Detectives believe they may now have the DNA evidence to catch Claudia Lawrence’s killer on the ninth anniversary since her disappearance
Detectives believe they may now have the DNA evidence to catch Claudia Lawrence’s killer on the ninth anniversary since her disappearance.
Claudia, 35, vanished on her way home from work at the University of York on March 18, 2009, sparking one of Britain’s biggest missing person inquiries.
North Yorkshire Police has vowed ‘never to give up on Claudia’ and will follow new leads if they arise.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: ‘The DNA profiling work has taken longer to process than originally anticipated, but it is due for completion and we will publicly confirm this when we are in a position to do so.
‘The investigation remains in the reactive phase and is being maintained by the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Major Investigation Team.’
Claudia was last seen near her home in Melrosegate, in the Heworth area of York, on the afternoon of March 18.
She had returned from her work as a chef at the University of York’s Goodricke College at the Roger Kirk Centre.
That evening she spoke to her parents by telephone and made plans with her mother to spend Mother’s Day together.
Claudia, whose passport and bank cards were left at her home, later sent a text message to a friend which was sent 8.23pm.
Her father Peter said yesterday (pictured) ‘more needs to be done’ after it took him six years to get hold of his daughter’s financial affairs
Her last message on her phone was received from a bar worker in Cyprus at 9..12pm where investigators believe Claudia was offered a job on the island.
Claudia was reported missing to North Yorkshire Police after she failed to arrive at work for her early morning shift the following day.
Detectives later said they were treating her disappearance as a suspected murder.
Four men have been arrested in connection with Claudia’s murder since the force’s £300,000 creation of its Major Crime Unit (MCU) in 2013.
A 59-year-old man, named locally as Michael Snelling, was arrested by NYP at a house in Burnholme Grove on suspicion of Claudia’s murder on May 13, 2014.
Snelling was bailed the following day and then re-bailed on June 12, 2014.
An unnamed local man in his 50s was also arrested and bailed following a further forensic search of the alleyway near Claudia’s home.
However, the Crown Prosecution Service abandoned proceedings against the four men who had been arrested on suspicion of murder, citing lack of evidence on March 8, 2016.
North Yorkshire Police later blamed a lack of co-operation from witnesses and their review into the case was scaled down in January 2017.
But the force has since released a statement on social media saying it will ‘never give up on Claudia and her family’ – and continue to investigate any new leads.
It read: ‘Information is regularly received but we strongly suspect key and vital information is still being withheld that could provide a breakthrough.
‘We all hope that those responsible for her disappearance and suspected murder are brought to justice.
‘Our thoughts and continued support are with Claudia’s loved ones at this poignant time.’
Police have made a number of appeals over the years including for details on this man – but despite four arrests no-one has ever been prosecuted for her murder
The force said last January the three-year probe had now moved to a ‘reactive phase,’ which would review any new and compelling information that came to light.
Her father Peter said yesterday ‘more needs to be done’ after it took him six years to get hold of his daughter’s financial affairs.
Mr Lawrence, 72, says he has continued to push for government legislation to allow families of missing persons to take control of their assets.
Peter said that the family had ‘suffered’ for over 3,300 days since her disappearance on March 18, 2009.
He also said that it was ‘distressing’ that people were not coming forward to detectives with vital information.
Speaking outside Claudia’s home in York, Peter said: ‘Nine years ago today at the house across the road from us Claudia went missing.
‘That is something like 3,300 days and everyday the family have been in pain by not knowing what happened to Claudia.
‘It is an awful long time and so distressing that someone around here knows what happened to Claudia – but is not saying anything.
‘It is something very difficult for the family to contemplate, but we have for nine years.
‘The problem, as always, is that we do not know what happened to Claudia.
‘I know that she didn’t disappear of her own accord because she left her house here, without her handbag, jewellery, without her bank card, driving licence and everything else.
‘Her best friend Jen knows Claudia would have not left the house without these items unless she was just going to work which she was due to do.’
Peter said families with missing persons were suffering because they can not gain guardianship over the person’s affairs due to government legislation.
He said he was campaigning to help families in a similar situation without being to access their bank accounts and assets.
Current legislation can take years for families to finally get hold of a missing person’s financial affairs – allowing direct debits to drain bank accounts.
But ‘Claudia’s Law’ will allow a missing person’s relatives to look after financial affairs and property on their behalf after they have been ‘missing’ for more than 90 days.
Ex-solicitor Peter had spent six years campaigning to bring the loop hole to the ears of MPs and was started as a private member’s bill by Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake.
Peter, of York, said: ‘Now, we are nine years on and in the meantime I have been trying to get legislation through government to allow families like us, 2,500 people, to be able to look after their loved one’s financial affairs.
‘It took us three years to get a presumption of death and three years after that we finally got the guardianship.
‘We got the legislation through parliament last year, but the law [Claudia’s Law] is still not in force – and it may not be enforced for another year.
‘The civil servants have been focusing on other things during the secondary legislation – and quite honestly it is not good enough.
‘People are still having to live – and people are still suffering.
‘Some are suffering financially as well emotionally – and I can not stress enough how important that is.’
Peter retired after 47 years of being a solicitor with the same York company Ware and Kay in September last year.
He said he would follow his passion of singing after he was part of an emotional performance on Britain’s Got Talent as a member of the Missing People’s Choir.