THE father of missing Malton chef Claudia Lawrence has spoken of his family’s despair that no one has come forward with any information about a possible sighting of his daughter.

Peter Lawrence, speaking at a press conference in Hovingham on Monday, said that he was disappointed and angry that a Crimewatch appeal on prime time television had not yielded any fresh clues as to the identity of the man and woman seen in Melrosegate Bridge in York at 5.30am on March 19.

Mr Lawrence said he believed the man seen on Melrosegate was local, simply because he was up at that time, and that he was frustrated that nobody who lived in the area had come forward to identify the man.

He said: “If that person was local, either a member of the family or a workmate or neighbour knows who he is.

“Someone could be shielding the person responsible, but this is potentially a serious criminal investigation, and whoever it is should come forward – both to help the police and to put my family out of its misery.”

During the Crimewatch programme, screened on Tuesday, June 2, 40 people rang in with information, but none was able to identify the man in Melrosegate.

The man was described by a witness as 5ft 6in tall, wearing combat trousers, and was wearing a dark hooded top, and was smoking, holding a cigarette in his left hand.

He was seen with a woman who could have been Claudia at 5.30am on March 19, near an electricity sub-station, on Melrosegate.

It is now 12 weeks since Claudia, 35, who worked as a chef at the University of York, went missing.

She has not been in contact with family or friends since the evening of March 18.

Since then her father, Peter, mother Joan, sister Ali and best friend Suzy have all spoken publicly of their hope that Claudia will return to them.

Despite his disappointment at the response to the Crimewatch appeal, Mr Lawrence said he was pleased with the sensitive way the television programme was produced.

He denied that there was any kind of rift between him and Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway, who is leading the investigation.

He said the only thing he disagreed with was Supt Galloway’s use of the word “relationship” to describe people Claudia had spent time with.