THE CHRONOLOGY: How the inquiry unfolded as the body count rose

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The Independent Online
The arrest of Frederick West triggered one of the biggest police investigations in recent times. West was detained on 25 February last year with his wife Rosemary by detectives investigating the disappearance of their daughter, Heather, last seen alive aged 16 in 1987.

A day later, police using mini-diggers found Heather's remains buried under a patio in the back garden of West's home, 25 Cromwell Street. Within days, two more bodies were found in the garden.

One was identified as a former lodger of West, Shirley Ann Robinson, who was 18 and pregnant at the time of her disappearance. The third victim was not immediately identified.

More grim discoveries were to follow. On 5 March, police using specialist electronic sensing devices found two more sets of human remains in the cellar at Cromwell Street. A day later a sixth body was found, also in the cellar area.

On 7 March, searchers announced the discovery of a seventh body, also in the cellar area. Police also announced plans to begin digging at other locations connected with West. Nine bodies were eventually discovered at Cromwell Street. Another was found atWest's old home in Midland Road, Gloucester. And two more were discovered in fields at Kempley, on the Gloucestershire border.

The huge investigation put an immense strain on the resources of the Gloucestershire force. By the time the digging was over in June, the bill had run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The significant events in the inquiry were: FEBRUARY 1994

23 - Police obtain a warrant to search the rear garden at 25 Cromwell Street.

25 - Frederick and Rosemary West arrested on suspicion of murdering Heather West.

26 - First body (Heather West) found in garden.

27 - Rosemary West released on police bail.

28 - Frederick West makes first court appearance, charged with murder of Heather West; second and third bodies (Alison Chambers and Shirley Anne Robinson) are found in garden.

MARCH 3 - Frederick West collapses in court as he is charged with three murders.

5 - Ground penetrating radar used for first time, giving positive readings. Fourth and fifth bodies (Therese Siegenthaler, Shirley Hubbard) discovered in basement of house.

6 - Sixth body (Lucy Partington) found in basement.

7 - Bodies seven, eight and nine (Juanita Mott, Lynda Gough, Carole Ann Cooper) discovered in cellar and bathroom areas.

10 - Frederick West in court charged with five murders.

14 - Through her solicitor, Rosemary West denies involvement in alleged murders.

29 - Police start digging at Letterbox Field, Kempley.

APRIL 10 - Tenth body (Catherine West) discovered at Letterbox field.

13 - Dig starts at Fingerpost field, Kempley.

15 - Gloucester inquest formally identifies the nine victims of Cromwell Street.

20 - Mrs West re-arrested.

25 - She makes her first court appearance, jointly charged with murder of Lynda Gough; Police begin search at 25 Midland Road, Gloucester.

28 - Search ends at Cromwell Street after 55 days.

MAY 4 - Eleventh body (Charmaine West) found under the kitchen floor at 25 Midland Road.

5 - Frederick West in court accused of ten murders.

6 - Rosemary West in court accused on five joint murder charges with her husband.

26 - Search ends at Midland Road after 32 days; Rosemary West charged with murder of her daughter, Heather.

JUNE 7 - Twelfth body (Anne McFall) and foetus found at Fingerpost field after 56 days of digging.

17 - Fingerpost field search ends.

30 - Frederick and Rosemary West appear together for the first time at Gloucester Magistrate's Court.

JULY 3 - Frederick West charged with murder of Anne McFall.

27 - Gloucester Coroner's inquest formally identifies remains of Catherine West, Charmaine West and Anne McFall.

AUGUST 3 - Frederick West dismisses his solicitor, Howard Ogden, and appoints Bristol solicitors Bobbetts Mackan in his place.

NOVEMBER 2 - All Souls Day service in Gloucester Cathedral for those affected by the events at Cromwell Street.

3 - Tony Miles, a Bristol solicitor, confirms that Charles Barton QC and Martin Steen have withdrawn from the Frederick West defence team. The junior barrister Martin Picton is appointed.

DECEMBER 13 - Rodney Klevan QC is confirmed as the leader of Frederick West's defence team.


1 - Frederick West found hanged in cell.