Missing Claudia: Police quiz man

Published: Tuesday 24th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Police are continuing to question a man in his 50s on suspicion of murdering missing chef Claudia Lawrence.

North Yorkshire Police arrested the suspect yesterday in connection with Miss Lawrence’s disappearance. She has not been seen since March 18 2009.

A police spokesman said searches are being carried out in relation to the York University chef’s disappearance and are expected to continue for a number of days.

He said Miss Lawrence, who was 35 when she went missing, had not been found.

Miss Lawrence’s family has been told about the arrest and is being supported by trained officers.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn of North Yorkshire Police urged people not to identify the arrested man, who is from the York area.

He said: “To ensure the investigation and legal process are not compromised or potentially damaged in any way during this critical phase in seeking the truth about Claudia’s disappearance, North Yorkshire Police strongly advises the media and members of the public against identifying the man who has been arrested.

“This includes naming or publishing images of the man on traditional media platforms or social networking sites.

“I urge everyone to show restraint and patience while we carry out these very important inquiries.”

Miss Lawrence was reported missing by her father after concerns were raised when she failed to turn up for her 6am shift at work.

North Yorkshire Police began reviewing the case in 2013 and have since carried out a number of searches, including a detailed re-examination of Miss Lawrence’s home, in the Heworth area of the city, and a fingertip search of an alleyway that leads to the rear of the 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 he was “actively pursuing new leads” and that his team made “significant progress” since the force began reviewing the case in 2013.

The detective said some people locally knew Miss Lawrence but have kept their relationship secret and some deliberately lied about a number of issues concerning their association with the chef.

Last week, on the sixth anniversary of her disappearance, police released previously unseen CCTV footage of two people seen walking near the chef’s home on the evening she went missing.

Miss Lawrence’s father, Peter, said: “It is encouraging to know that, following all the media activity over the last three weeks, from Claudia’s 41st birthday to the sixth anniversary of her being missing, North Yorkshire Police continue to be active in seeking answers as to what has happened to Claudia.

“It is to be hoped that the matter can be resolved as soon as possible and I encourage people to continue to come forward with information to the police.”

The media gathered outside Miss Lawrence’s home in Heworth Road yesterday, as news of the arrest broke.

Speaking outside the terraced house, Martin Dales, Mr Lawrence’s friend and spokesman, said: “I’m pleased the police are active and their activity has produced a result of some description. Obviously it’s down to them as to where it goes and they must be left to do their work on the matter.

“There’s been a huge amount of activity in the last three weeks in particular, from Claudia’s birthday right up to the sixth anniversary.”

He continued: “As yet there have been no charges on anybody and six years is a long time without any answers so I think people have got to be a bit more human about this. There are people obviously withholding information and they need to really examine their consciences. Whatever trouble they’ve been in the family need answers.”

In another area of York, police could be seen searching a semi-detached house in a quiet cul-de-sac.

One neighbour said: “Police have been sniffing around this area for the past six years.”

:: Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Published: Tuesday 24th March 2015 by The News Editor

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