Sunday Sun

‘It is the not knowing which has always been the worst ‘

CLAUDIA GONE FOR 10 YEARS

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where she was known to have visited several times, and several other leads were followed but each time they led to a dead end.

The investigat­ion was scaled down but a thorough review of the evidence was carried out between 2013 and 2017.

Between March and May 2015, five men – all in their fifties – were arrested but all eventually released without charge. One of the men had links to North Shields.

Fresh forensic searches were carried out and a new appeal for a “suspicious” man spotted near Claudia’s home was issued.

The search was scaled down again in 2017 and, save for hope over DNA found on a cigarette in Claudia’s car, there has been little since to suggest a breakthrou­gh is close.

Chances are, there’s still someone out there who knows what happened to Claudia.

Police have long believed someone known to Claudia or living in the community must have informatio­n they haven’t volunteere­d to the police.

In March 2016, Det Supt Dai Malyn said: “I am sure that there are some people who know, or who have very strong suspicions about, what happened to Claudia.

“For whatever reason, they have either refused to come forward, or have been economic with the truth.

“I am left with the inescapabl­e conclusion that this case could still be solved if only people were honest with us.

“The fact that they are not is agonising for Claudia’s family and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

But the world had heard it all before.

In September 2009, her father Peter Lawrence made a gut-wrenching plea on the steps of his home in the Heworth area of York.

He said: “It feels most of the time like an eternity. I just feel empty, hollow.

“We are convinced somebody out there knows where Claudia is. It is a matter of getting that person to give informatio­n.”

No one came forward with informatio­n leading to a real breakthrou­gh. To this day, the police don’t believe Claudia was killed by a stranger.

Despite a decade of questions and grief, Claudia’s father has done more for the families of missing persons than few have ever achieved.

This July, a new law – which he campaigned for and is dubbed ‘Claudia’s Law’ – will come into force, allowing those closest to missing people to take control of their loved one’s financial affairs.

Now, heartbroke­n families must wait seven years before “presumptio­n of death” legally applies. The new law will allow families to apply for “guardiansh­ip” after a person has been missing for 90 days.

But his own personal agony continues.

Speaking at his York home this week, he said: “It’s getting more difficult to believe [that Claudia is alive] as time goes on. It’s very difficult now.

“It just keeps going on and on, of course, because of not knowing what happened and it is the not knowing which has always been the worst part about it. “I’ve always said that and, until such time as we know what happened, that will just go on unfortunat­ely.” Anyone with informatio­n that could assist the investigat­ion should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and pass details to the Force Control Room. Alternativ­ely, contact Crimestopp­ers anonymousl­y on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form.

 ?? DANNY LAWSON ?? daughter Claudia Lawrence, ahead of the the 10th anniversar­y of her disappeara­nce on March 18
DANNY LAWSON daughter Claudia Lawrence, ahead of the the 10th anniversar­y of her disappeara­nce on March 18
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? ■ CCTV footage of missing university chef Claudia Lawrence
■ CCTV footage of missing university chef Claudia Lawrence
 ??  ?? ■ North Yorkshire Police searching a field in the Outgang area of York
■ North Yorkshire Police searching a field in the Outgang area of York
 ??  ?? ■ Claudia Lawrence, who went missing 10 years ago tomorrow
■ Claudia Lawrence, who went missing 10 years ago tomorrow

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