Fred West: 'Evidence' to suggest body buried in Gloucester cafe where Mary Bastholm worked

Police searching for Mary Bastholm - feared to be one of Fred West's murder victims - have found what they believe is "possible evidence" to suggest a body is buried beneath a cafe where she worked.

The evidence suggests a body could be buried inside the Gloucester cafe where missing 15-year-old Mary had worked and serial killer Fred West was a customer.

Gloucestershire Police had received possible evidence from an ITV documentary crew to suggest the body of the missing teenager could be buried at the location.

Officers have said excavation work will now begin on the site.

Mary Bastholm was reported missing in January 1968. Credit: PA

A statement from Gloucestershire Police said: "The detective leading the investigation at the Clean Plate cafe in Gloucester says that excavation work will now take place following assessments at the scene."

Forensic archaeologists have already been undertaking exploratory work at the Clean Plate cafe in Southgate Street.

Ms Bastholm’s family said in a statement: "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.

"We are extremely happy Gloucestershire Constabulary is continuing to try and search for Mary and this gives us a chance to potentially put her at rest after all these years."

Her family added: "We hope this is a chance to finally get closure for Mary and would like to continue to ask for privacy whilst the excavation is ongoing."

Reports suggest Fred West was a regular customer at the cafe in Southgate Street where Ms Bastholm worked.

Ms Bastholm was reported missing in the 1960s and she was last seen at a bus stop in Bristol Road, Gloucester, on 6 January 1968.

She had been waiting for a bus to see her boyfriend in Hardwicke, after finishing her shift at a cafe in Southgate Street.

Her boyfriend, Tim Merrett, told ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn that she’d been heading to see him and they planned to play Monopoly together.

"She was coming down to see me because my motorbike at the time was off the road and I was working on it so she was coming down to the house where I lived and just never arrived."

He added: "She was carrying a monopoly game which was my game which we’d taken to her place and played it she said she’d bring it down with her so we could have a game of that but they never found that."

The latest development comes after new evidence emerged in the case of missing teenager Mary Bastholm, who worked at the cafe before her disappearance in 1968.

Police sealed off the Clean Plate Cafe after new evidence emerged suggesting a body may have been buried inside. Credit: BPM Media

This included an image of what appeared to be blue material buried in one area of the cellar. Mary was wearing a blue coat when she went missing.

No trace of the 15-year-old was ever found before but it was reported Fred West admitted to killing her while on remand in prison, prior to his suicide in January 1995.

He had been due to face 12 charges of murder relating the bodies of young women found buried at his home at 25 Cromwell Street, his previous home in Midland Road and two fields in Much Marcle.

His wife Rose was later convicted of 10 counts of murder, and is currently serving a full life term at New Hall Prison in Wakefield.

Detective Chief Inspector John Turner said: "The analysis from our experts and the material provided by the production company means there is enough evidence to justify excavation work beginning."

Detective Turner added: "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.

The police force added: "Forensic archaeologists have today (Monday May 17) confirmed that there are a number of structural anomalies within the cellar that warrant further exploration."

"The work will last several weeks but will not begin until at least Wednesday (May 19) while final assessments are made.

"Mary’s family have been updated with this information and are supportive of the activity taking place. They continue to receive support from family liaison officers."