No plans for search at 'other locations' for possible Fred West victim as cafe excavation ends

Investigation works being carried out at the cafe. Credit: PA

Police say they can now be confident missing teenager Mary Bastholm is not buried in the cellar of a Gloucester city centre cafe after an extensive search was carried out.

Police confirmed “other locations” have been brought to their attention by a film crew but say there are no plans to excavate any other sites.

A search started at The Clean Plate Cafe earlier this month after an ITV documentary crew found "possible evidence" of human remains.

The site has long been linked to missing Mary Bastholm who worked there when she disappeared in 1968, when it was known as the Pop-In cafe. Serial killer Fred West was known to be a regular customer.

Police say they are "disappointed" not to have found Mary's remains but added the "methodical" and "meticulous" search means the cafe can be eliminated from the investigation once and for all.

During a press conference on Wednesday 27 May, Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holdon said: "Each area of interest, identified by a team of nationally recognised experts, has been methodically and meticulously investigated.

"No human remains or items of relevance to our enquiry were found."

Mary Bastholm was last seen alive waiting at a bus stop in Gloucester. Credit: PA

A piece of blue material identified was thought to be key, because Mary was wearing a blue coat when she went missing.

ACC Holdon said police did not find a material but established it was likely to be connected to a buried pipe.

"The pipe was recovered and our excavations went beyond the original endoscope depth," he said.

He added: "Everyone working on this is disappointed that we didn’t find Mary. Allowing her family to finally lay Mary to rest after over 50 years was always the most important reason for our excavation.

"Our thoughts are with Mary’s family, whose continued dignity over recent weeks and many years before, has been humbling.

"I am now confident that Mary is not buried in the cellar of the café and I hope that eliminating this location will bring some comfort, however small to her family."

The excavation has already cost the force around £55,000, but with additional invoices still to come in it is expected to rise to between £60,000 and £70,000.

ACC Holdon defended the decision to excavate the site, saying the information provided by the production company was "significant".

He added: "We have always been clear that we may not find Mary’s remains. Sadly that proved to be the case, but it does not mean we were wrong to look – the new information made it the right thing to do.

Forensic archaeologists had been excavating the Clean Plate cafe in Gloucester over the disappearance of 15-year-old Mary Bastholm in 1968. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

"I hope there is some consolation for local people. We have finally answered whether Mary’s body was under a busy café in the centre of Gloucester – in that respect people can be assured.

"Our gratitude once again goes to the local community for their patience and understanding during our investigation. We don’t underestimate the disruption caused by our work and the feelings this will have evoked for many.

"Gloucester has once again come under the national spotlight due to the legacy of heinous crimes committed many years ago. The victims and their families will never be forgotten."

Read more: