It is ‘quite remarkable how the West family managed to both
avoid and bypass existing child protection systems’, concludes the
independent inquiry into the West case.
Warning bells should have sounded over the family’s 31 visits to
hospitals in 20 years with injuries.
Family members, including Fred West, were treated for thrush,
and one girl had bruises and scratches around her breast and
another minor had gonorrhea.
None of the injuries were reported to social services. There
were also frequent referrals of children because of squints, and
many required speech therapy.
Records show the need for speech therapy was put down to a lack
of parental care.
The Bridge report says explanations for the injuries given at
the time now seem unconvincing.
Information was recorded in several different medical files,
preventing the possibility of detecting anything untoward.
An incident in December 1987, when Fred West told a teacher he
had ‘laid out’ his son, should have been reported to social
The West children never disclosed to teachers any other
information about the abuse they were suffering.
In 1988, when the children were aged between four and 15, social
services received an anonymous call saying the children were being
A social worker visited the home and found the children well and