'House of Death' dig switches to cornfield: Police name four more victims. David Connett reports

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The Independent Online
POLICE yesterday identified four more victims discovered at a house in Cromwell Street, Gloucester. They said the search for bodies would be extended today to a cornfield near the village of Kempley, 15 miles away.

Frederick West, 52, a builder accused of their murders, lived for years in the village of Much Marcle, which is close to the Kempley site. Privately, police believe at least one body is buried there.

The four victims named yesterday were: Lucy Partington, 21, of Gretton, Gloucestershire; Juanita Mott, 18, of Newent, Gloucestershire; Lynda Gough, 19, and Alison Chambers, 16. The last two were believed to be living in Gloucester when they disappeared. Mr West is also charged with murdering five other women.

Police are attempting to identify the remaining two bodies found in the house. It is more than a month since police began digging there. An inquest will open on the named victims in Gloucester next month.

The remains of three bodies found in the garden were those of Mr West's 16-year-old daughter, Heather, Shirley Ann Robinson, 18, a lodger from Leicestershire, and a third, unindentified woman.

The four named yesterday were found beneath the cellar and a ground-floor bathroom. Digging at Cromwell Street is likely to continue for another week, while Detective Superintendent John Bennett, who is leading the inquiry, said police would be searching 'a number of areas' at Kempley.

Det Supt Bennett said that Mr West's wife, Rosemary, 40, arrested with him in February, was still free on bail.

The four women named yesterday all went missing in or near Gloucester during a six-year period from April 1973.

Lynda Gough, a seamstress, vanished in April 1973 after leaving her parents' home to move into a flat in the city centre. Her disappearance was reported to police but no trace of her was found.

A statement from her parents said yesterday: 'Our daughter left home just two weeks before her 20th birthday. All our efforts to trace her failed. Down all the years we have lived in the hope that she would come home. Now we know that she will not.'

Juanita Mott failed to return to her home in Newent, 12 miles from Gloucester in April 1973. Her disappearance was not reported to police but her photograph and details were included in articles on missing persons.

Lucy Partington, an English language student at Exeter University, was last seen in December, 1973, when she went to visit friends in Cheltenham. She left to catch a bus to her home at Gretton, Gloucestershire, and was never seen again. A police investigation found no trace of her.

Alison Chambers was last seen in September 1979. She was a YTS trainee at a firm of solicitors in Gloucester. Her disappearance was reported to the Missing Persons Bureau, but not to police.

(Photographs omitted)