THE mother of missing Claudia Lawrence says she is “flabbergasted and bewildered” by the suggestion her daughter could have been the victim of a convicted killer.

Joan Lawrence recently met with Karen Edwards whose daughter Becky was murdered by Christopher Halliwell in Swindon in 2003.

Karen recently told a national newspaper she believed Halliwell had links to the north, and one report suggested he had been seen with chef Claudia in York before her disappearance in March 2009.

Karen told the paper: “This witness said he saw Halliwell talking to Claudia through a taxi window."

Joan visited Karen’s home in Swindon for the meeting, and said she was upset by the suggestion Halliwell may have been involved with Claudia’s disappearance.

She said: “He is an evil, awful man. The thought of him being linked to Claudia is devastating.”

Halliwell, 53, was last year sentenced to a whole-life sentence for murdering Becky, and also admitted killing 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan in Swindon in 2011.

Last year, a former detective superintendent, Steve Fulcher, suggested Halliwell may have killed Claudia, as his father had lived in York, suggesting he may have visited the area. However, North Yorkshire Police said Halliwell’s father was not a resident of York or North Yorkshire, and had died in 1992.

Wiltshire Police said it had been “in ongoing contact with North Yorkshire Police concerning the claims made by Mr Fulcher”, and “at this time" there was nothing to indicate a link.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, of the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Major Investigation Team, said the links were "speculative at best", and there was no known link between Halliwell and Claudia. Karen and Joan said they felt an “incredible connection” after meeting, and Karen said they were “exclusive members of a club that no-one wants to join”.

Martin Dales, friend and spokesman for Claudia's father Peter Lawrence, said: “It would appear there may be new people coming forward with information that police might not have received during the last eight years since Claudia went missing. No doubt the police will want to be following up on any new leads or witnesses as they have always said they would.”