New lead in Claudia Lawrence inquiry

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DETECTIVES are pursuing a “potentially significant” new line of inquiry into the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence which has emerged more than two-and-a-half years after she vanished.

North Yorkshire Police confirmed yesterday that officers are investigating the new lead in what has become one of the biggest inquiries ever conducted by the force.

The announcement came 1,000 days after Miss Lawrence was last seen walking close to her home in Heworth Road in York on March 18, 2009. Police upgraded the missing person inquiry into the 35-year-old’s disappearance to a murder investigation the following month.

Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway, who is leading the investigation, said: “It has the potential to be a significant line of inquiry. However, it requires more detailed work to clarify its significance.”

But relatives of Miss Lawrence yesterday spoke of their frustration at not being kept informed about the latest developments.

The missing York University chef’s mother, Joan Lawrence, who lives in Norton, near Malton in North Yorkshire, claimed she had not been contacted by police to let her know a new line of inquiry had emerged.

And Miss Lawrence’s father, Peter, who lives in York, also maintained that he had not heard from detectives for several months.

Mr Lawrence’s spokesman and friend, Martin Dales, from Old Malton, said: “Peter hopes very much that this new line of inquiry will lead police to discover what has happened to Claudia, after so many previous ones have raised hopes only to be quickly dashed.

“Any new lead is encouraging and let’s hope it leads towards some form of closure. We have been here before with false dawns.” But a police spokesman claimed “every effort” has been made to keep Miss Lawrence’s family informed.

An independent review of the inquiry by the National Policing Improvement Agency found no issue with the force’s family liaison.