A detective investigating the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence 12 years ago has said it is not too late for people to come forward and stop the “unrelenting anguish” caused to the chef’s loved ones.
Detective Superintendent Wayne Fox, the new senior investigating officer on the case, said he believes several people know, or have suspicions about, what happened to the 35-year-old when she went missing in York in 2009.
On the 12th anniversary of Claudia’s disappearance today (Thursday, 18 March), Mr Fox urged anyone with information to “do the right thing” and speak to him.
Police believe Miss Lawrence – who was last seen on March 18 2009 – has been murdered, although no body has ever been discovered.
Her father Peter spent years campaigning for the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill, also known as Claudia’s Law, which allows relatives to take control of their missing loved ones’ financial matters.
The law came into force in 2019 but Mr Lawrence died last month without ever knowing what happened to his daughter.
‘Burden of guilt’
Mr Fox, who took charge of the investigation in October following the retirement of Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, said: “Today, on the 12th anniversary of her disappearance, our hearts go out to Claudia’s loved ones.
“They have endured unrelenting anguish and trauma throughout this time.
“In my view, there are likely to be several people out there who either know or have strong suspicions as to what happened to Claudia.
“For whatever reason, they have maintained a silence for 12 years. That is an awfully long time to carry such a burden of guilt.
“The longer you carry it, the greater the anguish you are causing to Claudia’s family and friends.
“Please do the right thing, come forward and speak to me.”
North Yorkshire Police have conducted two investigations and questioned nine people in relation to Miss Lawrence’s disappearance and suspected murder but no charges have ever been brought.
Mr Fox said some of the information received by the force “appears extremely interesting and sparks a whole new line of investigation”, and he urged anyone providing this information to get back in touch with as much detail as possible.
He said: “If you know something that could help us find Claudia, or those involved in her disappearance and suspected murder, please come forward. It is not too late.”
On the eve of the 12th anniversary, Martin Dales, a friend of Mr Lawrence, said: “Despite the exhaustive efforts of Claudia’s late father Peter, family and friends, and North Yorkshire Police, there are still no answers and it is tragic that Peter has died not knowing what has happened to her.
“More to the point, in the light of there being no-one brought to justice in the 12 years, there are still one or more people ‘at large’ in York or maybe somewhere else now who do know what has happened to Claudia and where she is and potentially remain a threat to the communities in which they and we live.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101.