New Claudia Lawrence documentary to explore theories about York woman's disappearance

Claudia Lawrence. PA/North Yorkshire Police.
Claudia Lawrence. PA/North Yorkshire Police.

A new documentary about the disappearance of York woman Claudia Lawrence explores theories that she was sex trafficked to Amsterdam or fled to Cyprus.

Channel 5 releases the programme on Tuesday at 9pm after the 10-year anniversary of her vanishing aged 35 in March 2009.

Joan Lawrence. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Joan Lawrence. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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Claudia Lawrence: Missing or Murdered? features interviews with loved ones such as her parents Peter and Joan.

Her mother is due to reveal a new story as she "speculates" in the 45-minute documentary about previous theories on Claudia being sex trafficked to Amsterdam.

This follows police learning in July 2012 of a private investigator's claim to have seen her in the Netherlands city.

Joan says: "I think she's missing. I can't feel any cut-off.

Peter Lawrence. Picture: Simon Hulme.

Peter Lawrence. Picture: Simon Hulme.

"I think as a mother I would feel a cut-off here," she says, pounding her heart.

The show also investigates the theory than Claudia may have disappeared to Cyprus - a place she had previously visited - "of her own volition".

Doubt is cast on both theories by interviewees in the documentary.

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A spokeswoman for Channel 5 said: "We travel to Cyprus, where Claudia dreamed of building a new life.

"But when she vanished, police found her passport in her bedroom so had she been smuggled to the island in a van?

"Claudia’s mum reveals for the first time a new theory about how Claudia might have slipped out of the country.

"How credible was a sighting of Claudia in Amsterdam - could she, as her mum speculates, have been sex trafficked abroad?"

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.

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The broadcaster's spokeswoman continued: "The inquiry became more complex after the media went into a feeding frenzy over Claudia’s love life."

She added: "The tabloid attention made men in the local community reluctant to come forward with information, for fear of being thought to have had an affair with her.

"All the headlines were difficult for Claudia’s family and friends to cope with. The lack of information resulted in the eventual scaling back of one of the biggest inquiries in North

Yorkshire Police history."