Claudia Lawrence: Detective leading investigation into Yorkshire chef's disappearance and murder releases new statement

The detective in charge of the investigation into the suspected murder of York chef Claudia Lawrence has released a new statement clarifying North Yorkshire Police’s position on the case on the 15th anniversary of her disappearance.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Claudia, then 35, was reported missing on March 18 in 2009, after failing to turn up for a shift at a University of York canteen, and was last heard from the previous day. She lived alone in the Heworth area of the city.

Nobody has ever been charged in connection with her disappearance, which North Yorkshire Police are treating as a murder investigation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Three years ago, officers searched a gravel pit in the village of Sand Hutton in connection with the case, and Detective Superintendent Wayne Fox said in a fresh statement today that he remains open to tip-offs from the public about what could have happened to Claudia, who grew up in Malton.

Searches of the gravel pits at Sand Hutton in 2021 came after a tip-off, but there were no breakthroughs in the caseSearches of the gravel pits at Sand Hutton in 2021 came after a tip-off, but there were no breakthroughs in the case
Searches of the gravel pits at Sand Hutton in 2021 came after a tip-off, but there were no breakthroughs in the case

The inquiry is now being treated as a cold case.

Detective Superintendent Fox said: “My thoughts as we enter the 15th year since Claudia Lawrence was reported missing remain with her mum, Joan. I cannot begin to understand the pain that Joan and her family feel every single day.

"For such pain and despair to continue for 15 years without knowing where your child is, or what happened to them, well that is far beyond what any mum or dad should ever have to live with.

Detective Superintendent Wayne FoxDetective Superintendent Wayne Fox
Detective Superintendent Wayne Fox
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Joan has lived with unending uncertainty and trauma since the last conversation she had with Claudia on the telephone on the evening of 18 March 2009.

"I also think about Claudia’s dad, Peter, who tragically passed away three years ago without ever knowing what happened to his daughter.

"This year, the anniversary of Claudia’s disappearance is even more poignant as she would have celebrated her 50th birthday on 27 February.

"That she has been denied the opportunity of fulfilling her potential and living life in a way that made her happy, be that in career aspiration, travelling the world or the possibility of raising children, is tragic in the extreme.

Claudia, pictured with her late father Peter, would have been 50 this yearClaudia, pictured with her late father Peter, would have been 50 this year
Claudia, pictured with her late father Peter, would have been 50 this year
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Let us not forget that Claudia’s family and closest friends have also been denied the opportunity of living and sharing these moments with her. That is equally sad and can surely only magnify the pain that they continue to feel 15 years on.

"Having been appointed senior investigating officer in October 2020, I am fully aware of the complexities that exist in this inquiry, which sadly has to be treated as that of a suspected murder.

"However, the single barrier to unlocking the answers for Claudia’s loved ones and bringing those responsible for her disappearance to justice, remains the same – silence.

"Silence from the people who know, or may suspect, what happened to Claudia but have, so far, for reasons that are only known to them, been unable to come forward to the police or even pass on information to Crimestoppers anonymously.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"There may be many reasons as to why they have been unable to come forward, however, my plea to them on reaching 15 years of living with the knowledge you have is to do the right thing and make a report.

"You can help bring an end to the pain and uncertainty for Claudia, her mum and all who love her.

"Whilst the inquiry has been in a ‘reactive phase’ since 2017, I again want to make it clear that the investigation is not closed. Even after such a passage of time, our Cold Case Review Unit continue to receive information.

"Every new piece of information is carefully assessed against the significant volumes of material that has been gathered over the full course of the investigation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"If a specific line of enquiry is developed from receipt of new information, and grows in significance, we will take decisive action, as we did when extensively searching the gravel pits at Sand Hutton in August 2021.

"I hope the scale of activity which took place within that operation clearly demonstrates that, if information is capable of being effectively developed, North Yorkshire Police will work tirelessly in our continued search for the truth.

"If you know something that could help us find Claudia, or those involved in her disappearance and suspected murder, I urge you to come forward now.”

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should make a report via the North Yorkshire Police website or by calling 101, select option 4, and pass details to the Force Control Room.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded, and you will not go to court. Please quote “Claudia Lawrence” when providing details.