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Fred West: How a Trevor McDonald documentary sparked a police investigation

·2-min read
 (PA)
(PA)

Police have announced that they will excavate the cellar of a Gloucester café after a documentary crew presented them with possible evidence that a teenager whose disappearance has been linked to the serial killer Fred West is buried beneath it.

The crew are said to be investigating a number of potential burial sites which have been connected with Fred and Rosemary West, including one associated with 15-year-old Mary Bastholm who vanished in 1968, as they film a follow-up series to the 2019 documentary Fred & Rose West: The Real Story with Sir Trevor McDonald.

The production company working on the documentary alerted police that they had found blue material buried in the cellar of the The Clean Plate on Southgate Street, police say, which was known as the Pop In café when Ms Bastholm worked there in the late 1960s.

The force then began to investigate the site with “ground-penetrating radar” and sniffer dogs, later confirming that they had found “structural anomalies” that “warrant further exploration” and will begin an excavation of the site to establish whether there are human remains present.

Mary Bastholm, aged 15PA
Mary Bastholm, aged 15PA

ITV, who distributed Sir Trevor’s initial documentary on Fred and Rosemary West, say that that their television crew discovered the potential evidence that sparked police investigation.

They also shared photos of the former newsreader filming in Brockworth, a village outside Gloucester.

In his initial documentary, Sir Trevor visited 25 Cromwell Street, where the serial killer couple carried out the majority of their twelve known murders and buried some of the young women’s bodies.

But questions have always remained about the number of the Wests’s victims, particularly as Fred West took his own life before he could be tried in 1995.

In 2012, a petition was launched urging police to investigate the site of the Clean Plate café in connection with Mary Bastholm’s disappearance, but it was deemed that there was insufficient evidence to suggest she was buried at the location.

Former Chief Constable Tony Melville said in a on open letter that if fresh evidence came to light, that Gloucestershire Constabulary would take appropriate action.