Police would not rule out speaking to Rose West in prison about the fate of Mary Bastholm, who’s disappearance has been linked to Fred West after evidence of human remains were found in a Gloucester café.

A cadaver dog has indicated there may be human remains underneath the basement toilet of the Clean Plate Café, where Fred West is thought to have laid some flooring while working as a builder.

When Mary disappeared, West was living with his first wife Rena at a caravan site in Bishop’s Cleeve, near Cheltenham – close to where a teenage Rose West was living with her parents.

“He is the only one who really knows if he had involvement in Mary’s death,” said Detective Chief Inspector John Turner.

He went on to add his “understanding” was that Mary’s disappearance in January 1968 happened before Fred had met Rose – but he did not rule out speaking to her in prison.

West is said to have confessed to killing Mary in conversation with his son, Stephen, but never admitted it to police.

Detectives have recently spoken to Stephen West, Mr Turner said.

“There is no evidence at this time to link Fred West with Mary’s disappearance although he did tell his son Steve West just before he died that he had murdered Mary,” said Mr Turner.

Mary’s body was not found during the 1994 excavation of the Wests’ home, now known as the “House of Horrors”, on Cromwell Street in Gloucester.

The detective said there was conflicting evidence during the original House of Horrors inquiry as to whether West had carried out renovation work at the cafe in 1968 or later, in 1976.

“Since then there has been a lot of rumour and folklore about Mary and Fred’s link with the cafe and the decision was made that there was insufficient evidence at the time to excavate the site,” Mr Turner said.

“I met the Bastholm family on Monday and spoke with them at length about what we were going to do and the plan moving forward.

“Clearly since 1968 the family haven’t known what’s happened to Mary. There has been some speculation that she may have been linked to Fred West at that time and there was conflicting information within the investigation around that.

“But it is really important to them that we do actually now search for the truth and find out once and for all if Mary is buried under the basement.”