Fred said he would keep me in

the cellar . . . When they were finished with me they would bury me

under the paving stones of Gloucester. He said there were already

hundreds of people there

Caroline Owens

A WOMAN yesterday re-lived a 22-year-old nightmare during which she

was abducted by Rosemary and Frederick West, bound, gagged, and

physically and sexually tortured.

She was knocked unconscious during her ordeal and awoke to find her

hands tied behind her back with her own scarf and Fred West winding tape

all over her face -- over her eyes, her ears, and at the back of her


''I didn't think I was going home again,'' Mrs Caroline Owens told a

hushed Winchester Crown Court at the trial of Rosemary West, who pleads

not guilty to 10 counts of murder.

At the time of her ordeal, Mrs Owens was not quite 17.

As the attack on her began, she said she was in a state of terror and

panic. It was to last all night.

Mrs Owens, 39, who was dressed in a black suit with an open-necked

white blouse, gave her evidence in a confident voice.

She described how, as a 16-year-old, she regularly hitch-hiked between

her home at Cindiford and Tewkesbury to meet her boyfriend, Tony.

It was on one of these occasions that she was picked up by the Wests.

Amazingly, within a short time of offering her a lift, they suggested

to the young girl that shework with them as a nanny.

''I was a bit surprised,'' said Mrs Owens. ''I always wanted to be a

nanny but I said my parents would have to meet them first.''

The encounter which led to the job offer saw her move to 25 Cromwell

Street, Gloucester, as a child-minder on #3 a week.

She described how, on a couple of occasions when she was taking a

bath, Rosemary West would come into the bathroom.

She described other occasions when she and Rosemary West were alone.

''She would play with my hair saying -- 'Oh, you have lovely hair',''

said Mrs Owens.

She also told her how lovely she was.

''I was a bit embarrassed really, a bit uncomfortable.''

Fred was a bit of a braggart.

He said he could do operations on women and that he performed

operations, she told the jury of eight men and four women.

''When he was speaking about the operations, I thought he was just

showing off. I didn't think that he had done it.''

She stayed there for only five to six weeks before returning home. She

didn't like Fred and the parting was mutual.

Some weeks later, she was again hitching home from Tewkesbury when the

Wests pulled up and offered her a lift home. She accepted.

She sat in the back of the two-door Ford Popular car and Rosemary West

joined her, saying that she would like a chat.

The conversation began normally with the Wests saying how much they

missed her as did the children. However, as they passed through

Gloucester, the Wests starting speaking to her in a smutty manner.

''Fred asked if I had had sex with Tony that night,'' said Mrs Owens.

''I was embarrassed and said no.

''Rosemary had her arm around me and she started touching my breasts

over my clothes.''

The witness gesticulated to show how she tried to push Mrs West's arm


It was, she said, at this stage that Fred asked what her breasts were


Mrs West literally grabbed her and got hold of her. She was grinning

and laughing. ''It was not a nice laugh,'' said Mrs Owens.

''She was grabbing my chest and tried to grab me between my legs.

''I was struggling with her. It was getting a bit out of hand. I was

panicking. She was laughing.

''They were saying things to each other. It was just smutty talk about

me . . . about my body.''

She described how Mr West pulled the vehicle on to a grass verge near

the gate leading into a field.

Mrs West was still attempting to touch her.

Mr West turned round and started punching her around the head and

calling her names -- such things as ''bitch''.

Mrs Owens said that it was at this stage she was knocked out.

When she recovered consciousness, she found she was bound and gagged

by the tape -- it was brownish and very gummy, she said.

''Rose was holding me and Fred was putting tape around my face.''

Mrs West pushed her down on the back seat and sat on top of her as Mr

West drove towards Gloucester.

''They were talking and laughing,'' said Mrs Owens. ''She grabbed me

between the legs.''

When they arrived at 25 Cromwell Street, Mrs Owens said she was led

into the house by the arms.

''I was taken upstairs into the first-floor front room,'' she said.

There was a sofa and a double bed, a double mattress on the floor, she

told the court. It was opposite the room which she had previously

occupied when she was a nanny.

''I was still bound,'' she told the court. ''Fred told me to keep

quiet and said if I was good he would take the tape off.''

He sliced it with a knife but at the same time he cut her face. He


She was made to sit on the sofa and Mrs West began to kiss her. At the

same time, she was touching her breasts over her clothes.

Despite her protestations, Mrs West continued the assault until she

left to make tea.

Mrs Owens described how she was then undressed by both Wests.

''They tied my hands back up again and gagged me with cotton wool,''

she said. ''They put me on this mattress or bed and blindfolded me.

''Mrs West got undressed. It was like being examined in the genital

area. Both of them were doing it.

Mrs Owens described how Rosemary West held her legs apart as her

husband beat her between the legs with a belt.

She said Mrs West performed oral sex on her with Mr West watching.

Eventually, he took his clothes off and went behind his wife and started

having sex with her at the same time. The witness's arms were still tied

behind her.

''I felt sick and scared. You can't believe this was happening,'' she

told the jury.

Mr West later had intercourse with her.

Both Wests then went to sleep. Mrs Owens described how she tried to

get to a window and open it. She could reach the window but not lift it.

In the early hours of the morning, at around 6am, there was a knock on

the door downstairs.

Mr West dressed and went to answer it. Mrs Owens said that she tried

to make a noise to attract the attention of the man whose voice she

could hear but Mrs West put a pillow over her head to stifle her.

Mrs Owens said her attempt to attract attention angered the couple.

''Fred said he would keep me in the cellar and let his black friends

use me. When they were finished with me, they would bury me under the

paving stones of Gloucester. He said there were already hundreds of

people there.''

She continued: ''I was scared to death. I just kept thinking about my


Throughout her ordeal, she was offered more than one cup of tea and

was raped by Mr West. He apologised for hurting her.

''They asked me to go back and live with them,'' said Caroline. ''I

was amazed. I thought this would be my chance to get away from them. I

said: 'yes'.''

She insisted she would have to go home first to get her belongings.

Fred said that she was there for ''Rosie's pleasure''.

She was warned not to tell anyone of what had happened that evening.

She had two baths but still could not get the gum from the tape out of

her hair.

She helped dress the children before she and Rosemary West went to a


''Fred dropped us off,'' she said.

Mrs Owens continued: ''I was with Rose at the laundrette and I saw a

man. I just walked out. I just kept walking.

''I walked through Gloucester and met a friend's brother who gave me a

lift first to a friend's house and then to my home.''

The witness said she told her friend about the ordeal but no-one else.

''I was too ashamed,'' she said.

Eventually, her mother was informed and the police became involved --

although her stepfather didn't want them informed.

Mr Brian Leveson, QC, prosecuting, asked a final question of the day:

''Earlier this year, your mum unfortunately died?'' -- ''Yes.''

Although Mrs Owens had given her evidence in a confident manner, this

final question brought tears to her eyes as she left the witness box.

She will continue her evidence today.