A New Zealand TV show fell victim to a dark joke this week after being duped into wishing serial killer couple Fred and Rose West a happy wedding anniversary.
The unwitting presenters of Breakfast accidentally paid tribute to the nefarious duo during the show’s celebratory ‘Today’s the Day’ segment.
An image of the Wests popped up on screen soundtracked by Sister Sledge’s ‘We Are Family’ – seemingly as part of a macabre prank performed by a viewer.
After failing to recognise the serial killers – which is unsurprising given how the Breakfast show is broadcast 11,000 miles away from where the Wests’ crimes took place – the presenters proceeded to congratulate them on three decades of marriage.
“Today is the day that Francis and Violet Eastwood celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary,” said the co-host, with the Wests’ faces on screen.
“This is their children’s favourite photo of them, taken on their honeymoon way back in 1990.”
The presenters also said that “adoring” children had described them as “the most caring parents they could ask for.”
Network TVNZ has since apologised.
General manager of corporate communications, Rachel Howard, told The New Zealand Herald: “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.
“Jenny-May [the host of the show] 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.”
Fred and Rose West are two of Britain’s most infamous serial killers – responsible for the murders of at least nine young women between 1973 and 1987.