Devon

'Sex ring clue' in Rose and Fred West postcard to abusers

Postcard Image copyright JulesAnnan/GloucesterNewsCentre
Image caption The postcard is written in cryptic form and includes the line: "Colin says the 'birds' are very friendly here. Loads of wildlife", and is signed "Mum & Dad"

A postcard believed to be from serial killers Fred and Rose West appears to show they were in a sex ring with child abusers David and Pauline Williams.

The cryptic card was sent to the Williams couple, whose former home in Bradninch, Devon, is being excavated by police searching for a baby's body.

It was written to the "West Williams Menagerie" in 1990 and suggests the Wests were on a canal holiday.

David and Pauline Williams lived near the Wests in Gloucester in the 1990s.

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption David and Pauline Williams are thought to have been looking after the West's children in Gloucester when the postcard was written

David Williams was jailed for life in 2015 and his wife Pauline for 12 years for putting 10 girls and boys through rape, sexual assault and beatings.

Devon and Cornwall Police officers are excavating at a bungalow they lived in for about two years before they were sentenced.

The postcard, made public by the Crime Through Time Collection at former Littledean Jail in Gloucestershire, is understood to have been written by Rose West.

It includes the line: "Colin says the 'birds' are very friendly here. Loads of wildlife", and is signed "Mum & Dad".

Andy Jones, from the museum, said: "It shows in coded form and innuendo that the Wests ran a child sex ring and the Williams were part of it.

"They talk about the Williams menagerie - a menagerie means animals."

He said there was also a "strong reference" to an orgy.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Rose West was convicted of 10 murders in November 1995 and is serving life, while Fred West hanged himself in prison in January 1995

He believes the Wests had left their children with the Williams couple, as the postcard refers to daughter Mae.

"It's compelling evidence of a strong connection between the two families," he said.

David Williams, who ran a pub in Gloucester where Fred West drank, boasted in court last year of his connections with the Wests.

Image caption The Williamses are believed to have lived in the house for only a few years before they were sentenced last year

David and Pauline Williams, who are both in their 50s, started abusing children in the late 1980s. One victim was seven years old.

They also ran the Victoria Inn in Exeter after moving to the city in the 1990s, where they went on to abuse a string of teenagers.

Fred West was awaiting trial on 12 murder charges when he hanged himself in prison in January 1995.

Rose West was convicted of 10 murders in November 1995 and is serving life.

The charges related to the deaths of young women over a 20-year period.

Image copyright JulesAnnan/GloucesterNewsCentre
Image caption The postcard suggests the Wests were on a canal holiday in Cheshire

Timeline of events

  • 1980s/90s: David and Pauline Williams live near child murderers Fred and Rosemary West's home in Cromwell Street, Gloucester
  • 1989: The Williams start abuse of children as young as seven
  • 1991: The couple run Gloucester's Prince Albert pub, where Fred West was a regular
  • 1994: Rosemary and Fred West arrested, accused of murdering 12 people over a period of more than 20 years
  • 1995: Fred West kills himself in jail
  • 1995: Rosemary West sentenced to life
  • 1990s: David and Pauline Williams move to Devon to run the Victoria Inn in Exeter. Abuse continues until 2004
  • 2013: Operation Abbey investigation into David and Pauline Williams starts
  • 2015: David and Pauline Williams jailed for a total of 35 years for sexually abusing 10 children over a 15-year period
  • 2016: Police begin excavations at the Williams' home in Bradninch, near Exeter

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