Is Appropriate Adult based on a true story?

The drama first aired back in 2011

Francesca Shillcock

ITV are certainly on a roll with their true crime recently. Thanks to the recent success of gripping yet equally terrifying drama Des starring David Tennant, Daniel Mays and Jason Watkins, as well as documentary Rose West & Myra Hindley: Untold Story, the channel has provided plenty of fascinating true stories for viewers to be engrossed by.

MORE: Viewers criticise ITV documentary Rose West & Myra Hindley: Untold Story

Now, ITV are once again focuses on the heinous crimes committed by the Wests' in Appropriate Adult – a dramatisation telling the story of social worker Janet Leach and how she became involved in their case. But is the drama based on true facts, and was Janet Leach a real person? Find out the facts here…


Emily Watson takes on the role of Janet Leach


Who is Janet Leach?

Janet Leach is a social worker who was known for her role as the "appropriate adult" in the Gloucestershire murder case committed by notorious serial killers Fred and Rose West. The role of an appropriate adult is typically given to a person under the age of 18 who has committed a crime and is then questioned by police to help them understand the legal process better.

In the West case, Janet was brought in to aid Fred due to his illiteracy and the severity of the charges against him. Janet knew nothing of the criminals before taking on the job and, as the series portrays, she suffered great distress both during and after the role. Janet ended up spending a total of 400 hours with Fred and he grew attached to her and would refuse to speak to police without her present, leading her to cause controversy by keeping contact with him after her work was done.


Dominic West plays serial killer Fred West

However, the social worker was adamant this was due to her keenness to finding out more. On the case, she said in the past: "I was desperate. I couldn't sleep at night. I kept having nightmares about all those poor girls in the cellar. But I felt I had to keep talking to Fred. Otherwise, how would their families ever know what had happened to them?"

Is Appropriate Adult a true story?

The ITV drama is based on the true events that occurred at the time. Janet was in fact a real social worker and did aid Fred West during his questioning as the programme portrays. However, a former police officer who worked on the case did admit that the series had "exaggerated" Janet's role for dramatic effect, but they did admit the portrayal of Fred and Rosemary was "hauntingly accurate".


The drama is based on true events

When were Fred and Rese West arrested?

Fred and Rose were arrested and investigated in 1992 for murder among other horrific crimes and were subsequently charged and jailed in 1994. It was thought that the pair had murdered more than ten young women, as well as abusing their own children, between the years of 1971 and 1987.

Where are Fred and Rose West now?

In January 1995, Fred committed suicide in prison. Rose is still incarcerated and serving a life sentence at HM Prison New Hall in West Yorkshire after being convicted for sexual assault and murder.

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