THE neatly shaped and carefully composed writing leaps from the page.
In crisp sentences, the writer tells of her joy at attending her book club.
“I love stories, I like hearing stories being read, and also I have enjoyed taking part,” she writes.
“It’s really good to be able to join in with something that doesn’t mean too much stress.”
The author of the upbeat note is serial killer Rose West, whose own story is the stuff of nightmares.
Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the day police finally came knocking on the door of Rose and husband Fred’s house at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester.
Detectives would eventually discover the remains of nine female victims at what was dubbed the House of Horrors.
Fred, facing charges for 12 murders, killed himself while awaiting trial.
Rose was convicted of ten murders and has spent the past 26 years behind bars.
As one of only two women in the country serving a whole-life sentence, she will never be released.
Her decades behind bars, in a handful of women-only prisons, have been shrouded in mystery and the subject of much speculation.
For the past two years she has been held at HMP New Hall near Wakefield, West Yorks, in a highly secretive unit.
If the absence of detail suggests a stark existence in custody, insiders say nothing could be further from the truth.
West lives in comfort while refusing to help police investigate rumours that 20 forgotten victims of her and husband Fred are buried in fields.
And as long as she remains silent, the families of those who perished at the hands of the evil couple will never find peace.
Over many months, The Sun has spoken to a number of well-placed sources who paint an extraordinary picture of West’s cushy prison regime.
Their accounts detail how Britain’s most notorious female prisoner spends her days with book clubs, knitting, painting and watching TV, steering clear of “too much stress”.
Documents seen by The Sun show West was invited to a special book group session to “boost inclusivity” by creating an “enabling environment”.
People probably think West is banged up in a bare cell like on TV. It’s nothing like it. Her life is as good as it gets in prison.
One source said: “People on the outside probably think Rose West is banged up in one of those bare cells like the ones you see on TV.
“Let me tell you, it’s nothing like it. Her life is about as good as it gets in prison. In fact, it’s probably better than for some of your readers on the outside.”
Now 67, West was transferred from Durham’s Low Newton prison to New Hall in June 2019. That was her first jail move for 11 years.
It came as a shock to West, who was close friends with a number of other inmates, even sharing recipes for her favourite Victoria sponge cake.
A source told The Sun: “She was really settled in Durham.
“She’d spent 11 years there after moving from Bronzefield (in South West London) where prisoners were plotting to batter her with pool balls. Low Newton was much safer.”
The move took West to a “peaceful” 30-bed unit at New Hall called Rivendell House, named after the elves’ magical realm in fantasy saga The Lord Of The Rings.
Each prisoner on the unit has a diagnosed personality disorder or has earned “enhanced” privileges, the highest on offer in the prison system
They live in “rooms”, not cells, each equipped with en suite shower, and a “positive ethos” is encouraged by staff.
The unit also boasts a “quiet area” with easy chairs, a leather sofa and views over “rolling green fields”.
It is difficult for myself to leave the unit given my ‘high-profile’ status so it’s really good to be able to join in with something that doesn’t mean too much stress.
Sources have told The Sun that West has lost weight after tipping the scales at 18st a decade ago.
Now a size 16 to 18, she spends up to an hour a day outside on exercise, often with a wildflower book identifying plants in the prison grounds and sometimes taking posies of lavender back to her room.
West no longer bakes her Victoria sponges, although that is not the only change.
Last December we revealed how she had changed her name to Jennifer Jones.
Staff and inmates have been told to refer to her as Jenny or Jennifer ever since.
At the time, West told friends on the unit she wished to distance herself from her husband’s name.
She soon got an opportunity to do so.
In May this year, police began searching for the body of Mary Bastholm, who was 15 when she disappeared in 1968, in the basement of a Gloucester cafe once frequented by Fred.
Her life is probably better than for some of your readers on the outside.
Detectives made it clear they would quiz Rose if they found the teenager’s remains.
But inside New Hall, “Jenny” made light of the grim search.
When a pal asked if she expected to be questioned, she said with a smirk: “Why? I’m not Rose West any more. It’s got nothing to do with me.”
Police did not find Mary’s body and West was ultimately never questioned.
Sources suggest she had privately made it clear to friends she would not have cooperated.
Detectives have also been exploring 20 new potential graves of the Wests’ victims across two locations.
Police dogs at Fingerpost Field near Much Marcle, Herefordshire — the site where Fred West buried his first known victim, 18-year-old Annie McFall — appeared to detect the scent of decomposed flesh.
DCI Colin Sutton revealed in an ITV documentary: “It is a really significant find.”
A derelict farm site in Berkeley, Gloucs, has also been identified as a potential mass grave.
Meanwhile, West’s main interest now is knitting.
She takes time to trust people and will often talk about how people have let her down. It’s disgusting but she often sees herself as a victim in her own drama.
She rarely leaves Rivendell except to take exercise, in winter often wearing a red woollen hat and scarf she knitted herself
This unlikely passion has brought West into conflict with other lags.
She applied to take part in a craft project knitting woollen “angel wings” for bereaved families who had lost their babies at birth
Inmates on the scheme, now discontinued, also gave knitted hats to parents of newborns in “starter packs” in nearby hospitals.
West’s bid to take part in 2019 was met with uproar.
Sources have confirmed her application was rejected and she never took part.
Our source added: “The public would have been utterly appalled.”
West, who spent much of early 2020 shielding as Covid swept the globe, is said to be hooked on hit telly shows Dancing On Ice and Strictly Come Dancing.
Prisoners live in 'rooms', not cells, each equipped with en suite shower, and a 'positive ethos' is encouraged by staff.
“She gets friends on the outside to put votes in for her,” one former friend revealed.
While reports of West forming lesbian relationships with other inmates are wide of the mark, she has grown close to a number of notorious prisoners.
They include Sarah Barrass, convicted in 2019 of murdering her two teenage sons and trying to kill her four other children.
A source said: “Rose forms friendships but is devastated when they are either moved on to other jails or released.
“She takes time to trust people and will often talk about how people have let her down. It’s disgusting but she often sees herself as a victim in her own drama.”
West has found comfort in her book club, known officially as a “readers’ group” inside jail.
Sources say she revels in her notoriety and the perks it brings.
Describing her “feelings” about a book club session, West wrote: “This morning, I took part in the readers’ group that is on the unit.
“I love stories, I like hearing stories being read, and also I have enjoyed taking part.
“It is difficult for myself to leave the unit given my ‘high-profile’ status so it’s really good to be able to join in with something that doesn’t mean too much stress.”
The families of her victims might struggle to agree.
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