North Yorkshire Police have confirmed the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision that the four men arrested in connection with the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence will not be charged with any offences.
Det Supt Dai Malyn said: “For legal reasons I am limited about what I can say, but I respect the decision made by the Crown Prosecution Service.
“We have made several arrests in this enquiry and, as a result, we have had positive reactions from the public and very useful information.
“We do not arrest people without weighing up the proportionality and justification for the arrest. To eliminate people from an enquiry, we sometimes have to search for evidence that either supports their alibis or not.
“Seven years on this is more difficult to do just relying on memory, therefore if it is justified, proportionate and necessary, we will arrest or apply for search warrants.
“The investigation team will continue to thoroughly assess any new leads and information. We remind those who we suspect are withholding key information about Claudia that we will not give up our quest to find the truth.
“As we move towards the seventh anniversary of Claudia’s disappearance, we hope the public will continue to help us and provide that vital information the family and we need to find out what happened to Claudia.”
Det Supt Malyn added: “We can’t rule out that a complete stranger to Claudia was involved and managed to avoid CCTV cameras, being disturbed by witnesses and is unknown to the investigation team, her friends and family.
“Until then, we will continue to investigate the information that regularly comes into the team and look at all possibilities.
“However, I still strongly favour the theory that the person - or persons - responsible for Claudia’s disappearance was someone - or several people - who were close to her.
“It was either very well-planned or there was a huge element of luck to have got away with it, so far at least. In my view they have probably been helped by the fact that those closely associated with Claudia have withheld key information.
“The team has worked tirelessly to get a breakthrough in this case and I thank every one of them for this. I’m hopeful one day we will get that bit of luck or that a courageous person will step forward to give us that break.
“I know Claudia’s family have appreciated our extensive efforts during the review and active investigation over the past two-and-a-half years. I also know what a fraught and painful process this has been for them as they continue their desperate search for answers about Claudia’s disappearance.
“I have personally told them that North Yorkshire Police 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.”
Det Supt Malyn also thanked the media for their support and responsible reporting in relation to the four men arrested on suspicion of murder last year. He has repeatedly requested that the men are not named for legal reasons and these requests have been honoured.
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, who has overseen the review of the investigation, said: “Over the past two-and-a-half years I have seen first-hand the sheer tenacity and professionalism of Det Supt Malyn and the Major Crime Unit to advance the Claudia Lawrence investigation.
“I am hugely grateful to the senior investigating officer and his team for their tenacity and sheer hard work to search for the truth. I also thank the group of national experts who have provided such valuable support and guidance to the investigation.
“This investigation will never be closed before we find the truth. If new information comes to light about Claudia Lawrence or anyone involved in her disappearance and suspected murder, North Yorkshire Police will act immediately.”
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and pass details to the Force Control Room. Please quote “Claudia Lawrence” when passing on details.
Alternatively, if you have any information about the Claudia Lawrence case, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
For further information on the Claudia Lawrence investigation and the updated appeal points, please go to the dedicated microsite on the North Yorkshire Police website www.northyorkshire.police.uk/claudialawrence
Peter Lawrence, Claudia’s dad, also has a dedicated website www.findclaudia.co.uk
The Claudia Lawrence appeal is also supported by the Missing People charity - www.missingpeople.org.uk