Claudia Lawrence: Police end Sand Hutton lake search

Claudia Lawrence: Nothing of significance has been found during the latest search od Sand Hutton Lake which was drained as part of the investigation.

35-year-old Claudia Lawrence has not been seen since she failed to turn up to York University where she worked as a chef in March 2009.

New information is believed to have led police to relaunch service activity within the murder investigation whereby police began a search of Sand Hutton gravel pits which is located about eight miles from York.

Some items have been recovered by North Yorkshire Police but there is no obvious link to Ms Lawrence but these items are being accessed by forensic officers.

Leading the inquiry, Det Supt Wayne Fox said “nothing of obvious significance” was located during searches of part of the wooded area and in the smaller of the two lakes at the site.

He said separate strands of information had been received which led to the two-week search at Sand Hutton.

“When we assessed these separate and independently-sourced pieces of information against the wealth of information already generated during the last 12 years, we found they correlated with other information pointing to the area of Sand Hutton,” he said.

Det Supt Fox added that officers had consulted with national experts and concluded they could not discount the “possibility that Sand Hutton gravel pits could have a major relevance in explaining what happened to Claudia”.

He said the force had been duty-bound to conduct thorough searches.

“Not searching was not an option – not for Claudia, not for her family, and not for the wider public,” he added.

The searches at Sand Hutton involved draining the smaller of the two lakes and combing through extensive woodland that surrounds both lakes.

Det Supt Fox said while a small number of items were recovered during the two-week search, which was being assessed for their forensic potential, any relevance to Ms Lawrence’s disappearance had not currently been established.

Claudia was last seen about 3pm on Wednesday 18th March 2009 as she walked towards her home on Heworth Road in York,

She spoke to both of her parents that evening on separate phone calls but failed to arrive for her shift within Goodricke College the following day.

She was last seen at 15:05 GMT on Wednesday 18 March 2009 as she walked towards her home on Heworth Road, York.

Peter Lawrence her father was reported missing on March 20th after a friend called him when she did not turn up at a local pub on the evening of 19 March.

A number of people have been questioned in relation to her disappearance, but no charges have ever been brought.