Fred West news live: Rose West’s ex-lawyer says ‘voids’ under cafe unlikely to be linked to serial killer

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Fred West news live: Rose West’s ex-lawyer says ‘voids’ under cafe unlikely to be linked to serial killer

The grave equipment was brought to Fred West’s location when the search for the cafe was due to begin

Police have started digging the basement of a Gloucester cafe to look for the body of Mary Bastholm, an alleged victim of serial killer Fred West.

Forensic archaeologists are at the Clean Plate Cafe on Southgate Street in connection with the disappearance of the teenager who was last seen alive in January 1968.

Gloucestershire Police may have received evidence from a television production company suggesting the missing girl’s body may be buried on site.

Investigators found a number of structural anomalies in the basement warranting further investigation, and six cavities in the floor are being investigated. West, who died in prison in 1995 at the age of 53, was previously suspected of Mary’s disappearance.

Former Rose West attorney Leo Goatley, however, told The Independent that the “loopholes” were unlikely to be linked to Bastholm.

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Uniformed search officers arrive at the café

According to our off-site reporter, uniformed police officers have arrived at the Gloucester cafe, which is at the center of the latest police investigation.

Photos show a line of officers entering the white tent erected at the front of the building and an officer guarding the rear of the property.

Police officers enter the Clean Plate Cafe on Southgate Street

(Getty Images)

A policeman is on duty at the rear entrance of the café

(AFP via Getty Images)

Tom BatchelorMay 19, 2021 12:43 PM

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Mary Bastholms family hope for “closure”

Mary Bastholm’s family, who disappeared in 1968 at the age of 15, have issued a statement on the recent Gloucester investigation, hoping this would lead to a “closure”.

“We are very happy that Gloucestershire Police are still trying to find Mary and this gives us an opportunity to possibly calm her down after all these years,” the family said.

“We hope this is a chance to shut Mary down for good and would like to continue to ask for privacy while the excavation continues.”

Tom BatchelorMay 19, 2021 12:35 PM

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The police missed the opportunity to get Rose West to speak about the disappearance of Bastholm, says the former lawyer

Former Rose West attorney Leo Goatley has suggested that police could have used her young age in 1968 as mitigation but missed their opportunity to get them to speak out about Mary Bastholm’s disappearance.

“I don’t think Rose West is going to say anything,” he told The Independent. “I think Fred would have looked after her if she had been involved – and I believe she was involved in Mary Bastholm’s disappearance.

“She would have been only 14 when Mary Bastholm disappeared.

“I think the opportunity is now probably missed, but it could have been explained to Rose that her involvement in it was almost a victim, an involuntary instrument of Fred West.

“Of course, that kind of explanation cannot possibly apply to later murders, but I think it would have been an extenuating factor, it might even have been a certain compassion.”

Chiara GiordanoMay 19, 2021 Sep 12

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Cafe in the center of the police excavation: “It’s an extraordinary twist of fate”

The Nelson Trust, the charity that runs The Clean Plate Cafe, which is the focus of today’s excavation, has declined to comment on recent efforts to dig in voids under the property.

Forensic archaeologists have confirmed that there are a number of structural anomalies in the basement warranting further investigation, and six cavities in the ground are being investigated.

Detective Chief Inspector John Turner, who is in charge of the investigation, said Fred West was a regular at the cafe – then called Pop-In – and knew Mary West when she was a waitress there.

In a statement to the media last week, The Trust said: “Our thoughts and condolences go out very much to the families affected by this long and tragic story.

“As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we did everything possible to start the investigation. The cleaning plate will remain closed until all required activities are completed.

“It is an extraordinary twist of fate that this building, now tied to a story as tragic as the victims of Fred and Rosemary West, is part of a charity that works to help women at risk of violence are.

“At The Nelson Trust we work hard to support women who have experienced violence so that they can lead lives in safety, away from the stress and trauma that violence causes for their victims and survivors.

“From our Women’s Center in Gloucester, we support women with diverse and complex needs, women and girls who, unfortunately, are often the most vulnerable to sexual and other forms of violence.”

Tom BatchelorMay 19, 2021 11:42 am

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“I would be surprised if café gaps had something to do with Fred West’s handicraft,” says Rose West’s former lawyer

Former Rose West attorney Leo Goatley, who represented her between 1992 and 2004, said he would be surprised if the “voids” discovered in the basement of Cafe The Clean Plate were linked to serial killer Fred West.

He told The Independent, “I hope they find something, but I think the fact [they’ve found] Six gaps I think this is coincidental, I’m sure this is some kind of architectural remnant.

“I would be really surprised if it had something to do with Fred West’s handicraft.

“That doesn’t mean he didn’t leave anything behind when he worked there, but I think the schedule for his work there is highly speculative and I’m not convinced it’s related to the disappearance of Mary Bastholm.”

Rose West’s ex-attorney, Leo Goatley, who is on-site in Gloucester

(The Independent)

He said there could be “many other explanations” for the loopholes found in the basement of the cafe where missing teenage girl Mary Bastholm once worked, as there are Roman ruins in Gloucester.

But he admitted that the fact that the material found on site was blue – the same color as the clothes the 15-year-old was wearing when she disappeared – was “a good start”.

Mr. Goatley added that he hoped Mary’s family could get “some kind of comfort” if any remains were discovered on the property.

He said, “I think it would bring a deal, this word is being played around, it would provide some kind of answer that might offer some kind of consolation.

“I think knowing is better than not knowing.”

Chiara GiordanoMay 19, 2021 11:29 AM

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Drilling equipment brought to the cafe

Contractors were seen entering the café with digging tools (see post at 10 a.m.).

Pneumatic drills, shovels and thick black bags were brought into the cafe on Wednesday morning as the investigation speeded up.

Contractors arriving at The Clean Plate cafe on Southgate Street in Gloucester

(PA)

The grave equipment was brought to Fred West’s location when the search for the cafe was due to begin

Tom BatchelorMay 19, 2021 11:18 am

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Former Rose West attorney said a re-investigation of the missing teen is unlikely to resolve the case

Former Rose West attorney, who along with her husband Fred tortured, raped and murdered an unknown number of women over a period of 20 years, said his former client was unlikely to collaborate with investigators looking into the body missing teenage girl Mary Bastholm.

Speaking to Sky News, Leo Goatley said, “I don’t think it’s going to get anywhere unless she has had a big change in the way she thinks. She built this great wall and she won’t want to visit any horrors in her past.”

Tom BatchelorMay 19, 2021 11:05 am

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How a Trevor McDonald documentary sparked a police investigation

Police announced they were digging up the basement of a cafe in Gloucester after a documentary crew presented them with possible evidence that a teenager whose disappearance has been linked to serial killer Fred West was buried under it.

The crew reportedly investigated a number of potential burial sites associated with Fred and Rosemary West, including one with 15-year-old Mary Bastholm, who disappeared in 1968 while making a sequel to the 2019 documentary Fred & Rose West: The true story with Sir Trevor McDonald.

The production company working on the documentary alerted the police that they had found blue material in the basement of the cafe, and then the police began using “ground penetrating radar” and tracking dogs to investigate the area.

Here’s more about the story:

Tom BatchelorMay 19, 2021 10:54 am

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Locals unimpressed by excavation work when cafe cavities were examined

It was fairly quiet at the crime scene in the heart of Gloucester this morning when police began excavating at The Clean Plate Cafe, where six “cavities” were found in the basement floor, he writes Chiara Giordanowhich is located outside the premises.

There was a steady stream of locals walking the city center thoroughfare, but most seem to have gotten used to the large white tent that stands outside the cafe and few stop to survey the scene.

A large black van is in front of the shop and blocks the view of the entrance of the tent, where the officers arrived earlier today.

Tom BatchelorMay 19, 2021 10:28 am

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How the Gloucester investigation is developing

Fred West’s home, now known as the House of Horrors, was located near the Gloucester cafe that is currently being excavated.

Here is a map that describes the scene where the police start digging.

Tom BatchelorMay 19, 2021 10:20 am