A breakfast TV show has been pranked into wishing a happy wedding anniversary to Fred and Rosemary West, two of the worst serial killers in UK history.
The two presenters of Today’s the Day were none the wiser when a viewer sent in a picture of the two notorious murderers, who killed at least 12 women, including their daughter between 1967 and 1987 and asked them to wish the couple a happy 30th wedding anniversary.
The presenters were told that the people in the photograph were called ‘Francis and Violet Eastwood’ and that the photo was taken on their honeymoon in 1990. On of the co-hosts Jenny-May Clarkson said “Your adoring children Dan, Rachel and Edwin, who 'say you're the most caring parents they could ask for.” Laughing, Indira Stewart, the other host added “Get that afro though.”
The embarrassing gaffe has since been seen around the world leading the general manager of the network to offer an apology. Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Rachel Howard of TVNZ said “An image of Rosemary and Fred West was sent into the Breakfast team along with a false back story for our Today's the Day segment. Unfortunately, this wasn't caught before going to air.”
She added, “We sincerely apologise to our viewers who saw this error on screen. Jenny-May spoke to our viewers as soon as the mistake was realised and noted that we take responsibility for getting things right and we are now adding extra steps to make sure we're not taken advantage of in this way again. We are disappointed someone chose to mislead us when this daily segment is an opportunity for our audience to share their positive news”
The couple were actually married in 1972 and were eventually apprehended and charged in 1994. Fred West died from suicide in prison in 1995. Rosemary West is still alive and serving a life sentence in prison. Many of their victims were buried in their house and garden in Crowell Street, Gloustershire.