No human remains found in search for suspected South Shields Fred West murder victim Mary Bastholm

Police hunting for missing South Shields teenager Mary Bastholm have – long suspected of being a victim of serial killer Fred West – have said no human remains have been found while excavating a cafe.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 11:19 am
The scene in Gloucester. Inset: Mary Bastholm

Gloucestershire Police began excavation work earlier this month after receiving information from a production company making a documentary that human remains could be buried in the cellar of the Clean Plate cafe in Southgate Street.

Mary, 15, who was last seen alive in January 1968, was born in South Shields but moved to Gloucester with her family.

She worked as a waitress at the Pop-In cafe, which was located on the same site as the Clean Plate.

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Police activity at the rear of The Clean Plate cafe in Southgate Street, Gloucester where excavation work is to begin after police found "possible evidence" of where a suspected teenage victim of serial killer Fred West may be buried. Forensic archaeologists have been undertaking exploratory work in connection with the disappearance of 15-year-old Mary Bastholm who was last seen alive in January 1968. Picture date: Wednesday May 19, 2021.

Serial killer West, who died in prison in 1995 while awaiting trial accused of 12 murders of women and girls, knew Mary and was a known customer of the cafe.

A Gloucestershire Police spokesman said: “Excavation work at the Clean Plate cafe has now been completed and we can confirm no human remains or items of significance to the investigation have been found.

“Mary’s family have been updated and is continuing to receive support from family liaison officers.”

In a statement, Gloucestershire Police said: “Excavation work at the Clean Plate cafe has now been completed and we can confirm no human remains or items of significance to the investigation have been found.

Contractors arriving at The Clean Plate cafe in Southgate Street, Gloucester where excavation work is to begin after police found "possible evidence" of where a suspected teenage victim of serial killer Fred West may be buried. Forensic archaeologists have been undertaking exploratory work in connection with the disappearance of 15-year-old Mary Bastholm who was last seen alive in January 1968. Picture date: Wednesday May 19, 2021.

“Digging to access and examine six areas of interest or ‘anomalies’ in the cellar area began last Wednesday.

“The anomalies were identified by a team of expert forensic archaeologists and anthropologists ahead of the excavation work, with the experts able to determine that the remaining areas of the cellar had been undisturbed since prior to 1968, when Mary Bastholm disappeared.

“Each area was carefully examined by the forensics team with support from officers from the Constabulary.

“The team worked each day, everything that was dug up was analysed on site and all activity was meticulously logged and photographed.

A police-issued photograph of Fred West.

“Mary’s family have been updated and is continuing to receive support from family liaison officers.

“The cafe will be handed back to its owners once reparation work is completed.”

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