of her life sentence, adding: 'The friendships were genuinely supportive and often sexual. They could also be unstable and end in resentment.'

Hindley and Brady were convicted in 1966 of killing ten-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, 17. 

Brady also murdered 12-year-old John Kilbride, Hindley was convicted as an accessory to that murder. 

Her ‘contented’ life in jail

Leo Goatley says Rose West has found a ‘strange contentment’ in prison and enjoys a comfortable life there.

The solicitor, who stopped acting for her in 2004, writes: ‘I am aware that she has pictures of cats on her cell wall and that for some time she was allowed a budgerigar in a little cage in her room. I think of the budgie as safe and as secure in its incarceration as indeed Rose was.

‘The chirpy little bird represented Rose’s own strange contentment confined within her own gilded cage. I know Rose accepted prison as the location of her being, as her domain and her domicile.’

Mr Goatley adds: ‘The all-female environment also suited Rose’s lesbian preferences, as her various relationships verify. She can sew and knit, prepare meals, watch television, make her cell space pretty much as she wants it.

‘She said that she wanted to make a life for herself behind bars, that she had no wish to confront the media mayhem that would follow her around and visit her children if she was released.’

In 1987, both confessed to killing Keith Bennett, 12, and Pauline Reade, 16. Hindley died aged 60 in 2002.

After Rose West was convicted of ten murders in November 1995, the Daily Mail revealed in an exclusive front page story that she had formed a close friendship with Hindley – and that the pair had even been seen holding hands in jail.

The revelations prompted an angry response from Hindley, who made an ultimately unsuccessful complaint to the Press watchdog, alleging she was the victim of smears and lies. 

The BBC was leaked a copy of her complaint and the case made headlines.

The chilling murders had made Hindley Britain's most notorious female killer, a 'status' threatened by Rose's 1995 convictions over the House of Horrors killings in 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, above

The chilling murders had made Hindley Britain's most notorious female killer, a 'status' threatened by Rose's 1995 convictions over the House of Horrors killings in 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, above

Mr Goatley first represented Rose in 1992, when she was accused of aiding and abetting Fred in the sexual abuse of one of their children. He continued to represent her until 2004 when it became clear she was making a life for herself in prison and no longer needed him. 

Mr Goatley insists he has 'no regrets' over working with her, writing: 'She had as much right to proper legal representation as any other citizen. 

I did my professional duty in adhering to just and fair principles that everyone is entitled to a fair trial based on the law and facts of the case.'

He adds: 'The evidence was compelling that she was involved in serious sexual abuse, that she was married to a self-confessed serial killer, that she shared in his sado-masochistic perversion, that she had on occasions a foul temper. Should all that smoke automatically condemn her?' 

The case against Rose was placed in jeopardy when Fred, accused of 12 murders, committed suicide aged 53 in Winson Green prison in Birmingham.

When I visited her on January 1, 1995 to tell her that Fred had hanged himself, her expression, her demeanour and her body language were a complex compendium of conflicting signs,' writes Mr Goatley.

'When I first told her, she was momentarily silent save for quiet gasp. I sensed an excitement at the prospect that this was a major development that somehow had tilted the future very much in her favour (an impression that was to be short-lived).

'I detected also the welling of a lump in her throat and a tearful swell clouding her eyes that never became a stream on her cheek.'

Mr Goatley insists he has 'no regrets' over working with her, writing: 'She had as much right to proper legal representation as any other citizen. I did my professional duty in adhering to just and fair principles that everyone is entitled to a fair trial based on the law and facts of the case'

Mr Goatley insists he has 'no regrets' over working with her, writing: 'She had as much right to proper legal representation as any other citizen. I did my professional duty in adhering to just and fair principles that everyone is entitled to a fair trial based on the law and facts of the case'

Mr Goatley believes that Rose may have been involved in the abduction and murder of teenager Mary Bastholm, who vanished aged 15 from a bus stop in Gloucester in 1968. 

He suggests Rose, who was 14, already knew Fred by then and this could have been her first homicide experience. 

Mr Goatley writes: 'When Fred was remanded in custody at Winson Green, he told his son Stephen that he had killed Mary Bastholm.

'She [Rose] was an accomplice, albeit a junior accomplice, who may not have been present at the time of dismemberment, but in all probability was present at the time of death. She knew he was a killer.'

Mr Goatley writes that there is a consensus among experts that 'it is more than likely that there were other unknown victims of the Wests' reign of terror'.

Fred West had claimed there were 20 more victims, but did not give precise details of the location of other remains, other than to talk vaguely about a 'farm' where he would take his captives. 

Mr Goatley writes: 'It is my belief that when Fred talked of other victims who were buried at a 'farm' near Gloucester, this was his cryptic way of intimating that victims who were killed at Cromwell Street were then dismembered, put in sacks and bin liner bags, thrown on the back of a dustcart and unwittingly taken to Hempsted Tip [on the edge of the city]. To the Wests, Hempsted Tip was a farm.'

Understanding Fred & Rose West by Leo Samuel Goatley is published by The Book Guild on October 28. Price £10.99.

The most evil love of all: Serial killers Rose West and Myra Hindley were lovers in prison

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