David Pauline Williams sex abuse
David and Pauline Williams abused children over a 15-year periodDevon and Cornwall Police

The garden of a paedophile couple who were friends of serial killers Fred and Rose West is being dug up by police following a tip-off. Devon and Cornwall Police began excavating the home of David and Pauline Williams on Wednesday (4 May).

David Williams was jailed for life in 2015 and his wife for 12 years after being convicted of offences relating to 10 children, which included rape, sexual assault and beatings. The abuse occurred between 1989 and 2004.

The couple are believed to have befriended the Wests while running their local pub, The Prince Albert in Gloucester, in the 1980s. They then moved to Exeter where they ran The Victoria Inn.

Scaffolding has been erected in the garden of the pair's former bungalow in Cullompton, Devon.

A police spokesman said: "Following intelligence received, Devon and Cornwall Police are undertaking excavation work at a property in Cullompton, Devon.

"This relates to historic intelligence connected to the address and its former occupants. It is expected to take up to four days to complete.

"Specialist officers will be involved in the excavation, which we hope will have as little impact on the local community as possible."

The couple had denied 46 charges relating to child sex abuse, but were found guilty in October 2015. David Williams was convicted of 10 rapes, 13 indecent assaults, five counts of gross indecency, two of cruelty and one of sexual activity with a child. His wife was found guilty of two rapes and five indecent assaults.

The investigation into the pair began in 2013 when a woman disclosed to a mental-health professional that she had been raped by David Williams when she was 15.

Detective constable Debbie Dow, from Devon and Cornwall Police, had said at the time of the sentencing: "These victims, both men and woman, had their childhoods stolen by David and Pauline Williams and all have suffered difficulties throughout their adulthood following this abuse as they struggled to live normal lives."

David Williams had boasted to friends about his friendship with the Wests, who were charged with the murders of a dozen young women over a 20-year period. Fred West hanged himself in 1995 while awaiting trial, while his accomplice wife Rose was convicted of 10 murders and sentenced to life the same year.