West detective `tried to sell story for £1m'

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A detective who played a key role in bringing Frederick West to justice has been taken off the case while claims that she tried to sell her story for up to £1m are investigated.

It was Det Con Hazel Savage's persistence after she became suspicious of West during child abuse inquiries that led to the murder investigation. The remains of 12 victims were found, mostly at his home in Cromwell Street, Gloucester.

But she has been transferred to other duties while an investigation is carried out into claims in a Sunday newspaper that she contacted Gloria Ferris, a literary agent, with a view to selling her story. It is alleged that she planned to retire after West's trial and then publish a book. But West, 53, committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell in Winson Green prison, Birmingham, on New Year's Day.

Nigel Burgess, Deputy Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, said yesterday that Supt Colin Dixon of Wiltshire Police had been appointed to investigate the allegation. He added: "WDC Savage has not been suspended, but is now engaged on duties unconnected with the Cromwell Street inquiry." It is understood she has been transferred to general CID duties in Gloucester while the investigation, expected to take several weeks, is carried out. Det Con Savage, 50, was awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours List and has received five commendations during her long career in the police.

The body of West has now been released by the Birmingham Coroner, but there is uncertainty about where his funeral will take place and whether he will be buried or cremated.

Many people in his home village of Much Marcle, Herefordshire, are unhappy about him being buried there. A spokesman for Gloucester City Council said yesterday that no application had been received for a funeral at cemeteries or crematoria in the city.

West's wife Rosemary, jointly charged with her husband with nine murders, will appear at Gloucester magistrates' court today where there will be an application for her to be remanded further in custody.