Ice cream van perv Fred West had bounty on his head by paedo-hunting gangsters

Killer Fred West had a bounty on his head years before he was arrested for the murder of at least 12 young girls.

The infamous slayer was finally captured in 1994, 27 years after he began his killing spree, but committed suicide before standing trial. The majority of his murders were committed with second wife Rose West, who is currently serving a whole life sentence and will never walk free.

But Fred's interest in young girls began years before the pair even met, when Rose was a child. Alarm bells were first raised over Fred's unusual behaviour when he was living in The Gorbals in Glasgow with his first wife Catherine "Rena" Costello.

READ MORE: Rose West had chilling reaction to being told serial killer husband Fred was dead

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During his time in Scotland, Fred worked as an ice cream driver, serving desserts to local children. Author Colin MacFarlane, who grew up in the area, recalled local people were already growing suspicious of Fred long before his first confirmed murder.

MacFarlane, who was 10 at the time, told the YouTube channel Absolute Crime: "[The area] was very, very rough at the time, so for a little English man to arrive there in an ice cream van, it was a completely incongruous thing to do."

Fred's fascination with teenage girls didn't go unnoticed, and MacFarlane said local gang members had started to take notice. "If you had a complaint about a suspected paedophile you could actually approach the gang members who would sort them out for you," he recalled.

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He said gang members soon started sniffing about the area where Fred usually sold his ice cream. He and his friends were even approached by a senior gang member asking about the paedophile's whereabouts.

Moments later the would-be killer showed up in his ice cream van at the exact same spot. "The guys saw him and that was their chance," MacFarlane recalled.

"They all ran towards the van [with] these big knives and razors. Fred saw this, panicked, and sped off."

Fred also drew attention to himself by fatally running over a four-year-old boy in The Gorbals, and though he wasn't charged over the death, it didn't sit well with local residents. It has long been thought the road accident had caused the killer to flee Scotland in favour of Bishop's Cleeve, Gloucestershire.

It was there he first met Rosemary Letts, who he would eventually marry, when she was 15 and he was 27. A young Rose wasn't initially interested in Fred's advances, but his flattery ultimately won her over and the pair tied the knot in 1972.

Shortly after beginning their relationship the murderous duo began their killing spree, committing some murders together and others individually. Among their victims were Rena and her daughter Charmaine. Fred and Rose's daughter, Heather, was also one of their eventual victims.

The killer was finally arrested at the family home he and Rose moved into together in Cromwell Street, Gloucester, in 1994. The property was branded the "house of horrors" after police found body parts stashed in the garden and the walls.

The tools they used to torture the sufferers were also buried at the house.

Fred died in prison while awaiting trial on January 1, 1995. Rose was convicted of 10 murders in October of that year, landing her a life sentence.

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