NEWS

Claudia Lawrence: Inside The Home Of The Chef Who Went Missing Eight Years Ago

Her clothes still hang in her wardrobe.

14/02/2017 16:03 | Updated 14 February 2017

Cameras have been allowed into the home of missing chef Claudia Lawrence for the first time since she vanished eight years ago.

The York University chef was 35 when she disappeared on 18 March 2009.

Though several arrests have been made, no charges have been brought and Lawrence’s whereabouts remain a mystery.

North Yorkshire Police/PA Archive
Claudia Lawrence went missing in 2009 

On Tuesday investigative journalist Mark Williams-Thomas appeared on This Morning where he revealed exclusive access to her home, which until now has been open only to her parents and the police.  

Lawrence’s clothes still hang in her wardrobe and the dusty shelves remain untouched.

Williams-Thomas, who continues to investigate the case on his crime series Unsolved, said: “My police contacts are very clearing telling me that they believe those responsible for Claudia’s disappearance and murder have been in this house.

This Morning
Mark Williams-Thomas believes the case is solvable 

“Police recently went back into her home and used the latest forensic technology in the hope of uncovering new evidence. The Nags Head pub became the central part of the police investigation, it was only a few doors away from Claudia’s house and she was a regular visitor.”

One of Lawrence’s close friends, Jennifer King, who worked behind the bar at the Nags Head remains hopeful that she is alive.

She said: “We are just in a constant cycle of grief - I’ve been angry with her [thinking] if she’s got herself into a situation, I’ve been upset, I’ve been in denial, and I’ve just accepted it… but then it all comes round again because we just don’t know. It’s painful. I was just Claudia’s friend and it’s painful for me, I can’t imagine what her parents are going through and her sister.”

This Morning
Inside Lawrence's flat, which until now has been sealed off to everyone other than her parents and the police 

Two years ago, on the sixth anniversary of Lawrence’s disappearance, detectives released previously unseen CCTV footage of a man acting suspiciously close to her home in Heworth, York.

Williams-Thomas said: “Six years after her disappearance police released what could be a very significant piece of information. But why did it take so long?

“There is a crucial piece of CCTV footage of a man walking down a path wearing dark clothing carrying a bag, and just over a minute later, the same man returns towards the corner where Claudia lives. Is that man vital to the inquiry? Because he still hasn’t been traced… even after eight years. There are still a number of sightings unaccounted for. One of those is a female, matching the description of Claudia seen talking to a male with a cigarette in his left hand. Those people are still unidentified.”

This Morning
Lawrence's flat has remained virtually untouched since she went missing 

Following the release of the footage, four men in their 50s from the York area were arrested on suspicion of murder, but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to charge them with any offences.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, who began a review of the original North Yorkshire Police investigation in the autumn of 2013, said the probe had been compromised by the reluctance and refusal of some people to cooperate with police inquiries.

He said he is now sure there are a number of people who know what happened to Lawrence but who have refused to come forward.

This Morning
Williams-Thomas with This Morning hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford 

He said: “I am sure that there are some people who know, or who have very strong suspicions about, what happened to Claudia. For whatever reason, they have either refused to come forward, or have been economic with the truth.

“I am left with the inescapable conclusion that this case could still be solved if only people were honest with us. The fact that they are not is agonising for Claudia’s family and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Williams-Thomas added: “They’ve done an awful lot - the initial stages of the investigation were very poor - they reviewed it in 2013 and I have to say, the new level of investigation has been very, very thorough and I’ve looked at that and have spoken to the officers - as well as people known to Claudia - and I believe this case is solvable. I think there are two individuals involved in her disappearance and I think over time, when they either get into a position where they fall out with loved ones or they talk loosely, we’ll get into a position where we’ll be able to solve this.

“What we are talking about here, is people known to Claudia and those are the people that hold the vital clues, and even now, there are people not telling the truth. It’s those people that they need to crack… and I hope by doing this, and keeping it in the public’s interest, we must never forget the disappearance of Claudia, never forget her story, and keep talking about it and hopefully one day we’ll get enough to solve and bring those people responsible to justice.”

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS