York & North Yorkshire

Claudia Lawrence: Missing York chef review to be 'scaled-down'

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

A £1m review into the case of a missing woman is to be "scaled-down" from February, police have said.

Claudia Lawrence disappeared on her way to work in York in March 2009. Officers believe the chef, who was 35 when she went missing, was murdered.

Nine individuals have been arrested or interviewed in connection with the case since the review began in 2013, but no charges have been brought.

North Yorkshire Police said the case remained open.

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The force said one line of inquiry relating to a DNA profile would take a further six weeks, after which the active investigation would cease.

Miss Lawrence's family has been informed the review had reached its conclusion, the force said.

'Worked tirelessly'

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy said: "It is not for the want of trying that a breakthrough has not yet come, but rather the result of the continuing refusal of those who know what happened to Claudia to come forward and tell us the truth."

Mr Kennedy said new lines of inquiry in what was an "extremely challenging and complex case" had been pursued with "vigour and determination".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Miss Lawrence's father Peter reported her missing after she failed to meet a friend for a drink

"The case will not be closed until those responsible for Claudia's disappearance and, we believe, her murder, are brought to justice.

"While the current review team will and has been scaled down, the new Cleveland and North Yorkshire cold case dedicated team will still have responsibility to review any information that is considered relevant," he added.

Martin Dales, who speaks for Miss Lawrence's father Peter, said it was a "depressing day" but the family were grateful for the police's "extremely hard work".

He added: "Someone out there knows what is going on or what was going on and is yet to produce that information.

"Somebody knows something and it is about time that everyone was put out of their misery to find out what has actually happened."

The last contact anyone had with Miss Lawrence, who worked at the University of York, was when she spoke to her mother by phone on the 18 March 2009.

She failed to attend work the following day and was later reported missing.

Det Supt Dai Malyn, who led the review, said: "I acknowledge how sad Claudia's parents and sister feel that we have been unable to give them the answers they want, and everyone in the team shares their frustration.

"We have worked tirelessly for three years and we are sorry that we have not been able to prove what happened to Claudia, or to find her."

Image caption The review involved fresh searches of Miss Lawrence's home and the neighbouring area

Claudia Lawrence timeline

  • 18 March 2009 The last sighting of Miss Lawrence as she walks back to her house after a shift at work and speaks to her mother, Joan, on the phone
  • 19 March 2009 Police are informed of her disappearance after she fails to meet a friend for a pre-arranged drink at a pub
  • 23 March 2009 Her father Peter Lawrence appeals for information about his daughter at a press conference in York
  • 25 March 2009 CCTV footage of the chef's last known movements are released
  • 24 April 2009 Detectives say they are treating Miss Lawrence's disappearance as a suspected murder investigation
  • 6 May 2009 Police reveal they have received more than 1,000 calls about the disappearance and had taken 1,096 statements
  • 6 May 2010 Mr Lawrence calls for an urgent independent inquiry into the police investigation
  • 29 July 2010 Police confirm they are scaling back the number of officers dedicated to the inquiry
  • 29 October 2013 Police announce that a new forensic search of Miss Lawrence's home is to begin as they launch a fresh review of the case
  • 13 May 2014 A 59-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of murder. He is later released without charge in November
  • March-April 2015 Four men are arrested on suspicion of murder and released on bail
  • 8 March 2016 Police say the Crown Prosecution Service has decided the four men will not face charges
  • 17 January 2017 Police say the review into the case, which has cost £1m, is to be "scaled-down"

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