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He worked for a news agency called Hyett’s, based in St Michael’s Square which runs next to Cromwell Street where West lived at number 25.
During the morning press conference with Gloucestershire police, he recalls how the missing girl was discussed and then how they moved on to other topics.
‘We were so curious because there were so many people involved looking for her that early after she disappeared,’ said Mr Watkins.
‘I held back after the conference finished and spoke to Inspector Arthur Merrett who was in charge of the press that morning and told him what I had seen.’
He said the inspector responded by saying: ‘Very interesting’, but that was the end of it as ‘he didn’t seem to be wildly enthusiastic to know any more’.
Mr Watkins said: ‘Now for whatever reason, I was never asked to make a statement. I was never questioned by CID [Crime Investigation Department].
‘It just died with that report I made to the police.
‘I thought it was strange at the time and I still think it is strange 50-odd years later.
‘I still find it frustrating.’
Earlier this week, Stephen West spoke to MailOnline and claimed his father opened up about killing Mary, and 30 more women, weeks before he hanged himself while awaiting trial.
Quizzing his father on Mary Bastholm before his death, Stephen asked: ‘Did you do it? You’ve always denied it.
He said his father then admitted it, telling him: ‘Yeah, I did do it. I did take her.’
Speaking exclusively with MailOnline, Stephen said: ‘He begged me not to go to the police, but I