LIES and telling silences showed that John West knew of - and may have taken part in - some of the murders and terrifying sex attacks carried out by his serial killer brother Fred West, it is claimed in a book to be published soon.

The secret life of bearded ''gentle giant'' dustman John West - described by his wife Anita and other relatives as a ''loving, caring father, uncle and grandfather'' - is disclosed by the official biographer of his infamous builder brother.

Author Geoffrey Wansell says John West regularly had sex with Rena and Rosemary, the two wives of his older brother Fred - with Fred's consent.

Fred, he says, also offered John sex with his Scottish girlfriend Ann McFall - who hated the younger brother, and may have paid for that dislike with her life.

Mr Wansell claims that the dustman may have been involved in sex attacks on some of the young girls who were lured to 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester - and that over a period of years he also probably repeatedly raped his niece, Anne Marie West, at the house.

John West may have used his dustcart to dispose of the bodies and belongings of victims who are as yet unknown, or to get rid of parts of the bodies of the nine victims whose dismembered remains were discovered buried in the house and garden at 25 Cromwell Street.

When John West was arrested for alleged rape in 1994, police who searched his house found more than 100 pornographic videos. Frederick West claimed that John was ''heavy'' into pornography and liked to tie women up and beat them.

His brother treated women ''like a dog'' and become violent when they rejected his advances, Fred West claimed.

Retired John West, 54 - twice-married and the father of four children - hanged himself in the garage at his Gloucester home on November 28 last year, the night before a jury at Bristol Crown Court was expected to return verdicts at his trial on rape charges.

John West had denied allegations that he raped Anne Marie West, his brother's eldest daughter, some 300 times during the late 1970s at Cromwell Street, and had denied once raping another teenage girl at the house.

The suicide of John West - who admitted to having had an affair with his brother's wife Rosemary - mirrored that of his brother.

Fred West hanged himself on January 1, 1995, in Birmingham Prison while awaiting trial on 12 charges of murdering women and girls, including his daughter Heather, 16, and eight-year-old stepdaughter Charmaine.

The latest disclosures about John West are made in a new final 12,000-word chapter of ''An Evil Love'', the biography of Fred West sanctioned by the Official Solicitor.

The book was first published last September as a hardback, without the John West chapter.

While John West was on trial, Mr Wansell could not make his claims over his alleged involvement in the Cromwell Street horrors.

John West was interviewed by detectives investigating the Cromwell Street murders, but was only charged with the alleged rapes.

Mr Wansell - who accepts that Fred West was an accomplished and inveterate liar - had unprecedented access to documents from the extensive Cromwell Street inquiry, including more than 140 hours of police interviews with Fred West, and personal items recovered from his cell.

The extent to which John West was involved in the murders was ''shrouded in mystery'', Mr Wansell writes.

''The reality must be that John West knew far more about the events of 25 Cromwell Street and his brother's appetite for abducting and assaulting young women than he ever acknowledged.

''He had been completely in his brother's power and Frederick West knew that he could depend on him utterly - not only because he was implicated in the murders of Ann McFall, Rena West and Charmaine but also because Rosemary West held him in her sexual thrall.''

John West, says Mr Wansell, took his own life because he could not face the jury verdict and himself became the final victim of a brother who had lured him into sexual depravity and excess, and of a brotherly bond which exacted a terrible price.