Police will not dig at farm where Fred and Rose West allegedly buried victims

Police will not dig at farm where Fred and Rose West allegedly buried victims
Police have been urged to dig up three sites, in Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire

Police have reportedly ruled out suggestions to dig up land at a farm in Berkeley, where as many as 20 more victims of Fred and Rose West are believed to have been buried.

A documentary to be aired by ITV next week claims that there is evidence that the sadistic serial killers and child abusers murdered more young women and girls than originally thought.

The couple are known to killed 12 people between 1967 and 1987 for which they were charged in 1994.

However, the documentary team, led by former DCI Colin Sutton and presenter Sir Trevor McDonald, believe there are up to 20 more victims whose bodies are yet to be discovered at three sites – two in Hertfordshire and one in Gloucestershire.

At one site, a farm on the outskirts of Berkeley in Gloucestershire, a dozen more bodies are believed to be buried.

Multiple sources, who had been in contact with the Wests in the 1990s, had told the investigators that more bodies could have been hidden on the farm.

Janet Leach, a social worker who was Fred West’s “appropriate adult” during police questioning, said that he had told her there were many more bodies of young women and girls from Hertfordshire buried at “the farm”.

She said, as the Daily Mail reported: “Fred told me there were another 20 bodies to be found after the 12, some in fields, the rest in the barn.

“Fred said some of the victims’ bones were missing because it was a ritual thing and they did something with the fingers so there was no way of finding out who they were.”

A pair of West’s former employers, Wendy and Derek Thomson, claim that he had told them he had “done something in Berkeley”.

The programme claims, after a seven-month-long probe, that potential burial sites have been uncovered using ground penetrating radar and dogs trained to detect human remains.

Sir Trevor has urged police to investigate and excavate the site, saying that “there is still much more to the murderous campaign of Fred and Rose West.”

It comes after police spent at least £55,000 to excavate land at a cafe in Gloucestershire in May.

Fred West is thought to have killed teenager Mary Bastholm in 1968 and hid her body at the Clean Plate Cafe, originally named Oasis Cafe, in Gloucester. But the investigation that involved digging the cellar found no trace of any bodies.

Now, Gloucestershire Police are ruling out the possibility of digging up any more areas, according to Gloucestershire Live.

A police spokesperson said, according to the news website: “After careful assessment we do not believe the evidence submitted to us at this time meets the threshold to justify further searches in the locations identified.

“However – as with all cases – we will review any new evidence submitted to us.”

The other two sites the investigation team had urged police to excavate are located in Fingerpost Field near Much Marcle, Herefordshire, a village where Fred West was born and had grown up.

He buried his first known victim, 18-year-old Anne McFall, in the same field that the investigators want to dig in.

He also disposed of the body of his first wife, Catherine ‘Rena’ Costello, in the nearby Letterbox field.

Both of the women’s remains were discovered in 1994, the year before Fred West killed himself in prison before he stood trial. Before his death, he admitted to killing all 12 women and girls.

Rose West was convicted of being involved in the murder of 10 women and girls, including her and Fred’s daughter Heather – who was killed by her parents after revealing to her friends that she was repeatedly raped by her father.

Also among her victims – who were all buried under their homes on Midland Road and at 25 Cromwell Street, both in Gloucester – was her husband’s step-daughter Charmaine, who was eight-years-old and whose mother was Rena Costello.

Rose West is still alive and serving a life-long sentence in a prison in West Yorkshire.