York & North Yorkshire

Independent review praises Claudia Lawrence inquiry

Claudia Lawrence
Image caption Miss Lawrence worked as a chef at York University

An independent review has praised the way detectives have handled the investigation into the disappearance of York chef Claudia Lawrence.

Miss Lawrence was last seen near her home in Heworth on 18 March 2009. Police are treating her disappearance as suspected murder.

North Yorkshire Police has come under criticism for its handling of the case.

The National Policing Improvement Agency said it had been carried out with "integrity and objectivity".

The report noted that good practice was evident in the inquiry and no investigative opportunities had been overlooked.

Miss Lawrence, who was 35 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen near her home in Heworth and failed to arrive for her job as a chef at the University of York the following morning.

The Claudia Lawrence investigation is one of the largest carried out by North Yorkshire Police and has so far cost more than £600,000.

An initial review of the police investigation into her disappearance was carried out by the National Policing Improvement Agency last year.

'Lessons learned'

A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "North Yorkshire Police remain as committed as ever to solving Claudia's disappearance and bringing closure to her family.

"Both reviews were commissioned voluntarily and can be seen as a demonstration of our commitment that no stone is left unturned in our drive to find out what has happened to Claudia."

Family spokesman Martin Dales said the police appeared to have learnt lessons after early problems handling the volume of information coming in from the public.

"I think that was a problem and it has been recognised and hopefully will not happen again," he said.

"We know it has been a very complex business and I think that is recognised by the report's findings.

"Obviously the amount of publicity that this case has brought with it has brought huge amounts of information in.

"I'm reassured that it [the report] also says the issues have been addressed and have not affected the outcome of any lines of investigation."

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