Who is Claudia Lawrence? The Yorkshire woman who disappeared 12 years ago

Claudia Lawrence was born in Malton in 1974 to her solicitor father Peter and Malton Town Councillor Joan.

She was privately educated at York College for Girls and would go on to become a chef, eventually ending up working in the canteen at York University’s Goodricke College.

The last day she was seen alive was Wednesday March 18, 2009.

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Claudia completed her shift as normal at the university, finishing work at 2pm.

Claudia Lawrence with her father Peter.

CCTV footage recorded her leaving the campus on foot and cameras near her home in the Heworth area of the city recorded her walking home an hour later.

She would speak to both of her parents later that evening, both of whom later related that she appeared normal.

A final text message was sent from her phone at 8.23pm that night with a final incoming text received at 9.12pm. These messages are the last recorded communication she had.

The next day Claudia failed to report for her shift at work. Her manager tried to call her but the phone rang out.

Police investigating the disappearance are searching Sand Hutton Gravel Pits near York, 12 years after she was last seen

She also failed to attend a planned meeting with a friend at her local pub later that night. Her friend tried to get hold of Claudia that night and tried again the following day, both to no avail.

Concerned, she called her father Peter who in turn drove to Claudia’s home and entered using his own key.

Aside from unwashed dishes, the house was clean and tidy, with no signs of anything untoward. Her purse, passport and bank cards were all in the house, with only her phone, a set of hair straighteners and a rucksack she used to carry her chef’s whites missing. She once again had failed to show up to work.

Mr Lawrence contacted North Yorkshire Police that afternoon to report her missing.

The force would later face criticism in being slow to act upon this report but, after five weeks of there being no sign of Claudia, the case was upgraded from that of a search for a missing person to a full blown murder investigation.

Analysis of Claudia’s phone show that it remained on until 12.10pm on the day of her disappearance and that it did not leave the local area. It was switched off the following day.

The case would go on to receive widespread attention. A Crimestoppers reward of £10,000 was offered to anyone with key information, resulting in more than 1,000 calls.

The then Archbishop of York John Sentamu made an appeal for information and a reconstruction of her last movements featured on Crimewatch.

In the coming months the search would be widened to Cyprus where Claudia was known to have spent time.

Numerous leads were followed by police, including that of a man in a white van who was seen trying to talk to women in the area where Claudia walked to work.

Searches of the Heslington area of York, the university and local farmland would follow but all yielded nothing substantial.

In the summer of 2013 North Yorkshire Police created a £300,000 Major Crime Unit which began to look into the case. Further evidence gathered around the region led to a series of arrests the following year. All men were released without charge.

The case remained one of the country’s biggest mysteries.

Claudia’s father died in February of this year, having never found out what happened to his daughter.