Police forensic teams searching cafe for Fred West ‘victim’ Mary Bastholm remove FIREPLACE in cellar as hunt for body enters third day
- Forensic archaeologists searching cafe for Mary Bastholm removed the fireplace
- Teams continue to work around premises of the Clean Plate Cafe in Gloucester
- Fred West was a regular at the eatery and may even have laid the concrete floor
Forensic archaeologists searching a cafe for Fred West ‘victim’ Mary Bastholm have removed the fireplace in the cellar.
Forensic teams continue to work around the premises of the Clean Plate Cafe in Southgate Street, Gloucester, with the hunt entering its third day.
Fred West was a regular at the eatery and may even have laid the concrete floor after Mary Bastholm vanished 53 years ago, aged 15.
Three forensic archaeologists at the Clean Plate are using geophysical survey equipment, requiring the fireplace needs to be dismantled, police have confirmed.
‘They are using geophysical survey equipment and in order for this work to be done a fireplace needs to be dismantled,’ a spokesperson said.
‘We can confirm the ongoing activity at the location today relates to ongoing assessments and not excavation work.
Mary Bastholm disappeared on January 6th 1968 while waiting for a bus in Bristol road, Gloucester, near the junction with Tuffley Avenue.
She was on her way to visit her boyfriend in Hardwicke and was carrying a Monopoly game in her bag. Monopoly pieces were later found near the bus stop by police searching or Mary.
Serial killers Fred and Rosemary West are long believed to have played a part in the death of Mary Bastholm, 15, (right) who vanished aged 15. The locket she wore as a bridesmaid at her brother’s wedding (pictured right) was found in their house
New drone pictures directly above the Clean Plate Cafe on Southgate Street show that police have put up forensic tents at the front and rear of the property
Schoolgirl Mary served tea, cake and sandwiches in the Gloucester eaterie then called ‘The Pop In’ and now called ‘The Clean Plate’
Her disappearance has remained a mystery ever since although there has been much speculation over the years since Fred West’s murders were revealed in 1994 that she could have been one of his victims.
She had worked as a waitress at the cafe, then called the Pop In, and West was a customer.
Locals have claimed that Fred West could have used a second cafe to murder and dispose of victims, The Sun reports.
West jointly owned The Green Lantern in Gloucester with his father-in-law and used it to lure schoolgirls, it was claimed.
The cafe, which has now been demolished and had flats built on the site, in on the same street as the Clean Plate.
Mary Bastholm: The teenage cafe waitress who may have been a victim of notorious serial killer Fred West
Mary Bastholm was a 15-year-old schoolgirl who went missing in her home town of Gloucester in 1968.
The teenager worked at The Pop In Café where she worked as a waitress. Serial killer Fred West was known to have frequented the cafe at the time he was abducting women around Gloucester.
In January 1968, Mary had finished a shift at the cafe and was on her way to visit her boyfriend in nearby Hardwicke when she disappeared. She is believed to have been waiting for a bus at the time.
It is also believed that West offered her a lift, before murdering her and disposing of her body – which has never been found.
Her parents, Doreen and Christian Bastholm, said in 1970: ‘She went out about between 10 and quarter past seven with a carrier bag with a Monopoly set in to catch the 25 past bus at the end of Tuffley Avenue. And that was the last we saw of her.’
Though her body has never been found, it was reported that West admitted to killing her while on remand in prison, prior to his suicide in January 1995.
West, who admitted killing 12 victims and may have murdered 20 more, was also said to have laid the concrete floor at The Pop-In cafe just weeks before she disappeared 53 years ago.
Earlier this week Sniffer dogs reacted when in the basement and a scanner able to penetrate stone picked up a ‘suspicious object’ under it, it is said.
Police are at the cafe, now known as the Clean Plate Cafe, and have erected a tent at the rear of the property.
This week Gloucestershire Police revealed that they were examining the Clean Plate Cafe after the makers of a TV documentary about the killings of Fred and Rose West informed them they had found ‘possible evidence to suggest a body could be buried within the property.’
A tent was put up outside the front of the city centre premises yesterday evening. Evidence bags and boxes were seen being loaded into a police van.
Gloucestershire Police described the excavations as ‘a significant development’ which could take weeks to complete.
The cafe – then named the Pop-In – was a known haunt of West. Mary worked there at the time she disappeared. Although West is said to have admitted while in prison that he killed her, no trace has been found.
West was a regular at the cafe which was a five-minute walk from his home at 25 Cromwell Street, the infamous ‘House of Horrors’ where many of the victims were killed and buried.
He is believed to have laid the concrete floor at the cafe just weeks before Mary was reported missing.
Mr West said that police searched the cafe after his tip-off in 1994 it ran out of money to begin excavating the basement.
Yesterday afternoon, an officer from West Mercia Police gave Mr West a briefing on the investigation at his home.
Gloucestershire Police have insisted that there has never been enough evidence until now to justify a search of a city centre cafe for the body of teenager Mary Bastholm, who went missing 53 years ago.
The force has issued a statement in response to comments about its refusal on past occasions to search the Clean Plate Cafe, particularly in 2012 when an online petition was raised calling on it to do so.
The statement was made this afternoon, 24 hours after the Constabulary announced that it has begun investigations inside the cafe where Mary Bastholm once worked as a waitrress and mass-killer Fred West was a customer.
The police statement says ‘At the time of the original Fred West investigation and in response to the 2012 online petition, it was deemed there was insufficient evidence that Mary Bastholm was buried at the location.
‘The reasons behind the 2012 decision were documented in an open letter from former Chief Constable Tony Melville. In the letter he addressed all the points that had been raised.
‘He also stated that if any fresh evidence came to light, Gloucestershire Constabulary would welcome the opportunity of reviewing it and taking appropriate action.
West, who admitted killing 12 victims and may have murdered 20 more, was also said to have laid the concrete floor there just weeks before she disappeared 53 years ago
In April Sir Trevor McDonald was seen in the village of Brockworth (pictured) outside Gloucester, where West had lived on a caravan park in 1966, months before he murdered his first victim, Anna McFall, who was strangled, dismembered and buried with her fingers and toes removed. His ITV documentary is believed be about West’s early years of crime
This afternoon a tent was placed outside ‘The Clean Plate’ cafe in Gloucester where specialist teams and an archaeologist are scanning the basement for Fred West’s missing victim
‘Potential new evidence has come to light recently and we are currently carrying out extensive enquiries as a result.
‘The Fred West inquiry was the biggest investigation the Constabulary has ever undertaken but also the most harrowing and we are proud of the professionalism, dedication and sensitivity shown by all those who were involved in it at the time.
‘The case has left an indelible mark on so many in Gloucester, but for those who worked on the case what they dealt with will live with them forever.
‘During the course of the investigation into Mary Bastholm’s disappearance over 250 different lines of enquiry were pursued. Following a complete review of the missing person file during the West inquiry, over 100 people were interviewed.
‘Some people in the original enquiry, who may have been of assistance, were found to have died. Despite these enquiries no evidence was found at the time to support arresting Fred West in connection with Mary Bastholm.
Police outside The Clean Plate cafe where officers are reportedly digging for Mary Bastholm, who vanished in 1968 and is feared to be a victim of Fred West. It is half a mile from West’s now demolished home
Fred West being handcuffed and led out of court after his pre-trial, shortly before he killed himself in his cell on New Year’s Eve 1995
A chilling look at the Wests’ basement, which they used as a torture chamber for their victims, which included their own children
‘Fred West was questioned about her disappearance in interview but he denied any involvement. He said that Heather West was his last victim and that he had committed no other murders.
‘During his last interview at Gloucester Police Station on 13 May 1994, Fred West denied he had anything to do with the murder.
‘Fred West was interviewed on a total of 151 occasions. The total length of these interviews was approximately 110 hours.
‘The Constabulary’s current focus is the potential evidence discovered by the production company at the Clean Plate cafe last week and that is where our resources are being directed.
‘We plan to continue forensic assessments at the location until Monday, before a more considered decision around the extent of excavation can be made.’
Police searching the gardens of 25 Cromwell Street in search of more evidence following the arrest of Fred and Rose West in 1994
A man carries the remains of a body found in the Wests’ garden in Gloucester during the police investigation
THE TRAGIC VICTIMS OF THE HOUSE OF HORRORS MURDERERS
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 warped 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.
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