Video footage has been released by Gloucester Police showing the cellar being excavated beneath Gloucester’s Clean Plate cafe in the hunt for missing Mary Bastholm.
Mary Bastholm, a suspected victim of serial killer Fred West, went missing in Gloucester in 1968 and officers have been searching the cellar of the premises where she used to work, as they look for the body of the 15-year-old.
Police were contacted on May 7th by a TV production company who were filming at The Clean Plate cafe in Gloucester and as a result six parts of a toilet area at the premises are being excavated.
West, who took his own life in 1995 before he could stand trial for the murders of 12 women and girls, was a regular at the cafeteria, which was then called the Pop-In Cafe.
Gloucestershire Police have been in contact with Fred West’s son Stephen, who said his father admitted killing the teenager.
Initial searches of the cellar area unearthed what looked like blue material. Miss Bastholm was wearing a blue coat, a blue and white dress and was carrying a blue bag on the day she went missing, the force said.
Detective Chief Inspector John Turner said the excavations would reveal “once and for all” if the teenager’s remains were buried there.
Mary was reported missing on 6 January 1968 and has never been found. She was a waitress at the Southgate Street cafe – then known as the Pop In – when she vanished on her way to visit her boyfriend in Hardwicke. What happened to her has never yet been established but police began searching the cafe basement after a TV production crew brought in a specialist sniffer dog and ground penetrating radar.
Serial killers Fred and Rose Rose West
Former ITN newscaster Sir Trevor McDonald is working with the production company on a programme focussing on Mary’s disappearance following speculation and information from Fred West’s son that he killed her.
One of the findings presented to police was a photo taken by the production company of what appeared to be blue material buried in one area of the cellar.
Video of the cellar
On Monday May 17th forensic archaeologists confirmed to police that there are a number of structural anomalies within the cellar that warrant further exploration.
Following a review of the analysis Gloucestershire Constabulary approved excavation work to begin to establish if any human remains are present. The work will last several weeks.
Area being excavated
Police said Mary Bastholm’s family have been regularly updated and are supportive of the activity taking place. They continue to receive support from family liaison officers.
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.
“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.”
Mary’s family issued the following statement: “Senior Investigating Officer John Turner has sat with us and explained the ongoing investigation as well as his intentions to excavate the café 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.
“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.”
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