THE father of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence hopes a cold-case review has made a potentially crucial breakthrough, five years on from her disappearance.
Police will reveal new information on Wednesday night on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme about Claudia’s movements before she vanished in March 2009, and Peter Lawrence said that when detectives began reviewing her case, he “knew they would find something”.
Claudia, from Heworth, who was 35 when she disappeared, last spoke to her father five years ago today when they arranged to meet several days later at her local pub, the Nags Head. She has not been seen since, and Mr Lawrence said her family and friends had suffered half a decade of “torture”.
Her case is among those being analysed by North Yorkshire Police’s major crime unit, which last autumn carried out a new forensic examination of her home. Mr Lawrence said: “I knew they would find something, in the same way that somebody else looking through my files would find something I didn’t.
“How important that new information would be remains to be seen, but if you have a new team, an experienced team, they will find something new.”
Mr Lawrence said his daughter’s disappearance was an “unusual case”, saying: “Claudia, in the best sense of the word, was just a very ordinary person.
“Sometimes I think it can’t possibly be as long as five years, but at other times it feels a lot longer. We have got to continue to feel there is some hope we will find her alive.
"The second hope is that we find out what happened. We have got to have faith and the police review will carry on as long as it takes, but I can’t say they would be able to carry on after that.”
In an emotional press conference at Middlethorpe Hall yesterday, Mr Lawrence said: “Nobody knows, unless they have been in the same position, what it means every day and most nights, wondering and worrying.
“We have now had more than 1,800 of those days and nights. It’s an awfully long time for anybody to be in this position and it eats into you. It’s actually a cancer - it gets worse and worse. There is no resolution until we know what happened to Claudia.”
He said he hoped the “loyalties” of anybody who knew what happened to his daughter may have changed in the last five years, but said: “Even if they have not changed, for her family’s sake say something, because this is torture - please realise what it is doing to us.
“People have been missing for longer than this and have been returned safely, or at least returned to their families.”
Mr Lawrence said that if Claudia is alive, he knows she will have changed in the last five years, but said: “I also think what those five years would have brought if she had still been with me - I have missed that.”
Claudia was last seen on March 18, 2009, and was reported missing after failing to arrive for work at the University of York the next day, when she was due on an early shift.
The investigation into Claudia's disappearance is officially a suspected murder inquiry, but despite the efforts of hundreds of officers and numerous appeals, nobody has been arrested on suspicion of her abduction or killing.