Rose West’s nephew was today jailed for 18 years for kidnapping a child off the street, plying her with booze, cocaine and cannabis before raping her.
Steven Letts, 39, pounced on the vulnerable 12-year-old girl in Gloucester city centre but insisted he was a ‘Good Samaritan’ and said he believed she was over 16.
But a jury took just 90 minutes to convict him of abduction and rape after a six-day trial.
Jailing him for 18 years today Judge Jamie Tabor QC branded the career criminal a ‘volatile compulsive liar’.
In a harrowing echo of his despicable relatives Fred and Rose, Letts plied his vulnerable victim with drink and drugs, lured her to his flat, and raped her, in March this year.
Steven Letts, 39, is joining his depraved aunt Rose West behind bars today after he was sentenced to 18 years for abducting a 12-year-old girl in Gloucester city centre and raping her
The pitiless attack was carried out in the same city where Letts’s aunt Rose West operated with depraved husband Fred.
She has been locked up for life for the part she played in the violent murder of ten young female victims in the 1970s.
Steven Letts grabbed the girl from outside a children’s home took her back to his flat, plied her with vodka and cannabis, and then raped her.
The chilling moment he pounced was been captured on CCTV.
At court today he was sentenced not only for those offences but also for an earlier terrifying aggravated burglary of a house in Gloucester when a young couple and their two children were threatened with a knife.
He also had to be sentenced for a series of other unrelated crimes of possessing a knife in public, theft of bicycles, going equipped for theft, possessing heroin, having an offensive weapon, handling stolen goods, and breaching a suspended jail sentence.
Letts refused to be transported to court today for sentencing and instead watched via video link from Bristol Prison.
But during the hearing he got angry and started ranting when Judge Jamie Tabor QC suggested he was lying about having himself been the victim of assaults before both the rape and the burglary offences.
The judge ordered Letts’ microphone be turned off and the hearing continued with him apparently still shouting until he stormed out of the prison video suite.
Announcing Letts’ sentence the judge said he had studied him during the course of two trials and had concluded that ‘he is a very volatile man, he is a compulsive liar and a man steeped in the use of drugs.’
‘He walked out of his first trial when he started to be asked awkward questions by prosecuting counsel and he refused to come to court today. He did appear by video link but then, after a relatively short period, he lost his cool again and started ranting over the video link before going back to his cell,’ said the judge.
The chilling moment he pounced was been captured on CCTV(pictured) – he claimed he was a good samaritan when in fact he was planning to attack her
He said he accepted that the rape victim looked and sounded much older than 12 and her foul language ‘would have made a sergeant major blush.’
‘I am satisfied that Letts believed she was 15,’ he said.
‘But that is the only mitigation I can devine. He told the jury he felt he had a duty of care to her because he was being verbally abused by her carer but I reject that entirely.
Steven Letts is the nephew of serial killer Rose West, who was convicted of 10 murders in 1995. She is pictured with Fred West, who was convicted of 12 murders
‘This was a fairly remarkable comment because he deliberately caused her to leave her carer while in the docks and then a matter of hours later he had taken her back to his flat, given her cocaine, cannabis and alcohol and proceeded to have intercourse with her.
‘To say he had a duty of care towards her was nothing less than remarkable.
‘She was highly vulnerable. Paradoxically, one of her vulnerabilities is that she looked older than she was. ‘
Letts, of Gloucester, is the son of Graham Letts, Rose West’s brother. His mother Barbara Letts has been in the public gallery at court throughout the trial.
During the rape and abduction trial last week Letts accepted that the girl went back to his flat with him but he insisted he had no sexual contact with her.
He said he had not abducted her and that she had latched onto him in the street because her support worker was being bullying and aggressive towards her.
In evidence, Letts claimed he was acting as a ‘good Samaritan’ when he agreed to take the girl home with him.
He had been shocked by the way her carer had been speaking to her and he felt he had a ‘duty of care’ to look after her, he said.
The girl told him when she was at her flat that she was 15, he said. He told the jury he allowed her to stay in the flat for several hours but he intended to take her to a nearby police station and he was arrested as he was about to do so.
Steven Letts is the estranged son of Rose West’s brother Graham (pictured with his wife, Barbara) – who would be aged around 60 today
He had not given the girl drugs or alcohol or had sex with her, he said. But she had abused his hospitality when he was out of his flat on three occasions during that night by helping herself to vodka and a cannabis spliff, he added.
The jury of six men and six women returned guilty verdicts on both charges of abduction and rape within 90 minutes of retiring last week.
Four security officers flanked Letts in the dock as the verdicts were delivered but he remained calm and composed and showed little reaction.
His mother shouted, ‘Fight your corner’ to him as he was taken down to the cells.
Letts’ aunt, Rose West, was convicted in 1995 of the murder of ten girls and is serving a life sentence. Her husband Fred West was facing 12 murder charges when he committed suicide in prison.
THE TRAGIC VICTIMS OF THE HOUSE OF HORRORS MURDERERS
Rose West (left) was born Rosemary Letts in Northam in Devon to William Letts and Daisy Fuller. The majority of the murders occurred between May 1973 and August 1979 at their home in Cromwell Street, Gloucester. Fred West (right) killed himself in Winson Green Prison, Birmingham
Although Fred West was convicted of killing 12 women and Rose 10, the pair are thought to have killed up to 20 more.
One victim who was almost certainly killed by West was his former girlfriend Anne McFall who like the others, was found in a shallow grave with body parts missing. West denied it.
The waped pair used whips to torture their victims as well as their own children.
Fred West committed suicide by hanging himself in a prison cell in January 1995 — before he could stand trial for the murders.
Rose West is still a prisoner at HMP Low Newton in Durham, having been handed a rare ‘whole life tariff’ for her part in the killings.
Confirmed victims include:
Charmaine West, eight: Fred West’s stepdaughter from his first marriage, Charmaine was murdered by Rose in 1971 while Fred was in prison.
Rena Costello, 27: Charmaine’s mother Rena, Fred’s first wife, was murdered when she arrived to pick up her daughter Charmaine in August 1971. With Charmaine already dead, it is thought Fred killed her to avoid an investigation.
Lynda Gough, 20: Miss Gough was a lodger in the West’s home and was killed in April 1973. Rose told her mother she had moved to Weston-super-Mare.
Carol Ann Cooper, 15: The teenager disappeared while walking home from the cinema to her Worcester children’s home in November 1973. Her remains were found buried in the Wests’ garden.
Lucy Partington, 21: After spending Christmas with her family in Cheltenham, Miss Partington disappeared after leaving to catch a bus. The student was the cousin of novelist Martin Amis and the sister of author Marian Partington.
Therese Siegenthaler, 22: The South London student was killed in April 1974 after disappearing while attempting to hitch-hike to Ireland.
Shirley Hubbard, 15: One of the Wests’ youngest victims, she disappeared on her way home from college in Droitwich. When her body was discovered, her head was completely covered in tape with a rubber tube placed in her mouth to allow her to breathe.
Juanita Mott, 18: Miss Mott, a former lodger at 25 Cromwell Street, was living in Newent when she vanished.
Shirley Robinson, 19: Another lodger, Miss Robinson was killed in 1978 after becoming pregnant with West’s child.
Alison Chambers, 17: The teenager disappeared in August 1979 and her remains were later found beneath the patio at 25, Cromwell Street.
Heather West, 17: Repeatedly raped by her father, Heather complained to friends about the abuse and was murdered by her parents in a bid to keep her quiet.