York & North Yorkshire

Police searching for missing York chef Claudia Lawrence examine alley

Claudia Lawrence Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Claudia Lawrence was 35 when she went missing six years ago

Detectives searching for missing chef Claudia Lawrence have re-examined an alleyway behind her home in York for fresh clues.

North Yorkshire Police said the new search might uncover a "significant" lead in their investigation. Specialist officers and a police dog were used.

The detective leading the search said he thought some people in the community had lied to his officers.

Miss Lawrence disappeared from her house on Heworth Road in 2009.

The new line of inquiry comes ahead of her 41st birthday, on Friday.

Officers have also carried out house-to-house inquiries in the area and are contacting former residents.

'Community lies'

Miss Lawrence, who worked at the University of York, had been due to start a shift at 06:00 on 19 March but did not arrive.

Searches of the area were made but she was not found and police have since treated her disappearance as murder.

Det Sup Dai Malyn said: "My team and myself are determined if anyone is lying to us, with the right legal reasons considered, we will be arresting people who continue to lie.

"I am convinced people have information they are sat on or they have lied to us previously."

Image caption Det Sup Dai Malyn said anyone obstructing the inquiry would face arrest

Miss Lawrence's father, Peter, said he was appalled. "If the police believe they have been lied to, they must have reason to say so.

"To lie in these circumstances is just dreadful."

Referring to the re-examination of the alleyway, Det Sup Malyn said: "I am interested in this alleyway and whether it was significant in Claudia's disappearance.

"We are looking at it with fresh eyes and I do feel from judgement and experience it is worth revisiting these scenes.

"We still don't know if Claudia left for work... or whether something happened overnight within her house.

"If the latter is the case, the person or persons responsible, in my view, would have used the rear alleyway as the front door leads onto a busy main road. This is why this specific piece of information needs to be fully investigated."

Det Sup Malyn said searching Miss Lawrence's home again in 2013 using fresh forensic techniques had produced new information.

"I am confident doing this type of work does lead to people coming forward with fresh information."

Image caption The alley runs behind Miss Lawrence's home in the Heworth area of York
Image caption Police hope a fresh search of the alleyway might reveal new clues into what happened to Miss Lawrence

CCTV recording equipment in the neighbourhood would also be checked again.

"I firmly believe keeping the focus on and seeking the public's help we will get that breakthrough. I am determined and we won't give in until we get an answer," said Det Supt Malyn.

Peter Lawrence said he said he hoped today's search would jog someone's memory or "someone's conscience".

"We all know someone out there knows what happened to Claudia and the family just need to know. It is wearing us down."

Miss Lawrence's mother, Joan, said: "It's a nightmare every single day.

"All the time you look out of the window in the morning and you wonder where she is."

A review of the case in October 2013 led to two arrests but no-one has been charged.

A 60-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder last May and was later released from bail.

A 47-year-old man was held on suspicion of perverting the course of justice last July and remains on bail while inquiries continue.

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