Claudia Lawrence: Police end Sand Hutton lake search

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Claudia Lawrence (PA)
Claudia Lawrence (PA)

Police have concluded their search of Sand Hutton lake as nothing of significance has been found in relation to the suspected murder of Claudia Lawrence.

Ms Lawrence went missing 12 years ago as she walked to work for a 6am shift at York University.

Police began a search of Sand Hutton gravel pits, about eight miles (13km) outside the city, on August 24.

Police also searched a lake which is located around seven miles from where Ms Lawrence was last seen.

North Yorkshire Police said a small number of items, with no clear link to Ms Lawrence, were recovered and are being assessed.

Detective Superintendent Wayne Fox, Head of the Major Investigation Team, said "nothing of obvious significance" was found during searches of part of the wooded area and in the smaller of the two lakes at the site.

Ms Lawrence’s family, who continue to be supported and updated by North Yorkshire Police, have been made aware.

"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 discussed 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".

Last month, Ms Lawrence’s mother, Joan, said the new searches have left her in “utter shock”.

Mrs Lawrence told reporters she was “very, very churned up” about the latest developments in the investigation.

Speaking to The Mirror she said: “As a mum, hearing about a lake being drained and a fingertip search being carried out is just a nightmare.

“No parent should ever have to endure this. I’m left wondering every day what is going on and what might be found.

“Would it be her rucksack, her phone or anything at all?”

Police believe Ms Lawrence – who lived in the Heworth area of York – was murdered, although no body has ever been found

She was last seen on March 18 2009. North Yorkshire Police has conducted two investigations and questioned nine people in relation to her disappearance and suspected murder.

No charges have ever been brought.

If you have any information that could assist the investigation, contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and pass details to the Force Control Room quoting “Claudia Lawrence”.

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