Missing chef police release CCTV


Published: Thursday 19th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Police have released previously unseen CCTV footage of two people walking near missing chef Claudia Lawrence’s home on the evening of her disappearance.

North Yorkshire Police appealed to local residents for help to identify the people seen in the footage, which was screened near Miss Lawrence’s house in York.

The university chef was last seen six years ago on Wednesday March 18 2009. Police believe she has been murdered.

The CCTV footage shows one person walking down Heworth Place, which leads to the rear of Miss Lawrence’s house, before returning just over a minute later with what appears to be a bag over their shoulder.

The person stops as someone else walks past before continuing on to Heworth Road.

The footage shows an area near an alleyway at the rear of Miss Lawrence’s terraced house, which was searched by police last month and is said to be of “growing significance” to the investigation.

It was filmed at 7.15pm on Wednesday 18 March 2009, a short time before Miss Lawrence spoke to her parents on the phone.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, who is leading the investigation, said: “The footage shows two people who we need to identify.”

Mr Malyn continued: “Of particular interest to the investigation team is the person who is seen walking down Heworth Place which leads to the back of Claudia’s house.

“The person goes out of camera shot but reappears just over a minute later. They appear to be carrying a bag over their shoulder.

“As the person heads back towards Heworth Road they suddenly stop when another unknown person walks past.

“Who is this? Do they live locally? What were they doing?

“If you can help to identify either person, please contact us as soon as possible. We are waiting to hear from you.”

Police leafleted the area around Miss Lawrence’s home earlier this week to encourage residents to attend Heworth Place to watch the footage on the sixth anniversary of her disappearance.

DS Malyn said he is “actively pursuing new leads” and that his team had made “significant progress” since the force began reviewing the case in 2013 and may make more arrests in the coming weeks and months.

A number of new searches have been carried out since 2013, including a detailed re-examination of Miss Lawrence’s house in the Heworth area of York and a fingertip search of the alleyway the leads to the back of the chef’s house.

A 60-year-old man was arrested last year in connection with her disappearance and suspected murder but was later released without charge, while a 47-year-old man remains on bail on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Malyn said: “In the months since we started our review, we have made very significant progress.

“We have arrested and interviewed two men about Claudia’s disappearance. One remains on bail while our inquiries in relation to him continue. “In the coming weeks and months we may make additional arrests as we continue to develop our lines of inquiry.

Speaking in York, Miss Lawrence’s father, Peter, recalled that he last spoke to his daughter on the phone.

He said: “To have had six years without her company, without her chat, her smile, her laugh, meeting her for a drink, days out and meals out – it tells. I just miss that companionship, that love so much that it just really hurts so much.

“It galls me that someone out there knows what happened Claudia but has not said anything.”

He added: “Six years on, it does not get any better. All we can hope is that we find out what happened to Claudia. If she was murdered, as the police believe, then I want to be able to bury her.

“As I have been saying for six years, it’s the not knowing that makes it worse and it means that the family just cannot move on at all.”

Published: Thursday 19th March 2015 by The News Editor

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