Fred West witness recalls chilling moment he stalked her in Bristol

Fred West witness recalls chilling moment monster stalked her in Bristol as new ITV documentary claims serial killer may have murdered 20 more women across Britain

  • Linda tells ITV’s Fred And Rose West: Reopened that a man approached her in 1987 in a car park in Bristol
  • He veered off when another man walked into the area and she later saw his face on front of a newspaper
  • Documentary claims West operated far beyond the Gloucester area where he murdered at least 12 women
  • Fred And Rose West: Reopened will be broadcast on ITV in two parts, tonight at 9pm and tomorrow at 9pm

A witness has come forward for the first time in a new Fred West documentary to claim how she thought she was going to die after being approached in a Bristol car park by the serial killer.

The woman, known only as Linda, told the makers of ITV’s Fred And Rose West: Reopened that a man in a leather jacket made a beeline towards her in spring 1987 before veering off when another man walked into the area.

She later saw West’s face on a newspaper front page and instantly recognised the murderer, shouting to her husband ‘it’s him’ – and told the ITV documentary that the other man in the car park had ‘saved my life that day’.

Linda’s recollections come as the programme, on air at 9pm tonight, also claimed West may have left as many as 20 bodies across Britain and operated far beyond the Gloucester area where he murdered at least 12 women.

Witnesses and work time sheets lodged by the multiple killer suggest he worked in Bristol, London, Wales, Nottingham, Birmingham and Southampton – prompting fears he may have killed other victims and buried them. 

Linda spoke to former detective chief inspector Colin Sutton in the new programme and told him about her encounter with West 34 years ago, saying it was late morning and she just dropped her daughter off at school.

A witness called Linda has come forward for the first time in a new Fred West documentary to reveal how she thought she was going to die after being approached in a Bristol car park by a man she believed was the serial killer

Fred West was convicted of killing 12 women and his wife Rose West ten, but the pair are said to have killed up to 20 more

The woman, known only as Linda, revisits the Bristol car park and talks to the makers of ITV’s Fred And Rose West: Reopened

Linda said a man made a beeline towards her in spring 1987 in a car park in Bristol, pictured above in the present day

The programme also features new testimony from Janette Rathbone, who told Sir Trevor McDonald that she had a predatory encounter with the killer, when he followed her home in Gloucester.

She said: ‘As I was coming towards this upper car park, I saw a figure. He was standing there with legs astride, leather jacket, dark, curly hair. And as I got to the end here, so he started to walk towards me in a diagonal line.

‘And 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, and as I got to the car I looked up and through the top of the car park, the way I’d just come, a young man was starting to walk down, through.

The victims of the House of Horrors murderers

Fred West was convicted of killing 12 women and Rose ten, but the pair are said to have killed up to 20 more.

One victim who was almost certainly killed by West was his former girlfriend Ann McFall who like the others, was found in a shallow grave with body parts missing. West denied it. The pair used whips to torture their victims including their own children. 

Fred West committed suicide by hanging himself in a prison cell in January 1995 — before he could stand trial for the murders. Rose West is still a prisoner, having been handed a rare ‘whole life tariff’ for her part in the killings. Their confirmed victims include:

  • Charmaine West, eight: Fred West’s stepdaughter from his first marriage, Charmaine was murdered by Rose in 1971 while Fred was in prison.
  • Rena Costello, 27: Charmaine’s mother Rena, Fred’s first wife, was murdered when she arrived to pick up her daughter Charmaine in August 1971. With Charmaine already dead, it is thought Fred killed her to avoid an investigation.
  • Lynda Gough, 20: Miss Gough was a lodger in the West’s home and was killed in April 1973. Rose told her mother she had moved to Weston-super-Mare.
  • Carol Ann Cooper, 15: The teenager disappeared while walking home from the cinema to her Worcester children’s home in November 1973. Her remains were found buried in the Wests’ garden.
  • Lucy Partington, 21: After spending Christmas with her family in Cheltenham, Miss Partington disappeared after leaving to catch a bus. The student was the cousin of novelist Martin Amis and the sister of author Marian Partington.
  • Therese Siegenthaler, 22: The South London student was killed in April 1974 after disappearing while attempting to hitch-hike to Ireland.
  • Shirley Hubbard, 15: One of the Wests’ youngest victims, she disappeared on her way home from college in Droitwich. When her body was discovered, her head was completely covered in tape with a rubber tube placed in her mouth to allow her to breathe.
  • Juanita Mott, 18: Miss Mott, a former lodger at 25 Cromwell Street, was living in Newent when she vanished.
  • Shirley Robinson, 19: Another lodger, Miss Robinson was killed in 1978 after becoming pregnant with West’s child.
  • Alison Chambers, 17: The teenager disappeared in August 1979 and her remains were later found beneath the patio at 25, Cromwell Street.
  • Heather West, 17: Repeatedly raped by her father, Heather complained to friends about the abuse and was murdered by her parents in a bid to keep her quiet.

‘That young man, he’ll never know it, but I think he saved my life that day. I can remember it as being a Saturday morning, and I saw his picture on the front page. It was instant recognition and shouting out to my husband: “It’s him”. Just a frightening prospect that he was out there. There must be others.’

Talking about the timesheets that have prompted new claims, investigative psychologist Dr Donna Youngs said: ‘For me this rewrites the Fred West story in a way.

‘That’s what I’ve not been able to make any sense of, because there has been not enough missing girls in the Gloucester area, but here we have the possible ways he was operating beyond Gloucester.’

And Mr Sutton said: ‘It’s a scary thought. All these locations would have to be looked at for a period in excess of 20 years, missing young women who fit the profile of a Fred West victim. 

‘To do that, to do all that for a whole police squad, I’m not sure the resourcing is there to do it.’

The programme also features new testimony from Janette Rathbone, who said she had a predatory encounter with the killer, when he followed her home in Gloucester.

Ms Rathbone said: ‘I wanted people to believe me. Nobody believed me. I mean, that night my mum and dad were laughing with the policeman, they didn’t believe me.’

Previously unseen documents discovered by the ITV production team also include a witness statement of West’s ‘appropriate adult’, Janet Leach, containing details about a rural location of two more bodies.

In the two-part series, which starts tonight before concluding tomorrow night from 9pm, Mr Sutton’s team uses cadaver dogs and ground penetrating radar to search Fingerpost Field in Kempley, Gloucestershire, where the bodies of West’s first victim Ann McFall and his first wife Rena West were found 27 years ago.

After the radar identified six potential sites with anomalies, the cadaver dog indicated its interest above two sites.

The dog’s handler said: ‘The dog has found scent. We can’t be absolutely sure what the scent is, but the dog is trained on cadaver, he’s trained on decomposed flesh. That’s worth investigating.’

The production team passed their evidence on to police following the examination of the field, with Mr Sutton saying: ‘The cadaver dog has been over all six of the sites here in Fingerpost Field.

‘There were two of the sites one over there and one over there down by the road where he has indicated. That one down there really, really quite strongly, it was difficult to get the dog away.

‘So the handler is of the view that we should excavate those sites as soon as possible and I am absolutely on board with that. It’s a really significant find, a significant piece of work by the cadaver dog. Because the indications that I saw the dogs make were just so very strong.’

The team also explored evidence in Ms Leach’s statement about a possible location of ‘the farm’, where it has long been suggested up to 20 more victims may be found.

When discussing the court transcripts of Rose West’s trial, during which Ms Leach gave evidence, journalist Howard Sounes, who covered the case at the time, said: ‘This is the bound copy of the transcript of Rose West’s trial, the evidence of Janet Leach. 

Sir Trevor McDonald, ex-detective chief inspector Colin Sutton and forensic psychologist Dr Donna Youngs are in the show

Linda speaks to former Metropolitan Police detective chief inspector Colin Sutton as part of the new documentary on ITV

Forensic psychologist Dr Donna Youngs has said how the timesheet discovery ‘rewrites the Fred West story in a way’

Contractors arriving at The Clean Plate cafe in Gloucester on May 19 as excavation work took place after police found ‘possible evidence’ of where 15-year-old Mary Bastholm, a victim of serial killer Fred West, may be buried

‘She was his appropriate adult, so she sat in all of his interviews, and she sees him when the police aren’t there. And as part of her evidence, she alludes to things that Fred told her that he didn’t say to the police.

Mary Bastholm was almost certainly abducted and murdered by Fred West in 1968 but her body has never been found

‘Brian Leveson QC says to her in court, ‘You told my learned friend last week that there were a number of people involved in the killings at Cromwell Street.’

‘…And then she says, ‘Not the ones at Cromwell Street… There was a few involved at the ones in Cromwell Street but the others were at the farm.’

‘[Leveson asks] ‘How many people was he talking about?’ This is the key thing, ie how many more? How many more murder victims are there? And she says sensationally, ‘Another 20.’ On top of the 12 we know about.’

Mr Sounes said she was also asked if she knew whether this was true, and she said she did not.

In the show, the team also studied newly revealed records of discussions between Fred West and his former lawyer in which Fred talked about other crimes involving himself, Rose West and his brother, John West.

Lawyer Howard Ogden said: ‘As Fred’s solicitor, dealing with Fred led me to believe that others had been killed. Sadly this is something of a tip of an iceberg and inevitably there are others who are yet to be found.’

After speaking to Fred West’s former employers, who reveal new information about the description of a building believed to be ‘the farm’, the team tracked down its location, and made inroads to begin a search.

Fred West committed suicide before he was brought to trial, but his wife Rose was convicted of ten murders in 1995. There has however always been a strong belief that there were many more victims.

The team also spoke to Chris Roberts, who told them that he remembered Mary Bastholm, long suspected as being a victim of Fred West, from a cafe in Gloucester that West was known to frequent, and where Mr Roberts claims the killer did some work in the basement. 

Police dig in the rear garden of 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester, where Fred and Rose West lived, in March 1994

Investigators remove remains from 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester in December 1994

Police take out more diggings from inside 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester in March 1994

He said: ‘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 café – which was covered in the media at the time in May – the team discovered evidence of blue material which they then passed on to Gloucester Constabulary, who then launched a major investigation to excavate. However, no human remains were found by the experts.

Members of the family of Ms Bastholm, who was almost certainly abducted and murdered by West in 1968, but who has never been found, spoke to the programme as police excavated the basement floor of the cafe.

Ms Bastholm’s niece, Helen Davies, said: ‘It’s just so sad. Really sad. I’m just amazed, I can’t believe it after so many years. And hoping that we’ll finally get some sort of closure.’

After three months of investigation, the documentary team handed their findings to the force who initiated a new operation into their findings, and this probe is still ongoing. 

Fred And Rose West: Reopened will be broadcast on ITV in two parts, tonight at 9pm and tomorrow at 9pm 

Source: Read Full Article