FAMILY life inside the Cromwell Street home of serial killers Fred and Rosemary West was a chilling round of beatings, prostitution, sex abuse, bugged bedrooms, and torture, according to two of the couple's children.

In calm, matter-of-fact voices, Stephen and Mae West describe their grotesque childhoods in an interview to be broadcast on BBC television tonight.

Stephen West, 21, says his father came close to giving himself up to police during his killing spree. He also says that, as early as 1992, Fred West admitted to him that he had committed crimes ``worse than you can imagine'' - and that he claimed he could not stop himself killing.

Both the West children say that if someone in authority had asked them the right questions, their nightmare could have been ended years before.

In the programme, Inside Story, to be broadcast on BBC1 at 10pm, they say they cannot believe their mother was guilty of the 10 murders of which she was convicted. Ms West said her mother would not let her family visit her in prison.

They say that they had little idea of what life was like in ordinary families and so had no way of realising how abnormal was the Wests' behaviour.

Ms West, 23, says: ``We had nothing to compare it against because we were never really allowed to go to other friends' houses or to stay over with anybody.

``We obviously did see TV and the way people live but we envied them, we wanted our lives to be like that.''

The two say 25 Cromwell Street was dominated by sex, with a constant stream of men going to Rosemary West's bedroom, she flaunting herself naked in front of visitors, and West making sexual demands on his daughters as they grew older.

Mr West remembers visiting West in a Birmingham bail hostel in 1992, when his father was on remand on sex charges: ``He started saying that he had been covering up stuff from all of us. He said that his life began when we went to sleep at night.

``I asked him what he meant but he wouldn't elaborate. He said it had been going on for years and went back to when he was in Scotland.

``He said it was a worse crime than anyone could imagine and the police would find out soon and he would never leave prison again.''

Although Stephen and Mae Westrealised something was wrong in the Cromwell Street household, they say that it was only after their father admitted to killing their elder sister Heather that the full horror hit home.

Ms West says: ``I was shocked, because it could have easily been me and I started to hate Dad from then.''

Mr West adds: ``I just couldn't believe it. I felt like someone had hit me with a hammer and I just slid down the wall and cried.''

He was appalled to learn that a hole he had helped his father dig in the garden had become his sister's grave.

As far back as they could remember, life in the West household revolved around sex.

The children were shown blue movies and pornographic pictures and encouraged to have sex as early as possible.

Mr West says: ``Dad wanted mum to be with other men and women. Dad was quite happy for her to do it as long as she gained no enjoyment from it. If she seemed to enjoy it, they would have a massive argument.

``He would be very jealous that she was with someone else, although he made her do it.''

Ms West says: ``Dad used to say a father should break his daughters in and the first-born child of a daughter should be her father's. From 11 or 12, he used to touch us all the time. If we pushed him away, he would get angry or say we were lesbians.''

Mr West said his father even offered him sex with his mother.

``Dad always said when you are 16 you are going to sleep with your mum and she will teach you how you should treat a woman and how sex should be,'' he said.

The children were beaten regularly, especially by Rose, said Mr West.

He remembered one occasion when he was called home from school, forced to strip, tied up and beaten for almost an hour with a buckle end of a belt, because his mother thought he had stolen some pornographic magazines.

He was sent back to school with blood seeping through his shirt, he said.

The children were always dressed in shabby clothes - and ridiculed for it by their schoolfriends.

However, Mr West remembers: ``We felt a lot happier at school, where we felt that we were safe - even though people were taking the mickey out of us, it was better than home.''