Father wanting reform of missing persons law

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THE father of Claudia Lawrence has spoken of his hope that the Government will push ahead with a major reform of the law to overhaul the rights of the families of missing people.

Peter Lawrence heard evidence yesterday to the Justice Select Committee in London about the ordeal families have faced while dealing with the estate of a missing relative. Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly acknowledged the system is “cumbersome” and confirmed he will report back on the committee’s findings by Easter. Mr Lawrence, 65, from York, said: “The Minister’s comments were extremely encouraging. Reform is needed to ease the burden on families at a time when they are dealing with enough heartache.”

Calls have been made for a law change after some families of missing people have lost their homes and jobs while battling to pay unexpected bills. Miss Lawrence was last seen walking near her home in York on March 18, 2009. North Yorkshire Police upgraded the missing person inquiry to a murder investigation the following month, but have found no trace of her.