Videos and pictures: Peter Lawrence, the man who devoted himself to finding Claudia – and helping others

15 Feb 2021 @ 5.31 am
| News

Peter Lawrence, who has died aged 74, was thrust into the limelight in the hardest possible circumstances.

He had lived a life entirely out of the headlines with his wife Joan in Old Malton. He practised law, sang in the church choir and enjoyed the occasional glass of wine.

Then the nightmare began. His daughter, Claudia, was missing from her home in York.

Photograph:Danny Lawson / PA Wire

Soon after her disappearance in March 2009, Peter took part in a police press conference and made an appeal in front of the cameras for Claudia’s safe return.

It was the end of his anonymity, and the start of nearly 12 years of interviews and TV appearance in the increasingly desperate search for information about his daughter’s fate.

He always carried these out with great dignity, patience and kindness.

Martin Dale, his friend for 40 years who also became his media spokesman, said seeing Peter go through this ordeal was “horrendous”.

Peter talks to David Dunning in December 2009

He told David Dunning on his Late Night Lockdown show on YorkMix Radio today: “I was amazed. He helped keep us both going.

“At the outset particularly there was a huge amount of work went on to try and get the message around – ‘where is Claudia?’

“I felt a great privilege to be alongside him. But I also felt huge sadness that we were doing this.

“The fact that it’s taken nearly 12 years and we still haven’t found any answers is highly distressing and rather depressing really.

“I feel very sorry that he’s had to leave this world without that knowledge of where Claudia is.”

Peter went on to campaign successfully for Claudia’s Law, which allows relatives to take control of their missing loved ones’ financial matters, and became a high profile champion of the Missing Persons charity.

He was divorced from his wife Joan, and leaves a surviving daughter, Alison.

Videos and pictures