Mother of missing Claudia Lawrence writing touching letter to family of Sarah Everard

The mother of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence has reached out to the family of Sarah Everard to offer her help and support, following her alleged murder.

Joan Lawrence told The Yorkshire Post she is writing a letter and sending a personalised painting to Ms Everard’s family as she knows “exactly how they feel”.

Ms Everard, 33, and originally from York, is alleged to have been kidnapped and murdered as she made her way home in south London, last week.

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Wayne Couzens, a serving Metropolitan Police officer has been charged with the murder and kidnap of Ms Everard, who is originally from York.Mrs Lawrence said: “When Claudia was first reported missing, I reached out to see if there were any support groups, only to be told there wasn't anything.

Joan Lawrence.

"I didn't want to bottle my feelings up as I firmly believe that it helps talking to someone about how you feel.

"It wasn't until about six weeks later that I discovered there was support out there."

Mrs Lawrence said she received support from a number of organisations including the Missing People charity and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, who helped her "enormously".

She has also been in touch with Karen Edwards, whose daughter Becky Godden-Edwards was murdered by taxi driver Christopher Halliwell; Teresa Yates, whose daughter Jo was murdered by Vincent Tabak in December 2010; and Kate and Gerry McCann whose daughter Madeleine was just three-years- old when she disappeared from her bed in a holiday apartment at a resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal in May 2007.

Claudia Lawrence.

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"If I can offer some support and comfort to Sarah's family, then that is really important.

“I feel a letter and a painting are much more personal than an email and for me, doing a painting with watercolours is very therapeutic.

“People handle things like this differently and perhaps later down the line they may want to reach out to me.”

Mrs Lawrence said she had “mixed feelings” over the protests taking place in London, following Ms Everard’s disappearance.

Metropolitan Police chief Dame Cressida Dick has faced questions over the force's handling of a vigil, which saw police officers clash with crowds gathered to remember the 33-year-old marketing executive.

The clashes between police and crowds at the vigil in Clapham Common on Saturday evening, have prompted reaction from forces across the country with representatives speaking of the "impossible situations" officers face when trying to protect the public during a pandemic.

"I look at these things from a mother's point of view and I am sure they wouldn't have wanted.

"I am sure the people that attended are all there for the safety of women which I am all for and it is something that needs to be done, but it has happened too quickly after Sarah was found.

"Speaking from experience, this will be so difficult for Sarah's parents, they will feel as if they are living on another planet and not feel like what has happened is real. Even now I still feel like all of this is a bad dream."

This week marks the 12th anniversary of Miss Lawrence going missing.

The University of York chef vanished on March 18, 2009.

Although no body has ever been found, North Yorkshire Police has been treating her disappearance as a suspected murder investigation.

Nine people have been arrested or interviewed under caution in connection with the investigation and police submitted files to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in relation to a number of individuals, but there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.