Three suspects held over Claudia Lawrence murder

Chef Claudia Lawrence went missing in March 2009. Picture: PA
Chef Claudia Lawrence went missing in March 2009. Picture: PA
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Three men have been arrested on suspicion of the murder of missing chef Claudia Lawrence, prompting a series of new searches.

Police and forensic officers have been working at three houses not far from where Miss Lawrence lived in the Heworth area of York before she went missing six years ago.

I urge everyone to again show restraint and patience while we carry out these very important enquiries.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn

North Yorkshire Police said the men who have been detained are in their 50s and from the York area. It is understood they have not been arrested before and they remain in custody.

Miss Lawrence, who was 35 when she disappeared, was last seen on 18 March, 2009.

She was reported missing by her father, Peter, after concerns were raised when she failed to turn up for her 6am shift at a University of York kitchen.

Police have said they believe she was murdered although no body has ever been discovered and officers stressed today that Miss Lawrence had not been found.

After years of detectives finding no significant leads, North Yorkshire Police decided to review the case in 2013 following the formation of a new major crime unit.

Since then, a team has carried out a number of searches, including a detailed re-examination of Miss Lawrence’s home and a fingertip search of an alleyway that leads to the rear of the house.

They have also issued previously unseen CCTV footage of two people walking near the house.

The officer leading the new inquiry, Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, issued a warning earlier this year that he believed people were lying to him and 
he would take action against them.

A York man in his 50s who was arrested on suspicion of Miss Lawrence’s murder in March remains on police bail.

The new arrests, and the one in March, are understood to be linked to the new lines of ­inquiry.

A 60-year-old man was arrested last year in connection with her disappearance and suspected murder but was later released without charge.

And a 47-year-old man arrested last July on suspicion of perverting the course of justice has also been released with no further action taken.

Mr Malyn urged people not to identify the men who have been arrested to prevent the investigation being “compromised or potentially damaged in any way”.

He said: “I urge everyone to again show restraint and patience while we carry out these very important enquiries.

“Your co-operation and support is greatly appreciated by the investigation team.”