Police Force Slammed For 'Glorifying Killers' After Charging To Spend Night In Fred West's Cell
Hmm, let's have a think about what could we spend £75 ($98) on. Fifty of Greggs' beef chilli bakes for a start... Add £2 to that and you could fly to Italy for three nights (price subject to change).
Or you could even bag yourself a sleepover in Fred West's former (12ft x 12ft) prison cell - but you'd have to bring your own inflatable mattress, sleeping bag and pillow.
Romantic, eh? Well, anything but to be honest. The calls offer either a single wooden bench OR floor level wooden platform - if we've ever been spoilt for choice, this looks like the time.
But some people aren't happy about this offer, and now West Midlands Police force has been slammed for 'glorifying killers' by putting the tickets on sale ready for Halloween.
The spooky ghost hunt - funds from which will go to modern-day slavery charity Hope for Justice - will be held at the notorious Steelhouse Lane cells in Birmingham. The very place where mass murderer Fred West was held in the police station before being transferred to Winson Green prison in the city where he hanged himself on New Year's Day 1995.
In advertising material for the 31 October sleepover, the force boasts: "This event provides a unique opportunity to spend an entire night on a Ghost Hunting Mission within the Victorian Lock Up in Birmingham City Centre on Halloween.
"These cells were occupied by none other than the original Peaky Blinders, Fred West and many more. Be there if you dare!"
What more could you want on Halloween? I mean there's even a loo in each cell so you can piss in front of the person you're sharing with... or worse.
The night-long event starts at 7.30pm and includes ghost stories and tales about the cell's most notorious criminals.
Attendees will be assigned cells which can accommodate two people and measure just 12ft by 12ft before being plunged into complete darkness from 1.30am.
Just what you need after a pleasant evening of horror tales. That toilet will definitely be put to the test.
Guests will be locked in until 7am the next day when they will be given breakfast. Ah, at least breakfast is included, that must be where the £75 comes in... oh wait, it's tea and toast.
The event, for 18s and over, also stipulates that 'no alcohol or drugs are allowed in the cell block'. That's a different sort of sleepover altogether.
Killer West hanged himself in Winson Green Prison on New Year's Day 1995 as he awaited trial for 12 murders.
His wife Rose is serving a full-life term in Low Newton Prison for her part in ten of the
murders, including that of her own 16-year-old daughter Heather.
Police uncovered a number of mutilated female bodies in the garden and cellar of 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester.
The Halloween event has been slammed by residents, with some branding it 'highly insensitive' and 'glorifying killers'.
Mum-of-three Victoria Sanderson, 45, of Edgbaston, Birmingham, said: "It's fine to hold a fun ghost hunting event but I think the police have gone too far promoting the fact that Fred West was once in their cells.
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"How on earth will the families of those people he murdered feel about the fact that he is being celebrated in this way, and by the police?
"It's very distasteful and highly insensitive to the victims and their families."
Writing on Facebook, Andrew Tabin said: "Roll up roll up pay £75 to stay in Fred West's prison cell! Just shows how desperate the police are to make a few bob they've resorted to pimping out a murderer's cell!"
Also commenting on Facebook, Greg Yates wrote: "Get haunted by Fred West's ghost and wake up under the patio! What the hell are the cops playing at?
"I wonder if you get a 'I survived a sleepover in Fred West's cell' T-shirt afterwards? Glorifying criminals is possibly the worst look for a police force to have."
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police later commented: "The Ghost Hunting Mission within the Victorian Lock Up in Birmingham city centre, run independently of West Midlands Police, is an event to raise money for modern slavery charity Hope for Justice.
"Steelhouse Lane is where Fred West was held in custody in the 90s and his name was used alongside the Peaky Blinders to promote this worthy cause.
"On reflection the organiser of the event has agreed that using his name was insensitive and has therefore removed it from any advertising of this event."
Timetable for Steelhouse Lane Halloween Ghost Hunt:
7.30pm - 7.55pm: Check In time for Hunters
8pm - 8.10pm: Welcome to The Lock Up and Safety Briefing
8.15pm - 8.40pm: Tales From the Cells - story of the cell block presented by WMP Police Museum volunteers.
8.40pm - 8.50pm: Health and Safety brief from Ghost Company
8.50pm - 9.40pm: Ghost Hunting Activities Session 1
9.40pm - 10.30pm: Ghost Hunting Activities Session 2
10.30pm - 11pm: Break
11pm - 11.50pm: Ghost Hunting Activities Session 3
11.50pm - 00.20am: Close down and photo
00.20am - 01.30am: Free time - over an hour of free time... if only you weren't in prison.
1.30am: Lights off
7am: Breakfast in the block (tea and toast provided)
8am: Break out from the lock up.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS