Police search quarry near York for remains of Claudia Lawrence

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Police search quarry near York for remains of Claudia Lawrence


York Police are searching for a flooded quarry in search of the remains of Claudia Lawrence, who disappeared in 2009.

The research is focused on the Sand Hutton gravel pits, a popular spot for angling in Sand Hutton, a village eight miles northeast of York.

Underwater search teams and forensic scientists are said to be in the pits for several days, North Yorkshire Police said.

Lawrence, who was 35 and worked as a chef at York University, was reported missing on March 20, 2009 after she failed to show up for an early morning shift the day before.

Police closed a road near gravel pits outside the York Biotech campus earlier Tuesday.

On Tuesday, police raided land in the Sand Hutton gravel pits. Photograph: Mark Brickerdike / PA

Search activity could be observed beyond the cordon about a mile from the A64 main road between York and Malton. Police vans and an incident command unit trailer were parked alongside the road and a number of areas of the forest were cordoned off.

Officers could be seen searching the undergrowth along a public bridle path through the forest. The research area includes two former gravel pits, which have reportedly been used as fishing ponds since 1969.

After Lawrence went missing, police quickly realized that she had been murdered and the search for her killer became a national hot topic.

Nine people were arrested in the course of the investigation, but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) still found that there was not enough evidence to charge one of them with her murder.

In a statement to the gravel pits on Monday, Superintendent Wayne Fox, head of the North Yorkshire Police Main Investigation Team and lead investigating officer in the case, said: ‘Although I am not in a position to disclose which brought us to this location, I would like to point out that the searches you will see in the coming days are just one of the many active investigative leads, which are currently under investigation and a prosecution by the North Yorkshire Police Major Investigation Team as part of our efforts to establish what happened to Claudia and identify anyone responsible for causing her harm.

The Lawrence family had been informed of the search, he added. Lawrence’s father Peter, who campaigned to change the law so that families could take over the affairs of missing loved ones, died in February at the age of 74 without knowing what had happened to his daughter.

Map of York Region showing key points of Claudia Lawrence’s disappearance

The quarry search is one of several carried out by North Yorkshire Police over the past 12 years – which so far have come to naught. Research locations included York University’s biology department, The Acomb pub in York, and Lawrence’s home in Heworth, a mile northeast of downtown York.

A number of hoaxes have cost the police time. Richard O’Rourke, 48, of Lincoln, was jailed for 18 months for hoaxes on the first anniversary of Lawrence’s disappearance that suggested she was buried in Heslington, a suburb of York, which has resulted in an unnecessary four-day search.

A teenage boy from Oxfordshire was also cautioned after he left a Facebook post claiming to be from Lawrence, which read: ‘Hey everyone just know I’m fine and safe. Talk to everyone soon. Claudie. xxx. “

Hundreds of officers from various forces were initially involved, but the investigation has shrunk over the years.

Speaking on the 10th anniversary of her disappearance in 2019, North Yorkshire Police Superintendent Dai Malyn said: ‘The fact remains that we strongly suspect that key and vital information is hidden, which could provide the breakthrough we all want to see. , not the least Claudia’s heartbroken family.

“Unless we obtain information or intelligence suggesting that Claudia was injured following an opportunity seized by someone unrelated to her, and I and the team still firmly believe the answer lies locally.

He said police were convinced that a breakthrough could come from sharing information by the public with force, as in other cold cases.

The investigation was hampered by the lack of CCTV around Lawrence’s home, as well as the fact that she did not have a smartphone or social media profile when she disappeared.

Lawrence’s cell phone did not leave the area until it left the telephone network, which police say gives weight to the theory that her attacker was known to her.

Her phone – a silver Samsung D900 – and her blue and gray Karrimor backpack in which she was carrying her boss’s whites have never been found.

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