Fred West was responsible for the brutal murders of at least 12 people and even his own children weren't safe from his twisted crimes.

But there was one person it seemed he would protect at all costs - his beloved wife and sick partner in crime, Rose.

Even when he was arrested when his 20 year murder spree was finally uncovered, Fred's first thoughts were how he could protect Rose.

Such was his devotion to his beloved Rose, Fred is even reported to have told his son Stephen just before he handed himself in to police "look son, look after mum and sell the house.

"I've done something really bad. I want you to go to the papers and make as much money as you can."

Twisted killers Fred and Rose West
Twisted killers Fred and Rose West

It was the disappearance of their eldest daughter, Heather, that finally proved to be the undoing of the murderous pair.

For years, Fred and Rose had claimed their missing daughter was a drug dealer and now living in Dubai, a story the police clearly never fully believed.

In one final attempt to discover what had happened to Heather, who was just 16 when she vanished, officers got a search warrant to search the West's home at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester.

On Febrary 24, 1994, eight years after Heather was last seen, police started digging at the home.

Initially, Rose was furious officers were searching her home, especially as Fred was at work.

Heather West was murdered by her parents at the age of 16
Heather West was murdered by her parents at the age of 16

But before search teams arrived the following day, Fred had made a remarkable confession - he marched into a police station and told officers he was responsible for killing Heather.

Experts now believe he was doing this in a desperate bid to stop the police from continuing their search and implicating wife, Rose, in his sick world of rape, torture and murder.

But as police continued their search, more and more bodies were discovered.

In a semmingly desperate bid to protect his wife from criminal charges, Fred continued to confess to the murders.

He even returned to the home and showed officers were many of his victims were buried.

And police were certain Fred had not acted alone.

Fred and Rose shared the same sick fantasies
Fred and Rose shared the same sick fantasies

Officers had been told the couple had an unusual sex life, with Fred inviting men he worked with in a factory to come and watch porn at his home and then have sex with Rose.

Fred even drilled a peephole into the room next door so he could watch his wife having sex with other men.

Then the body of Fred's step-daughter, Charmaine, from his first marriage to Rena Costello was discovered in a cellar in another house where Fred had been a tenant.

The use of dental records revealed Charmaine had been killed when Fred was in prison for theft - leaving the only possible murderer to be Rose.

She too was arrested and charged with multiple murders, which she denied.

Following their arrests, the first time Fred and Rose West saw each other was during their joint first appearance in court.

Fred's solicitor, Howard Ogden, said: "She was stony-faced and cold and that was a big shock to Fred.

Fred took his own life while he was waiting for trial
Fred took his own life while he was waiting for trial

"He thought she would be desperate to embrace him and be so grateful for taking the rap but in fact she was hoping to save her own neck."

Author of An Evil Love, Geoffrey Wansell, added: "She never came near him. He looked at her the whole time they were in court.

"He tried to catch her eye and even tried to touch her at one point. She was unmoved. She had written him off."

Fred, who had previously fully admitted he was the one responsible for the deaths, suddenly started to reply 'no comment' when police asked for more information.

This had devastating consquences for Rose, who could no longer claim Fred had been the only one responsible as the evidence stacked up against her.

Fred West was found dead in his prison cell on January 1, 1995, just weeks before his and Rose's murder trial was due to start.

Rather than being devastated her husband was dead, Rose saw this as her 'get out of jail' card.

Her solicitor, Leo Goatley, said: "I told Rose Fred was dead and her emotions were confused. There was a certain glow and relief in her expression.

"If she was distressed she certainly didn't betray that to me."

Despite no forensic evidence against Rose, and with Fred no longer alive, she still faced a murder trial, charged with 10 deaths.

She was convicted of all 10 charges and told she would spend the rest of her life behind bars.