Moira search sparks fears of Fred West’s hidden Scots victims
THE desperate search for Moira Anderson has reignited fears about the lost Scottish victims of serial killer Fred West – who knew the two paedophiles linked to her disappearance.
Published: Sun, January 13, 2013
Meanwhile, detectives are vowing to continue the hunt for little Moira’s body after the search of a family grave in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, failed to uncover her remains last week.
FREE NEWS UPDATES 24/7… FOLLOW THE SCOTTISH EXPRESS ON TWITTER
Campaigner Sandra Brown believes her late father Alexander Gartshore molested and killed the schoolgirl, who vanished on her way home from the shops in February 1957.
He once confessed to her that police had questioned him over 122 sex attacks on children before he left Scotland for Leeds in 1965 – raising fears there could be more victims in Yorkshire.
Convicted child rapist Gartshore was a bus driver, like his friend and fellow paedophile James Gallogley, who lived on the same street in Coatbridge as West and his Scottish first wife Rena.
Before he died in Peterhead prison, Gallogley claimed that he, Gartshore and West had been members of a paedophile ring – although a “dossier” containing names of senior establishment figures was later found to be a hoax.
He also claimed that he, Gartshore and another man had been involved in Moira’s murder – although the third man was not West, as he was still in England at that time.
However, the links between the trio of vile criminals are now set to be thrust into the spotlight by the continuing mystery surrounding the fate of tragic 11-year-old.
Author Howard Sounes said West used to boast darkly of having “a Scottish connection” – thought to be a reference to friends who could help him dispose of bodies.
He said: “Chronologically it is interesting because directly after he comes back to England we know he starts killing people and cutting their bodies into pieces before burying them.
“This is within months of him being in Glasgow, so it wouldn’t be mad to suggest that he started earlier and killed his first victims in Scotland.”
After leaving Coatbridge, West lived with Rena and her child Charmaine – who were both later murdered – and their daughter Anne-Marie at Maclellan Street, in Glasgow’s Kinning Park.
He kept an allotment at the end of the street, growing a few potatoes and cabbages but with much of the plot always raked over as fresh soil – telling people: “I’m keeping it for something special.”
West, who worked as an ice cream van driver and returned regularly to Coatbridge with Rena, would visit the plot late at night and often took girls back to the shed for sex.
Sounes said: “I remember the police looked into the disappearance of a number of young girls during this time – three or four of them – but by this time the allotments were buried underneath concrete at the junction of the M8 and the M77.”
Gartshore – who died in 2006 still maintaining that he did not kill Moira – once admitted that Gallogley had been a close “pal” of West’s, although he insisted that he had never met him personally.
However, Sounes said it was likely that the “garrulous” Englishman would have quickly become a well-known figure in the town.
Nobody knows what he was up to in that allotment, but he sure as hell wasn’t gardening
West fled Scotland in late 1965, shortly after accidentally running over and killing a three year old boy with his ice cream van.
In another bizarre coincidence, Gartshore also moved south of the Border at around the same time – abandoning Sandra and his family to start a completely new life in Leeds.
Glaswegian John McLachlan – who had an affair with tragic Rena – first revealed the suspicions about the Kinning Park allotment in 1995, just days after Rose West’s conviction.
He said that in a police interview he was shown the names of four young girls who had disappeared when West was in Glasgow, although one of them was later found alive.
“Nobody knows what he was up to in that allotment, but he sure as hell wasn’t gardening,” he said.