Britain: Decades later, the scariest pair of serial killers haunt another city

A fifty-year-old riddle is being revived by police excavations in a cafe in the quiet English town of Gloucester

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The girl is believed to have been one of the victims of the infamous serial killer Fred West, but her body was never found.

West and his wife, whom he met the following year after the 15-year-old's disappearance, were to "win" the title of the worst couple of serial killers in its history Britain.

According to police, the week of excavations at the Clean Plate Café, in the heart of the historic city, was ineffective: "no human remains or significant items" were found. However, the search "awakened" painful memories.

More than 25 years after their revelation crimes shocking the United Kingdom, many questions remain unanswered.

Fred West has been convicted of 12 crimes despite suspicions of abduction, rape and murder of other young girls by the couple. The serial killer committed suicide at the age of 53 before the trial, taking many secrets to his grave. .

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Six of the innocent victims of the fatal coupleCNNi

His wife, Rosemary, known as Rose, was convicted of 10 crimes in November 1995. He is still in prison, where he will remain until his death. She has never admitted her guilt and refuses to reveal anything about the crimes.

Heather's murder in 1987 was both the couple's last - believed to be the one that led police to uncover the heinous crimes. Many wonder how the killers remained free for so long. Most of their crimes were committed in the 1970s, but only in August 1992, when the five West children fled to the authorities with allegations of abuse by their parents, horror began to spread. Young innocent girls were abducted, tortured, raped, murdered, dismembered and buried under the noses of a resident , which is still haunted by the huge impact of the revelation of what was happening in the West House. Heather West disappeared on June 19, 1987 but no one ever announced her disappearance. In the following months, social workers who cared for the other five children of the family witnessed a "family joke" that wanted their sisterto be buried in the patio of the house. In the summer of 1993, the police found out.

It took six months to issue arrest warrant at the family home since 1972, at 25 Cromwell Street.

The father initially claimed to have seen his daughter recently, but the next day admitted that he had killed her. He was arrested on February 25, 1994. As the search continued and the father constantly changed the story and the mother denied any involvement, police found in the garden of the house, in addition to remains that belonged to Heather, several other members belonging to other victims. .

On February 26, Fred confessed two more murders, a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old, members of which were also in the garden, and a week later admitted nine more murders.

Its victims were aged 15 to 21 and their dismembered remains were buried in various parts of the house.

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From the macabre police investigations at that time.AP Photo / Martyn Hayhow

Naturally, the story captivated the country's media and many TV crews "moved" in front of the house of horror. "It was a huge story," recalls journalist Chris Summers, who at the time worked for the Gloucester Citizen newspaper. Within a week, television synergies from Japan and the United States had flooded the region. "Everyone was talking about it."

Stunned viewers watched from their screens black boxes containing human limbs being transported from home. Everyone wanted to know more about how this could have happened. "Girls were disappearing, one after the other, and gradually their remains began to appear. It was really incredible. "

Details that later came to light revealed two "sexually sadistic" killers.

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Rose West will remain in prison for the rest of her life.AP Photo

Unlike the other victims, Heather died because she was a threat. She had started talking to her friends about the sexual abuse suffered by some of the children of the family by the father and had announced plans to flee. The search at 25 Cromwell Street lasted 55 days. Then the property was demolished. In April 1994 the investigations On May 25, Jermaine, the 4-year-old daughter of Fred's first wife from his first marriage to Catherine Costello, was found dismembered under the kitchen. Rosemary had killed her in June 8, and Fred was serving a prison sentence for theft. When she was released, he helped her hide the body. The 1971-year-old's disappearance was never reported. Fred then led police to a field outside the city. There were the remains of Costello and another woman, Ann McFall, nanny of the family and mistress of Fred, who was pregnant when he was murdered. Despite pointing to her burial place, West denied that he had killed her. This was the last human finding in the case. It is believed, however, that there are still many victims to be discovered.

When Fred West was found dead in his cell on 1η In January 1995, the reactions were mixed. Although some felt relieved, many, especially the relatives of the victims, felt betrayed by justice.

Ten months later, Rosemary was brought to justice for ten murders. The trial was described as "particularly dramatic". The woman heard her sentence unspoken. An appeal was rejected in 1996 and the following year her sentence was commuted to "life imprisonment".

Despite the trial, many questions remained, both about the whereabouts of the other victims and the responsibilities of the authorities. The killings have also raised the issue of young women disappearing in recent decades. A total of 110 missing persons were found at that time as a result of the authorities' investigation. The couple's victims were mainly girls from vulnerable backgrounds. They were abducted while waiting at a stop or hitchhiking. The couple's horrific acts were the result of the worst possible combination: as children, they had both been incested and abused. Fred West was a sadist, a voyeur, a serial killer, a psychopath with distorted sexual appetites. Rose West was his eager apprentice. The outbursts of her rage were unthinkable. Today, 67 years old, she still refuses to break her silence. Meanwhile, the case has covered Gloucester and its approximately 120.000 inhabitants with a heavy shadow. Before this case, it was a "forgotten city". , ignored by tourists for the sake of the nearby most impressive Cheltenham. Even today it seems as if the West's case has not left anyone unaffected.

Gloucester Cathedral.Wikipedia

The unanswered questions about her disappearance Marie Bastholm as a result her family and those who knew her are still in agony.

Her parents and most recently her brother, Peter, passed away without knowing her fate.

Those who worked for her excavation in the cafe are disappointed with the result.

The teenager's extended family is still without closure, now the police are sure that he is not buried under the cafe where he once worked. "Everyone working on it is disappointed that we did not find Maria," Assistant Chief of Staff Craig Holden said on Thursday. "Being able to bury Marie's family after more than 50 years has always been the most important reason for our excavation. Says Craig Holden, head of research. "I hope that the demolition of this place brought some peace to her family."

Britain's worst serial killers haunt a city, decades after their grisly crimes, by Laura Smith-Spark, CNN