Pick Me Up magazine asked for my professional opinion on Rosemary West in their regular column ‘Making of a Monster.’ Out in the 1st March 2012 edition, I supplied the following psychological insight:
Rose West had far from an idyllic upbringing, even before leaving her mother’s womb. Although research suggests that ECT during pregnancy does not harm the baby, Rose appeared troubled from the start. This is indicated in her rocking behaviour, which in children is usually a sign of self-soothing or frustration. Either way, as a baby Rose clearly gained some sense of comfort or coping from rocking in her cot and pram. Even the youngest of children pick up on disharmony in the home and the violence and unhappiness that little Rose witnessed would surely have an impact, in this case a devastating one.
While some people internalise a rocky childhood, Rose learned from her domineering father to express her anguish by causing harm to others. The sense of control and power this brought was the complete opposite to the lack of control a small child has within a violent household. Rose saw the power her father had in comparison to her mother, choosing to live with her father and follow in his footsteps. However, her behaviour was much more extreme, although based on much of what she’d seen during her childhood. Even the burying of victims in the ‘corpse garden’ mimicked the regimental digging up of the garden that her father imposed on her and her siblings.
Rose West’s future appeared damned from the start, but no one could have predicted just how much tragedy she would go on to cause.