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"She Must Have Known": The Trial Of Rosemary West Paperback – 5 Jun 1997

3.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New Ed edition (5 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552545368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552545365
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.5 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 343,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"'Anyone reading this brilliant book will wonder whether justice was really done'" (A.N. Wilson Evening Standard)

"'Brian Masters is a very fine writer who consistently questions the nature of justice and how it is administered'" (Minette Walters)

"'By far the most interesting book on the subject...profound and illuminating'" (Anthony Daniels Sunday Telegraph)

"'Like the author's previous books on Nilsen and Dahmer, it sets out the facts in detail, so the reader can make up his own mind. A classic of criminological literature'" (Colin Wilson Spectator)

"'Masters has marshalled his arguments with such skill that one wonders why he is not making his fortune at the bar...another serious, compelling account of a serial killer'" (Anthony Storr The Sunday Times)

Book Description

The authoritative book on the Frederick and Rosemary West case by the master of the genre.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a criminal lawyer I obviously have an interest in true crime and have read many books on the subject. Having read some of the reviews it would appear that people have taken great exception to the fact that Masters appears to be suggesting that Rose West was innocent. I for one think that he is playing devils advocate. He gives the reader a thorough account of the investigation and subsequent trial and leaves you to form your own opinion. The fact that people perceive this as the author suggesting that Rose West may be innocent just goes to show the lack of evidence that Crown had against her.

The section which outlines the similar fact evidence and the arguments put forwards by Junior defence counsel Sasha Wass is brilliant although may be too legally technical/boring for some who are just interested in the gory details. But Masters doesnt shy away from the gory details either although he does steer away from anything gratuitous such as refusing to go in to any more detail about the horrific sexual assault that was committed against Anne Marie by Fred and Rose when she was only 8 years old.

I am perplexed that one reviewer said Masters was not able to show any empathy for anyone other than defendant and can only say they must have skimmed the many moments where Masters referred to the victims such as Charmaine, Heather and Anne Marie. That Rose West is a monster who not only allowed but participated in the sexual abuse of her own children no one can deny. And I believe that is the crux of the matter. There will be many people who dont like this book simply because it puts forward the case that Rose West may be innocent of the murders and that for many is too unpalatable.

Masters has written a truly informative and thought provoking book.
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Format: Paperback
Brian Masters is far from being a great writer but he asks a compelling question. As he says at the end of the book, there is no doubt whatsoever that Rose West is "a terrible mother and a terrible human being" but the evidence on which she was convicted as a participant in her husband's ghastly spree of murders was far from compelling.

Fred West had killed at least twice before he ever met her and lived a secretive life into which he let no-one he didn't want to. Hundreds of people came and went from their home without it ever being remarked on. So there is nothing beyond her willing participation in non-fatal assaults on young women and her abuse of her own children to link her to his later murders. It was pretty tenuous stuff.

More widely, is there not cause to think that we jailed Rose because a) Fred had cheated justice by killing himself and b) she was just such a foul woman that it seemed OK to do so? Plenty of people openly admitted at the time that they had their doubts but were glad she was in prison.

And there is history here: the law is generally softer on women, provided that they act like sterotypical women in mens' eyes. Because of her violence, her grotesquely brazen sexuality and her devious and truculent behaviour, Rose West ended up in prison for life. Just like Ruth Ellis hanged herself by coming over as a heartless tart rather than the abused woman she really was.

Ironically, had Fred stood trial and taken the rap alone, as he did in most of his confessions, Rose might well have been acquitted. Indeed, she might not even have stood trial at all. In trying to go down alone, he brought her down with her.

Having just read Geoffrey Wansell's An Evil Love on the life of Fred West, I am personally inclined to believe her guilt and, like 60 million other people in this country, have better causes to fight. However, Masters argues the case for a retrial very ably.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an interesting book to read in many ways, highlighting some of the key points to come out of the West case. It is also reasonably well written and absorbing in places. On the other hand, if the author is really trying to put forward the notion that Rose West is innocent, he makes a pretty poor show of it. Virtually at every turn in the book I found the evidence against her absolutely compelling and the author's arguments protesting her possible innocence as thin as Oliver's gruel!

It could be argued that the author took a different line in positing Rose West's innocence in an effort to sell more books than his competitors. In that case, it's a spirited try but ultimately for me at least, a wasted effort : this book totally convinced me of her guilt.
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Format: Paperback
Brian Masters makes a strong attempt to show that Rosemary West was innocent of involvement in the crimes of her husband, Fred West. It is true that there is only circumstantial evidence that the two were involved in the serial killing of young women who were buried in their garden. However it is certain that she collaborated with him in an earlier case of kidnapping and sexual assault - as well as in the sexual abuse of their children. Masters gets around this as best he may, and puts all the blame on Fred West, who hanged himself in prison. Rosemary West is serving a sentence for multiple murder. She is certainly guilty of many crimes, although her role in the killings committed by Fred is open to question.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very good book and having read a lot about the Wests I still found out things I didn't know from reading this one. The author was present at Rosemary West's trial and it was shocking to hear his description of her reactions to things. It did actually make me wonder if she was party to the murders - there were other people in the house and if they were believed about not knowing why not she too? She was guilty of a lot and deserved to go to prison but as this book points out - the evidence against her for murder was only circumstantial.
I have taken one star off as there was an awful lot of legal jargon and words I'd never come across, luckily I was reading it on my Kindle which has an on-screen dictionary!
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