Mary Bastholm's former boyfriend Tim Merrett recalls night of her disappearance

Credit: PA

Tim Merrett was waiting for his girlfriend Mary Bastholm to get off the bus but she never arrived.

53 years later he tells ITV News: "It’s always in the back of your mind and you find yourself still looking everywhere you go to she if she’s around".

On the eve of Gloucestershire Police revealing the latest in their investigation into 16-year-old Mary’s disappearance, her then boyfriend has told ITV News how sad he is that "her parents didn’t get a final closure" before they died.

Tim Merrett is now 72. He left Gloucester in the 70s but has never forgotten the awful events of January 16, 1968 - when Mary vanished.

He said: "I had some closure when the police said they’ve put her death down to Fred West because the coincidences were too great... the police were obviously linking the two [Fred and Mary] because he didn’t disclose all of his victims."

Fred West

Mary was last seen at a bus stop in Gloucester. She’d been heading to see her boyfriend Tim 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."

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

Tim used to go to the Pop In cafe where Mary worked as it "very much a bikers cafe and I was a biker in those days".

He told ITV News: "I used to go in there with a group of lads... usually weekends or days off but not on a regular basis and not daily."

He says he didn’t know Fred West and didn’t know he’d been a regular at the cafe.

He says that when the killer’s horrifying crimes became public knowledge West’s face was not someone he recognised.

He hopes that questions over Mary’s death will one day be answered and that he "sorry this ever happened".