'House of death' costs hit pounds 100,000

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THE MURDER inquiry at the 'house of death' in Gloucester, now in its fourth week, has cost pounds 112,000 so far, writes Marianne Macdonald.

But Tony Butler, Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, said his officers still faced a long investigation before the final bill could be known. The pounds 112,000 covered overtime and expenses, the hire of specialist equipment to search for remains at 25 Cromwell Street, payment to outside contractors and the purchase of protective clothing for digging teams.

Although some of the costs will be borne by a contingency fund, much of the money will have to come from next year's pounds 52m budget. 'It is the early days of this major inquiry and impossible to predict its length,' Mr Butler said. 'We are investigating nine murders, normally the annual total for a county the size of Gloucestershire.'

Digging continued yesterday at the house owned by Frederick West, 52, a builder, who has been charged with murdering nine women.