ITV Fred West drama attacked by investigating officer

Emily Watson and Dominic West in Appropriate Adult
Image caption Watson plays the "appropriate adult" who sat in on Fred West's police interviews

A TV drama based on the murders committed by serial killer Fred West has been criticised as "inaccurate and sensationalist".

Retired Glos police supt John Bennett, who led the investigation, said ITV's Appropriate Adult "glossed over facts".

Mr Bennett also said the drama gave "undeserved" kudos to Janet Leach, the appropriate adult assigned to the case.

A spokesman for ITV said it had not tried to "whitewash" the Leach character and the drama was "balanced".

"We depict her decision to accept the newspaper deal to sell her story, and how that was exposed in court during the trial of Rosemary West, as well as showing that her motivation was not simply financial," said the ITV spokesman.

John Bennett said his main criticisms were based on Janet Leach's "exaggerated role".

This included how she broke her confidentiality agreement by talking to, and receiving payment from, the media, and "continually contacting" West while he was on remand in Winson Green Prison.

'Hauntingly accurate'

He also said the drama also did not include her later attempts to sue Gloucestershire Constabulary which ended in failure.

Image caption Fred West killed himself in 1995. His widow received a life sentence

However, Mr Bennett acknowledged the portrayal of Fred and Rose West was "hauntingly accurate" and gave "an even deeper insight" into their psyche.

"I can understand they were added for dramatic portrayal - for example of him [West] giving information about Alison Chambers [one of West's murder victims] that wasn't necessary at all."

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Constabulary said the force did support Janet Leach in her role, but was concerned how she was "shown to have a gravitas which did not exist".

Fred West was charged with 12 murders, but committed suicide in a Birmingham prison before his trial.

Rosemary West was convicted of 10 murders in November 1995 and is serving a life sentence.

The Wests tortured, raped and murdered an unknown number of women over a 20-year period.

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