Fred West: Police search cafe for remains of girl, 15, feared to be serial killer's victim

11 May 2021, 12:53 | Updated: 12 May 2021, 10:12

By Asher McShane

Police are at a cafe in Gloucester searching for the remains of a missing 15-year-old girl who is feared to be a victim of serial killer Fred West.

Schoolgirl Mary Bastholm was last seen on 6 January 1968 waiting for a bus to go and see her boyfriend. Her body was never found, with her parents passing away before discovering what happened to her.

Police have not begun excavating the basement of the Clean Plate cafe in Gloucester, where Mary worked as a waitress, and will likely remain at the site for a number of weeks.

Police have begun searching for a possible further victim of Fred West
Police have begun searching for a possible further victim of Fred West. Picture: PA

Police said they were called to the cafe on May 7 by a production company filming a documentary. They reported how they had found possible evidence to suggest a body could be buried within the property.

Gloucestershire police said in a statement: "Police activity will be taking place at a location in Gloucester for a number of weeks following a recent discovery. On Friday 7 May officers were called to a café in Southgate Street by a production company filming a documentary."

Searches under way at the cafe in Gloucester
Searches under way at the cafe in Gloucester. Picture: LBC

"They reported how they had found possible evidence to suggest a body could be buried within the property. Detectives attended and the Major Crime Investigation Team has deemed that further assessments are required in order to determine whether an excavation is necessary."

"Family Liaison Officers have now been put in place to provide support and updates to Mary’s family as enquiries continue. Investigating officers expect to be at the location, which is at The Clean Plate café, for a number of weeks."

Mary Bastholm was last seen on 6 January 1968
Mary Bastholm was last seen on 6 January 1968. Picture: PA

Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said: “This could be a significant development on a case which has gained a lot of public interest over the years. On the basis of the information provided to us, we consider this to be new and potentially important evidence."

Serial killer West, who died in prison in 1995 aged 53, was previously suspected over her disappearance. Rose West is currently serving a life sentence and will die in prison.

Along with his wife Rose, West tortured, raped and murdered an unknown number of women over a 20-year period.

He was charged with 12 murders, but committed suicide in a Birmingham prison before his trial. Rose was convicted of 10 murders in November 1995.

Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said: "This could be a significant development on a case which has gained a lot of public interest over the years.

"On the basis of the information provided to us, we consider this to be new and potentially important evidence in the case of Mary Bastholm, however further detailed assessments will take place over the following few days to determine the extent of excavation needed.

"First and foremost our thoughts are with Mary’s family and we would ask that their privacy is respected at this difficult time.

"This news may understandably alarm those who work near to the premises, as well as those in the wider Gloucester community and beyond. 

"The Constabulary has always said any fresh evidence would be reviewed. This has happened and a focussed and proportionate investigation will now take place."

Police said anyone with any new information relating to the disappearance of Mary Bastholm should visit this link and reference incident 99 of 11 May.