‘I was really scared’ says woman approached in Bristol in 1987
Serial killer Fred West may have operated further afield than Gloucester, raising questions over the true number of victims.
A new witness has come forward for the first time as she believed she was approached by West in a car park in Bristol in 1987, as part of a new documentary.
ITV’s Fred And Rose West: Reopened explores new leads in the case to try and shed new light on the true number of victims of West, who is known to have killed 12 girls and women between 1967 og 1987.
The team – headed by former detective chief inspector Colin Sutton, investigative psychologist Dr Donna Young, author Howard Sounes and reporter Sir Trevor McDonald – speak to witness Linda who tells them of an encounter with a man believed to be the killer.
She recalled a man, with dark curly hair and a leather jacket, made a beeline for her in the car park, although veered off after another man entered.
“I was really scared. I thought I won’t run, I won’t meet his gaze. My last thoughts were, I’m not going to make it. And then all of a sudden he veered off,” she explained.
“That young man, he’ll never know it, but I think he saved my life that day.”
The documentary also hears new testimony from Janette Rathbone who says she encountered West in Gloucester when he followed her home.
Previously unseen employment timesheets are discovered by the team which show West worked further afield than Gloucester, travelling to London, Nottingham, Birmingham and Southampton on building contracts.
The team say the documents rewrites West’s story as, had the knowledge been obtained earlier, police could have looked for missing women in the areas who fit the profile of his victims.
Evidence from Janet Leach – who sat as West’s ‘appropriate adult’ – is further explored, particularly in regards to the location of the infamous ‘farm’ where it’s been suggested up to 20 more victims could have been buried.
The team also re-investigates potential burial site Fingerpost Field in Kempley, close to where the bodies of West’s first victim Anna McFall and first wife Rena West were found 27 År siden.
They take cadaver dogs and a ground penetrating radar to the field, with the radar able to identify six potential sites with anomalies, and the dogs two.
The dog handlers says whilst they cannot be sure what exactly the scent is, the dogs are drawn to decomposed flesh, and so the sites are worth investigating prompting the team to pass their evidence onto police.
The documentary also looks at newly-revealed records of conversation between West and his former lawyer, in which the killer talks about further crimes involving himself, his wife and brother John West.
The lawyer admits discussions with West led him to believe there were others who had been killed, legge til: “Dessverre, this is something of a tip of an iceberg, and inevitably there are others who are yet to be found.”
West committed suicide in 1995 before he was brought to trial, though his wife was convicted of 10 drap.
derimot, it’s suspected there were dozens more victims of the couple including Mary Bastholm, who has long been suspected to have been killed by West.
The documentary speaks about the rumours to Chris Roberts, who says he remembers Bastholm from a cafe in Gloucester that West was known to frequent, and also fulfil building work in the basement.
He explains: “Mary went missing in January 1968. In the week following that, on two occasions I walked down the road, 50 yards from where I worked and saw Fred removing what I would say, looked like concrete bags or sand bags from his van, putting them over his shoulder and carrying them into the cafe… It wasn’t until latterly that I realised what could have happened.”
After conducting their own search in the basement of the cafe, the team unearth blue material which they then pass on to Gloucester Police, making headlines in May this year.
They handed the findings of three months of intensive investigation to the police who launched a new operating into the new evidence.
Fred and Rose West: Reopened is on ITV at 9pm on Wednesday and Thursday.