Cabbies ‘may hold clue to Claudia disappearance’

Claudia Lawrence
Claudia Lawrence
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Police looking for the missing York chef Claudia Lawrence have said taxi drivers may have important information about the case.

North Yorkshire Police said 121 people have come forward to assist their inquiry since a national appeal was made to coincide with the fifth anniversary of her disappearance last month.

Detectives said the public’s response to their appeals was “very encouraging” despite the passage of time since the University of York chef vanished, aged 35.

A Claudia Lawrence microsite on the force’s website has received more than 12,700 visitors and 28,500 page views.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, head of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Crime Unit, said lines of inquiry were highlighted on the microsite.

“These include a direct appeal to local taxi drivers who may have dropped Claudia off in the Acomb area of York or picked her up early in the morning,” he said. “As we confirmed last month, further analysis on Claudia’s phone activity showed that she was regularly visiting Acomb in the weeks leading up to her disappearance.

“The investigation team need more taxi drivers to make contact to help establish more details on this line of enquiry.

“Also, in our efforts to locate Claudia’s missing blue and grey Karrimor rucksack, we want to hear about a similar rucksack that was spotted near the University of York at about 1pm on Thursday 19 March 2009.

“The location was a grassy area off a footpath which runs between Heslington Road and Walmgate Stray, which is just past The Retreat if you were heading towards the university.

“If someone temporarily left the rucksack there and can confirm it is not connected to the investigation, please come forward as soon as possible.

“Any information about these and other aspects of the investigation should be forwarded to the police as soon as possible.

“This is also a timely reminder of the £10,000 Crimestoppers reward that is on offer for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Those with information can remain anonymous and still claim the reward.”

Previously, police have said they are seeking to trace two men and two vehicles seen near her home. She was last seen at around 3.05pm on March 18 2009 walking back towards her home, and that night she spoke to both her parents on the phone.

It is thought something happened to her after she left for work early on March 19.