Search begins for suspected Fred West victim, Mary
Objects have been removed from a cafe in Gloucester ahead of excavation work at the site where police have found “possible evidence” of where a suspected teenage victim of serial killer Fred West may be buried.
Forensic archaeologists have been undertaking exploratory work at the Clean Plate cafe in Southgate Street in connection with the disappearance of 15-year-old Mary Bastholm who was last seen alive in January 1968.
Gloucestershire Police had received possible evidence from a TV production company to suggest the body of the missing teenager could be buried at the location.
One of the findings presented to police was a photo taken by the production company of what appeared to be blue material buried in one area of the cellar. Mary was wearing a blue coat when she went missing.
Forensic archaeologists have confirmed that there are a number of structural anomalies within the cellar that warrant further exploration.
On Tuesday, police were seen carrying objects including a number of wooden doors out of the cafe. The force has confirmed that excavation work will not begin until at least Wednesday.
Detective Chief Inspector John Turner said on Tuesday: “The analysis from our experts and the material provided by the production company means there is enough evidence to justify excavation work beginning.
“I’ve spoken to the family and was so impressed by their quiet dignity and gratitude for all the work we’ve done and will be doing.
“They understand it is possible we won’t find human remains but they also know that we will do everything we can to establish if Mary is buried at this location.
“This will be slow and painstaking work but we have the best people on it and I can reassure our communities that all involved, from my team of investigators, our scenes of crime officers, search officers and family liaison officers to the forensic archaeologists who will continue their work, are absolutely committed to the job ahead.
“In the meantime, I continue to ask for patience and understanding from all those affected by our ongoing presence at the cafe and thank everyone who has helped us in the last 10 days.”
In a statement issued through police, the teenager’s family said: “Senior investigating officer John Turner has sat with us and explained the ongoing investigation as well as his intentions to excavate the cafe to try and find Mary.