A BOOK which examines the mysterious disappearance of Claudia Lawrence will be launched tomorrow.
Gone, by Neil Root, examines all the theories about the Heworth chef’s disappearance from the sightings of a woman matching Claudia’s description twice seen arguing with a man near her work at the University of York, to her connections with expatriates in Cyprus, to the possibility she spent the night with a boyfriend before failing to turn up for her early morning shift on March 19, 2009.
The book has been written in cooperation with Claudia’s father Peter Lawrence, and Claudia’s friends and other relatives, with 35 per cent of the royalties going to the Missing People charity.
The police murder inquiry has cost more than £750,000 - compared to the £1,000 usually allotted to missing people investigations, said Mr Root.
Claudia was last known to have spoken to her mother Joan at about 8.10pm on March 18 but did not reply to a text received at 9.12pm - which Mr Root said was significant, questioning why she left her jewellery at home had she gone out socially.
In the conclusion of the book Mr Root suggests that she may have gone to see a boyfriend as a young colleague at the university had said Claudia told her she had spent a night with a boyfriend in the days preceding her disappearance.
However, the author suggests that the “high likelihood” was that Claudia was taken between her home on Heworth Road and Melrosegate post office on the morning of March 19 as the post office CCTV did not pick her up on its cameras. Her phone powered down or was switched off at about midday that day when it was within a small radius of Heworth.
In interview with Mr Lawrence, Mr Root asks whether he believed that if Claudia had come to harm she could have been buried close to the University of York campus or on it.
Mr Lawrence said: “Yes, and this has been suggested by others too. However police could not go and dig up all the construction work on campus.”
Mr Lawrence said he had also considered that a culprit may have been a transient construction worker on campus at that time and said she would have struggled or screamed had a stranger tried to take her.
In an afterword, he also writes that he had known “instinctively” that Claudia had been taken as all of her belongings were still in her house.
Mr Root refers to two potential sightings involving a man wearing a dark hoodie seen arguing a with a woman fitting a woman of Claudia’s description near Melrosegate at 5.35am on March 18, the last day Claudia arrived at work and another on University Road close to the campus between 6.05am and 6.15am on March 19, when Claudia failed to arrive for work.
He states that Claudia was known to have had “several relationships in the few years before she disappeared, one or two with married men”.
Mr Root concludes by appealing to anyone who may know what what has happened to come forward and not to have a “misguided sense of loyalty”.