Fred and Rose West may have killed ‘first victim as couple’ in sick ‘initiation’

Fred and Rose West's "first victim as a couple" could be buried under a cafe, according to reports.

Police have begun digging at a cafe as they search for the remains of suspected victim Mary Bastholm, who vanished in Gloucester aged 15.

Officers have "potentially important evidence" linked to the missing girl, with one saying: "This could be a significant development."

Mary was 15 when she vanished from a Gloucester bus stop in 1968 while on her way to visit her boyfriend.

It had long been rumoured evil Fred knew the youngster as he often visited the cafe where she worked.

Rose's former lawyer Leo Goatley told the Mirror that the teenager could have been the couple's first murder together as an "initiation" for Rose into being serial killers.

He said: "I think there is evidence the Mary Bastholm murder was (Rose's) initiation into the whole thing.

"It is not like the Pop In cafe was not on the police radar right from the start.

"In fact, I believe they have been in there before but without clear evidence could not pull a going business apart.

"I think Mary was a sore point because there was so much compelling evidence that Fred and even Rose West were involved in her disappearance."

He went on: "I just hope the police do find ­something that finally gives closure for the surviving members of Mary’s family."

  • Rose West's former lawyer thinks Mary Bastholm was her first victim as search continues

Rose West was convicted of 10 murders, while Fred was charged with 11 murders but killed himself in jail before the case went to trial.

But the body of Mary Bastholm has never been found. Fred made cryptic hints that he had killed her but did not divulge any information beyond the claim he buried the body on farmland near Bishop's Cleeve, a village near Tewkesbury.

  • Fred West police digging under cafe for missing girl feared murdered by serial killer

Before he killed himself the monster is believed to have told his son Stephen that he murdered Mary.

Her family have gone more than 50 years without finding out what happened to her.

Gloucestershire Police Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said: "This could be a significant ­development.

"On the basis of the information provided to us, we consider this to be new and ­potentially important evidence in the case of Mary Bastholm."

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It has also been rumoured the serial killer, a builder and odd job man, filled in the basement at the Pop In cafe.

This is the first time a detailed search of the property, now the Clean Plate Cafe, has taken place after a former police chief insisted in 2012 there was "no evidence" Mary was buried there.

A white tent was erected outside the building and officers were seen carrying out evidence bags.

The dig is expected to last a number of weeks.

Mary's family have repeatedly asked Rose to break her silence on the case but she has so far refused.

Evil Rose is one of just two women serving a whole-life tariff in the UK, the other being Joanna Dennehy, meaning they will never be released from prison.

Sources confirmed her brother Peter died last year aged 75. In one of his final appeals, he said: "I think Rose knows exactly what happened to Mary.

"Whether she will ever disclose it I really don’t know."

Fred and Rose, 67, buried most of their victims in the basement of their home in Cromwell Street or at Fingerpost and Letterbox fields.

There was no trace of Mary at any of those sites.

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