Mother of missing Claudia Lawrence believes 2021 could be the year mystery of daughter's disappearance is finally solved

The mother of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence has spoken of her anguish on the anniversary of her daughter's disappearance and has told The Yorkshire Post she believes 2021 could be the year the mystery is finally solved.

Today it is 12 years since Claudia of Heworth, York, went missing on March 18, 2009, aged 35.

Speaking from her home in Malton, North Yorkshire, Joan Lawrence said: "I have a gut feeling this year will bring something that could lead us to discover what has happened to Claudia. I pray for that each day.

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"I don't feel any cut off from Claudia as a mother. I have never felt that. I do not feel a tug that that has happened."

Joan Lawrence, mother of Claudia.

Mrs Lawrence, 77, says there is not a day goes by where she doesn't wake up thinking of her daughter and has found the last year particularly difficult due to not being able to see her other daughter, Ali and grandchildren in Derbyshire due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Claudia was last seen at around 3.05pm that day at the junction of Heworth Road and East Parade, walking back towards her home on Heworth Road. She was also captured on CCTV as she left Goodricke College and as she walked home.

The university chef spoke to both her parents that evening over the telephone and was said to be in good spirits.

Mrs Lawrence said: "Claudia's disappearance could not have happened at a worse time as it was around Mothering Sunday, and now that is always such a difficult day.

Claudia Lawrence.

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"Even now, I still feel like it is all a bad dream. I don't know how I have got through it.

"I have a very strong face, and without that, I don't think I would have got through it.

"I have bad days, but then I realise I have a lot to be thankful for. Every day is a gift. John Sentamu (the former Archbishop of York) told me to take it a day at a time and he was right.

Peter Lawrence, the father of Claudia Lawrence, who went missing in York in 2009, is pictured reflecting on 2,000 days without his daughter in 2014. Mr Lawrence lit a candle for his daughter in the Chapel of Paulinus of York and Hilda of Whitby at Bishopthorpe Palace on the outskirts of York.

"It is difficult to plan ahead, even now. It is difficult to describe each day. I have always wanted something good to come out of this, even if it means me being able to help others in a similar situation."

Claudia was due to walk the three miles to her work on Thursday, March 19, for her 6am shift, but she never turned up.

Her mobile phone – a silver Samsung D900 – and blue and grey Karrimor rucksack in which she carried her chef’s whites, have never been found.

As the detective leading the murder inquiry into the disappearance of Claudia reveals officers are still investigating new lines of inquiry 12 years on, Mrs Lawrence reveals how it still gives her hope.

She said: "If you give up hope, you might as well give up all together.

"Someone came forward with some information just the other week which they thought was important to the investigation. This happens quite often and I think that is because I am more approachable. I am a good listener and I will always be grateful to anyone who comes forward with information they have. Whether it is nothing, or something, it is still important as it could be a key part of the information we need."

Since his daughter's disappearance, Mr Lawrence tirelessly campaigned to find out what happened to her.

Tragically, Mr Lawrence, who selflessly devoted himself to helping others with missing relatives through the charity Missing People, died last month at the age of 74, without ever knowing what happened to his daughter.

Mrs Lawrence described this as "the cruellest pain" any parent could endure.

She said: "No one should have to suffer that trauma and no parent should have to die without answers."