England

Claudia Lawrence: Men will not face murder charges

Claudia Lawrence Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Claudia Lawrence disappeared in March 2009

Four men arrested over the murder of missing chef Claudia Lawrence will not face any charges.

The men, who are all in their 50s and from the York area, were arrested last year.

Miss Lawrence, 35, disappeared after leaving her house on Heworth Road in York on 19 March in 2009.

North Yorkshire Police said the decision not to charge the four men had been taken by the Crown Prosecution Service.

'Agonising'

The arrests - made in March and April of last year - came after a review of the initial investigation into Miss Lawrence's disappearance was launched in 2013.

Det Supt Dai Malyn, who led the review, said he believed the investigation had been "compromised by the reluctance of some, and refusal of others, to co-operate with police inquiries".

He said: "I am sure that there are some people who know, or who have very strong suspicions about, what happened to Claudia.

"For whatever reason, they have either refused to come forward, or have been economic with the truth.

"I am left with the inescapable conclusion that this case could still be solved if only people were honest with us.

"The fact that they are not is agonising for Claudia's family and they should be ashamed of themselves."

'Never give up'

Det Supt Malyn said he believes a man captured on CCTV walking near to Miss Lawrence's home on the night of her disappearance was "the most important person to trace".

"He hasn't come forward. I can only speculate why he hasn't done so and whether someone is protecting him," he said.

He had not ruled out the possibility a "complete stranger" was involved but "strongly favoured the theory" those involved in her disappearance were "close to her", he added.

Det Supt Malyn went on to say the force "will never give up on Claudia".

"The case will remain open until the day Claudia has been found and those responsible for her suspected murder are brought to justice," he said.

Martin Dales, a friend and spokesman for Miss Lawrence's father Peter, said: "It is nearly the seventh anniversary of Claudia disappearing and it seems that we're all back to square one. It's really quite depressing especially as someone is clearly withholding the information needed."

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