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Claudia Lawrence detectives focus enquiry on alleyway

Update 25 February 2015: Detectives investigating the disappearance and suspected murder of Claudia Lawrence are carrying out fresh enquiries and searches close to her home.

On Wednesday 25 February 2015, our Major Crime Unit will be examining the alleyway to the rear of Claudia’s house on Heworth Road as they develop possible new lines of enquiry as part of the ongoing review into the original investigation.

Specialist search officers and a police dog are supporting the operational activity, which includes further house-to-house enquiries in the area as well as contacting former residents.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, head of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Crime Unit and the senior investigating officer in the Claudia Lawrence case, said: “The review remains very active and the team are currently working on a lead that may indicate the alleyway at the rear of Claudia’s house is significant.

“We still don’t know if Claudia left for work on the morning of Thursday 19th March 2009 or whether something happened overnight within her house. If the latter is the case the person or persons responsible, in my view, would have used the rear alleyway as the front door leads onto a busy main road. This is why this specific piece of information needs to be fully investigated.

“The activity today focuses on the alleyway with search trained officers and a dog. Officers will be conducting house-to-house enquiries in the vicinity to jog people’s memories about any vehicular access to the alleyway and how frequently this was used by neighbours or other pedestrians. This includes contacting people who have since moved away from the area to assist the investigation.  We are also checking again that no CCTV recording equipment in the neighbourhood has been overlooked.

“This remains one of several active enquiries at present that will be developed over the coming weeks and months.

“Together with Claudia’s family, we remain absolutely determined to solve this case and bring those responsible for her disappearance and suspected murder to justice.”

The police work comes just days before Claudia’s family mark her 41st birthday on Friday 27 February.

Det Supt Malyn added: “This is a very poignant week for Claudia’s family and friends as they should be celebrating her 41st birthday on Friday, rather than marking another upsetting milestone since she disappeared almost six years ago. Our thoughts are with her loved-ones at this difficult time and as we approach the sixth anniversary of the investigation next month.”

Claudia’s family have been briefed about today’s activity  and our trained family liaison officers will continue to support them during these difficult times.

Background

Nobody has seen or heard from Claudia Lawrence since Wednesday 18 March almost six years ago.

She was reported missing by her father on Friday 20 March 2009 after concerns were raised when the chef failed to turn up for her 6am shift at the University of York on the Thursday.

Despite extensive police enquiries and saturated local, national and international media and social media coverage about the case, her disappearance remains a mystery and a constant source of heartache for her family and friends.

North Yorkshire Police’s Major Crime Unit has been actively reviewing and investigating the Claudia Lawrence case since October 2013.

Within the past year as the review gathered momentum, a 60-year-old man was arrested in May on suspicion of murder. He was later released from his bail.

A 47-year-old man was also arrested in July on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. He remains on police bail while enquiries continue.

With this investigation very much active, and with the possibility that further arrests will be made, it is extremely important that the media and the public do not publish or broadcast anything on traditional media platforms or on social and digital sites that could compromise the enquiry or the legal rights of those connected to the case.

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. Please quote “Claudia Lawrence” when passing on details.

Alternatively, if you have any information about the Claudia Lawrence case you can contact the independent

crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.