Missing Katrice Lee's father dismisses 'wishy-washy' PM offer

Katrice Lee Image copyright Other
Image caption Katrice Lee disappeared on her second birthday from a supermarket on a British military base in Germany in 1981

The father of missing girl Katrice Lee said he had no faith in David Cameron's "wishy-washy" promise to meet her family.

Mr Cameron said he will meet them, but only after a fresh investigation into her disappearance has concluded.

Two-year-old Katrice vanished in 1981 from a supermarket at a British military base in Paderborn, Germany, where her father was stationed.

Royal Military Police are conducting a new inquiry into the 33-year-old case.

Katrice's father, Sgt Maj Richard Lee from Hartlepool, dismissed the prime minister's offer and claimed Mr Cameron should be using meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to try and force a development.

The prime minister told BBC Tees: "If they want to meet me I'm always happy to meet with families; it may be better to meet after the investigation is completed.

"After the investigation is completed and if it's the right thing to do, then I will be very happy to meet the family."

Image copyright PA
Image caption David Cameron said the Royal Military Police's current investigation will be reviewed by an independent civilian force

Sgt Maj Lee said: "Actions speak louder than words and I hold very little faith with a very wishy-washy statement from the prime minister.

"If I met him now I would say to him 'Are all things being done that could be?'

"He has had every opportunity as a leader of state, for example using Angela Merkel's meetings, he could have asked her to look into this.

"Surely that would get more action."

Mr Cameron acknowledged the family had been let down by the initial investigation, which failed to determine what happened to Katrice.

He said: "It is every parent's nightmare when you take an eye off a child for a second and suddenly they've disappeared.

Image copyright Other
Image caption A special image has been produced of how Katrice may look now

"Every family has an experience of this and, tragically, some do end in them not being united, but I think the best thing is for this Royal Military Police investigation to conclude.

"Obviously, [the family] weren't properly served by the original investigation."

The prime minister also said an independent civilian police force would be reviewing the Royal Military Police's investigation.

Sgt Maj Lee said he still believes his daughter is alive and will not give up trying to find out what happened to her.

He said: "I'm 65, my daughter has been away from my life for 33 years. It's an awful thing to be in but I'm forced to live with it and I'm constantly fighting.

"I shouldn't have to be constantly fighting bureaucrats. I won't stop until I get an answer.

"I believe she will be on a database somewhere, blood or DNA, I would ask Angela Merkel to look at those.

"I've always believed she is alive, that she was snatched, stolen, ordered and sold to a childless couple.

"We hear of situations where children are turning up 30 years later. I believe she is alive."

Katrice disappeared on her second birthday while her family were out shopping.

Her mother left her at the checkout with her aunt for just a moment but when she returned the toddler had gone.

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