I pretended to mourn Fred West’s death after I told bullies he was my uncle

As a young girl, Charlotte was taunted by ruthless school pals who often asked her how many bodies were buried in her back garden.

Despite not being related to notorious serial killers Fred and Rose West, she shared the same surname, and that made her a prime playground target.

By her own admission, she also looked like Wednesday Addams, something which she was already picked on for before the House of Horrors hit the news.

But after months of relentless mocking, Charlotte West stunned her classmates when she pretended Fred West was her uncle.

All of a sudden, the bullying stopped and she started to walk to class with a swagger.

But in January 1995, Charlotte's dark joke escalated when Fred took his own life before he could face trial for killing 12 people.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Star, Charlotte, now 34, said: “Kids used to say, ‘Ugh, you are related to Fred West’ and they would say, ‘Oh I wouldn’t go to your house for a barbecue’.

“They also asked how many bodies were in my back garden and they called me Fred when we played chase or sometimes Heather [the couple's first victim].

“It didn’t bother me but after a while I got annoyed because it was constant.”

Charlotte, who was only seven at the time, was assured by her family that she was not related to the infamous couple.

But one day in class she decided to tell a lie to get the other kids to back off.

She remembered: “I was sitting in class and this boy came along and she said, ‘Oh Fred, can I borrow a rubber?’

“He then asked if I really was related to Fred and I turned around and said, ‘Yes, he’s my uncle’.

“I said it without smiling and looked him dead in the eye and he took a step back and everyone fell silent.

“They didn’t mention Fred again until he died.”

And from that memorable moment, everything changed.

Charlotte, now a mum who works in a hardware store, said: “I’m glad I said it because it put a stop to it.

“It made me feel… not powerful but I kind of became a little bit smug and I came in with a bit of a gangster’s walk and with a bit of an attitude.”

But Charlotte panicked when Fred West then took his own life from his cell at HMP Birmingham.

She recalled: “I heard the news over the Christmas holidays and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my god’ because I knew it was going to be mentioned in school.

“I got to school and people were like, ‘I’m so sorry about your uncle’ and I felt like I had to keep it up.

“I was like, ‘Thanks so much, difficult time’ and I felt really awkward having to pretend to mourn a serial killer.”

Charlotte eventually moved out of Somerset and she now lives with her family in Ireland.

And although people don’t bring up her surname as much now, it remains a topic of conversation.

She laughed: “I will still get some who give a ‘Ooooh’ when I say my full name and I think ‘here we go again’.

“I’ve had this for 30 years.”

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