Rose West 'winning Bake Off contests' and growing veg in 'Good Life' prison as cops dig for Fred victim under cafe

ROSE West is baking cakes and growing vegetables in prison as cops desperately search for a suspected victim of her notorious serial killer husband.

Detectives have been searching a cafe in Gloucester for 15-year-old Mary Bastholm – who vanished 53 years ago – and are digging up six "anomalies" found in the building.

Evil murderer Fred West, who took his own life in 1995 before his trial for 12 murders, was suspected to be behind the disappearance of teenager Mary – who was last seen near the site.

The Wests brutally tortured, raped and murdered an unknown number of women over a 20-year period.

Fred is said to have carried out building work in the cafe’s basement a month before Mary went missing and years before his son told cops his sick dad had confessed to killing her.

Rose was also once reportedly spotted at the café – which was previously known as The Pop In – when she was younger.


And as the desperate search for Mary continues at the cafe, The Sun can exclusively reveal the details of Rose's calm and cushy life behind bars.

Rose, 67, spends her days knitting in her own cell at the New Hall prison in West Yorkshire, listening to Radio 4 and feeding the birds, a source said.

And the House of Horrors killer is also a keen baker and enjoys rustling up batches of buns and cakes.

With a clear knack for knocking up sweet treats, Rose was crowned star baker for her Victoria sponge in a prison bake-off competition in 2018.

Rose, who was jailed for life in 1995 for her part in 10 murders, lives on the small Rivendell wing at the prison – a centre for women with complex personality issues.

She attends church services conducted by the rural jail’s chaplain and there's also an arts and crafts area for the 30 inmates in the unit.

The unit has its own free-range chickens, raised beds to grow flowers and vegetables, neat lawns dotted with garden furniture and tables to attract birds.

The prisoners can enjoy comfortable sofas in a TV room and fish tanks to create an atmosphere of calm.

"West is very quiet and really just gets on with everyone. She doesn’t cause any conflict because she doesn’t want to end up back on the general wing," a source told The Sun.

"She knits endlessly – cardigans, blankets, hats. She’s clicking away with the needles endlessly. She’s on enhanced privileges so is entitled to the needles and wool.

"Her baked goods are very much in demand. She also loves The Archers soap opera on Radio 4 and reads women’s magazines for knitting ideas and recipes.

"She also likes to feed the birds and leaves titbits for them on a table. She attends church on a Sunday and has the appearance of a kindly, old granny.

"Sometimes it is difficult to square that image with the knowledge that she is one of the UK’s most notorious serial killers."

Rose previously served her sentence at HMP Bronzefield, Middlesex, but was moved to Low Newton in 2008 after a plot to attack her with pool balls in a sock was uncovered.

And the cops may now quiz Rose in prison as they search the Gloucester cafe for the missing teen.

The search comes after cops received possible evidence from a TV production company to suggest the body of the missing teenager could be buried at the location.

One of the findings presented to police was a photo taken by the production company of what appeared to be blue material buried in one area of the cellar.

Mary was wearing a blue dress and blue coat and had a blue bag with her when she went missing.

A 39-strong police team led by three archaeologists have been analysing the basement of the cafe – half a mile from the Rose and Fred's home at 25 Cromwell Street.

On Wednesday morning, contractors unloaded a power drill, as well as other equipment, such as shovels.

The team used a ground penetrating radar and found a void in the basement of the cafe within two toilet cubicles.

They drilled the area, allowing holes for ventilation so that police dogs could get an indication of human remains.

The animals have indicated minor to medium indication and an insertion of an endoscope in one of the holes identified a grainy image of a "blue looking material within the gap".

The dig is expected to take about two weeks, with DCI John Turner saying it is expected to reveal "once and for all" if Mary was buried at the site.

Mary's body was not found during the 1994 excavation of the Wests' home.

But Rose's daughter said her twisted mum may know what happened to Mary – but fears she will take the secret to the grave.


DCI Turner said there was conflicting evidence during the original House of Horrors inquiry as to whether Fred 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," DCI 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."

In a statement, Mary's family said: "We are extremely happy Gloucestershire Police is continuing to try and search for Mary and this gives us a chance to potentially put her at rest after all these years.

"We hope this is a chance to finally get closure for Mary and would like to continue to ask for privacy whilst the excavation is ongoing."

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