Sister of Rose West’s victim Lucy Partington, 21, reveals she wrote to her sibling’s killer in prison to ‘relieve her suffering in some way’ and told murderer: ‘May you be free from fear’

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Marian Partington, now 75, who lives in Oxford, reveals she wrote a letter to her siblings killer to 'relieve her suffering in some way'

The sister of Lucy Partington, who was murdered by Fred and Rose West, reveals she wrote a letter to her sibling’s killer to relieve Rose’s ‘suffering in some way’.

Marian Partington, now 75, who lives in Oxford, was 26 when Lucy disappeared, and it wasn’t for another 20 years, that she finally found out what had become of her younger sister. 

In a BBC podcast Forgiveness: Stories from the Front Line host Marina Cantacuzino, founder of The Forgiveness Project, finds out how Marian came to terms with the horrific death of her beloved sister and how she managed to find a way to forgiveness.   

Lucy, 21, was in the final year of her English Literature degree at the University of Exeter when she vanished on December 27, 1973. 

Lucy had been abducted, gagged, raped, tortured and murdered by Fred and Rose West, before she was dismembered and buried under concrete in their house in Cromwell Street in Gloucester.

Marina said: ‘I found myself writing a letter to Rosemary West, I wanted her to know the journey I had to go on because of what had happened to Lucy, and I wanted her to know that I did not wish her ill. 

‘I think I ended the letter with, “May you be free from fear”. So I wrote this letter but I didn’t choose to send it for four more years because I wanted to feel sure that when I sent it I wasn’t expecting a reply. 

‘And indeed the reply came from the prison authorities saying she doesn’t wish to have any further contact.’

Marian said she was ‘deeply shocked’ to learn about Rose’s crimes at the trial and that forgiveness did not come easily. 

She said: ‘I was deeply shocked at the trial by Rosemary’s ability to lie, we sat through it and she was sitting there glaring, there was a sense of anger there.

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‘We heard about what was found in Lucy’s grave, there was the masking tape, gag that she was silenced with, there was a knife.’

However as she heard Rosemary’s testimony she decided to make a commitment to try and forgive her. 

She said: ‘Forgiveness began for me with murderous rage, and I felt there were many raw deep emotions to experience before that word could get a look in really.

Marian Partington, now 75, who lives in Oxford, reveals she wrote a letter to her siblings killer to ‘relieve her suffering in some way’

Lucy, 21, was in the final year of her English Literature degree at the University of Exeter when she vanished on December 27, 1973

Lucy, 21, was in the final year of her English Literature degree at the University of Exeter when she vanished on December 27, 1973

‘But I had a feeling that this was the only way out, it’s about developing a forgiving heart, until I got to a place where I could genuinely experience authentic compassion for Rosemary West. 

‘I genuinely saw the cage of her suffering, and I saw the greed, the hatred and the ignorance, what the Buddha calls the three poisons. 

‘She’s demonised, she’s hated by society and I just wished that the thought I was having might relieve her suffering in some way.’

Marian wanted to keep the memory of Lucy alive through writing but this also helped with her process of forgiveness. 

She said: ‘I needed to put something of beauty out there and the beauty was a description of my sister Lucy’s life, and I needed to give it a name and it was called Salvaging the Sacred. Lucy has to have the last word.’

Lucy had been offered a lift by Fred and Rosemary, as she made her way home from a friends house.

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Rosemary was found guilty on 10 charges of murder the same year and is currently serving a life sentence

Rosemary was found guilty on 10 charges of murder the same year and is currently serving a life sentence

Fred and Rose West tortured and murdered at least 10 women over a 20-year period between 1967 and 1987

Fred and Rose West tortured and murdered at least 10 women over a 20-year period between 1967 and 1987

Marian, who became a Quaker after Lucy’s death, revealed how her family found out about Lucy’s murder. 

She said: ‘She actually choose to become a Catholic five weeks before she was abducted, raped tortured and murdered.

‘I was in work and I noticed in the newspaper that there was this story emerging about a couple called the Wests and they had found three bodies in the garden and we all had a sense it might have something to do with Lucy.

‘Rosemary West lived on the bus route that she would have gone on to get home, the night she didn’t make it home.

‘I said to my mum to get in touch with the police and she did, and then the next day they said they had some news for us. That’s when it all went into slow motion.

‘They said Fred West had been talking to them and admitted there were more bodies in the basement and one of them was called Lucy.’

Lucy had been abducted, gagged, raped, tortured and murdered by Fred and Rose West, before she was dismembered and buried under the concrete in their house in Cromwell Street in Gloucester (pictured)

Lucy had been abducted, gagged, raped, tortured and murdered by Fred and Rose West, before she was dismembered and buried under the concrete in their house in Cromwell Street in Gloucester (pictured) 

Police excavating the garden of 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester were bodies were found in 1994

Police excavating the garden of 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester were bodies were found in 1994 

For a year after the finding, Lucy’s remains were needed as an exhibit for the defence. 

However Marian felt an instinctive need to go to the mortuary in Cardiff to hold and wrap her sisters bones. 

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She said: ‘It was about reclaiming what was left of her, from the wretched hole that she had been buried in for years.

‘I was astonished by the beauty of her skull, I lifted it out and kissed her brow. We had two soft toys and a blanket that had been on Lucy’s bed all those years. 

‘We put them either side of her skull and wrapped her in this soft brown blanket before putting it back in the box.

‘I wanted to describe this because in the depths of horror there can be beauty.’

The couple tortured and murdered at least 10 women over a 20-year period between 1967 and 1987.

The serial killer couple were arrested in 1994, after previous unsuccessful attempts to prosecute them.

Fred was charged with 12 murders, but took his own life before the trial in 1995.

Rosemary was found guilty on 10 charges of murder the same year and is currently serving a life sentence.

Marian previously said she delved into the details of Rosemary’s childhood in an attempt to gain some understanding of how she could inflict such abject cruelty on others.

Speaking on the BBC Inside Out West documentary, she said: ‘I have details about Rosemary West’s childhood – the violence in the family, the neglect and the abuse, and [I have tried] to imagine what would it be like to grow up with very little love,’ she said.

‘I can’t see how there can be any cruel actions that haven’t got a root in something else, something that has happened in somebody’s life.

‘But then people will always say that’s not an excuse.’

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