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The Cromwell Street Murders: The Detective's Story Paperback – 22 Jun 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; New edition edition (22 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750942746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750942744
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John Bennett is a retired detective superintendent and a holder of the Queen's Police Medal. He was the officer in charge of the Cromwell St investigation from beginning to end. Graham Gardner is a BBC news journalist, based in Bristol. He covered the West investigation and Rose West's trial for BBC local and national news.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Stracs VINE VOICE on 16 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
Much has been written before about the Cromwell Street murders, and their perptrators Fred and Rosemary West. Never before, though, has the point of view of the Senior Investigating Officer John Bennett, been detailed so thoroughly as in this book. Graham Gardner has written an excellent account of Bennett's experiences of the Cromwell investigation which is well worth a read for true crime buffs out there.
The investigation is detailed from the start of Bennett's involvement, and takes it right through to the end of Rose West's court case. Perhaps the best reason to read this account over others is that it provides a unique perspective on how a major police investigation is run and the frustrations, anxieties and difficulties faced by them, particularly the at times shocking behaviour of the media in the case.
Bennett and Gardner stick to the areas of Bennett's expertise only, so anyone interested in the psychology behind these crimes needs to look elsewhere. Bennett does not pretend to understand in the slightest what motivated these people to committ such horrific crimes. However, an authoritative account of their reactions to being arrested and questioned is discussed.
Overall, this is a fascinating book, which is well worth a read. Some of the detail is unpleasant reading, but it is never gratuitous and the story is told with the utmost respect the victims and their families. It is impossible not to be moved by the horrific events and helps the reader to understand how these two got away with their crimes for so long.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Junius on 15 July 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is not an account of the Wests nor of the murders per se, but rather an account of the police investigation of 1994-1995. Shown from the view of the police, we see the pressures they were under, chiefly from the media, and how they interviewed the suspects and searched for the victims' remains. It is a detailed account and worth reading for an insight into a modern (well, 1990s) major investigation. However I was surprised by the police's surprise over the media and public's voracious and distasteful appetite for news, as these were evident in other serious crimes in the previous two centuries. There is a useful timeline at the back which helps the reader recall what happened when, and with so many victims involved, this is helpful indeed. The only drawback is that I feel the book is overlong in places and could do with a little editing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read several books about this horrific case and this has to be one of the best in my opinion. John Bennett led the police investigation which resulted in the successful prosecution of Rosemary West for multiple murder. The book explains how the murders first came to light - a policeman was approached in the street and told that the Wests were abusing one of their children. If this hadn't been treated seriously perhaps the murders would not have come to light. It was due to the tenacity of many police officers who felt there was something more going on that the case was investigated. There had been opportunities in previous years to find out what was going on but both Rose and Fred West had managed to satisfy both Social Workers and the police that there was nothing wrong.

Ultimately it was only because the younger members of the Wet family had mentioned a family joke to Social Workers when they were in care about Heather (the oldest West child) being buried under the patio that the police actually went to Cromwell Street and started digging up the garden. It wasn't long before human remains were discovered and further excavations were undertaken. From the start the investigation the police and witnesses were hounded by the media which hampered their efforts and potentially compromised the witness's testimony. Even though Fred West gave himself up to the police and admitted Heather's murder he kept changing his story almost by the hour and the police were at a loss which story to believe - even when he sent them a not saying he had murdered at least nine young women they weren't sure whether to believe him.

I found the painstaking way the police carried out the investigation absolutely compelling reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jane gabrielli on 23 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very good account of the way the police dealt with this gruesome case. It must have been hard and frustrating with the likes of Fred WesT for ever changing their story and showing contempt for the police and thought he was more clever than the police. It told how the police pulled together in every aspect imaginable to get justice for the victims and to convict those responsible for the most gruesome of crimes ever. It must have been so hard for the police to deal with their private lives while dealing with this dreadful case.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Rix on 19 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amazing write up of the incredible work that went into this complicated series of events as well as how the senior investigating officer dealt with such a difficult case. Totally professional throughout even though this case took over his life for over a year.
Thought-provoking and extremely readable it was a really great read. Even though this case was a long time ago you can still find this book a very insightful read.
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