Unsolved Murders

Claudia Lawrence

Age: 35

Sex: female

Date: 18 Mar 2009

Place: Heworth Road, Heworth, York, West Yorkshire

Claudia Lawrence was last seen at 3.05pm in Melrosegate walking back to her home in Heworth Road after work on 18 March 2009.

Her body has not been found. A body was found in the River Ouse in York on 17 April 2009 but it was not hers.

She had been wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and trainers. She was 5ft 6in tall, slim and had brown hair. She was also thought to have been carrying a blue Karrimor rucksack in which she had had her work uniform.

Four people were arrested in relation to her murder in 2015 but no one was charged.

She had worked as a chef at The Lounge, student restaurant in Goodricke College, part of the University of York and had earlier been to work there at 5.57am, later leaving at 2.31pm. When she had left work she had started to walk back home but a colleague who saw her stopped and gave her a lift home in their car. She had been walking to and from work for a while after her car had broken down. It was not thought that she would have got into a car with a stranger.

Shortly after being dropped off home she had gone out and walked past the Nag's Head pub during which she had a short conversation with woman with a pram.

She was then seen walking back to her home at 3.05pm but never seen alive again. However, later that evening at 8.10pm that day she had a conversation on the telephone with her father and had arranged to meet him at the Nag's Head pub on 20 March 2009. She then had a conversation on the telephone with her mother and had talked about what they had been watching on television and arranged to meet up on Mother's Day.

Then at 8.23pm she sent a text message to her friend. She later received a text message at 9.12pm from a bar worker in Cyprus that she had met on holiday but it is not known whether she had read it.

The next day, 19 March 2009, she failed to turn up for work for her 6am shift.

At some point during the day her mobile phone went dead, having either been switched off or it's battery dying. It was never found. Claudia Lawrence was described as a prolific texter. Her phone was a silver Samsung D900.

She had arranged to meet a friend that evening at the Nag's Head pub but she failed to show up and her friend then called Claudia Lawrence's father who then called the police.

When her friends went into her home they said that it looked like she had just left for work. They said that her slippers were by the front door and her jacket and the rucksack she used to put her chef’s whites in were gone. Her jewellery and her handbag were also still there as usual as she never took them to work. Ordinarily she always took them with her when going out, but not when going to work. Police also found her passport, driving licence and bank cards.

It was thought that she might have got into a car with someone that she knew on the way to work.

A witness had said that they had seen a man and a woman arguing on University Road at 06.10am on 19 March 2009. The witness said that they were across the carriageway from a parked car which had its passenger car door open. The witness said that they looked as though they were involved in some form of verbal altercation.

Another lead that was considered was the sighting of two Asian men that were seen outside her house on about 10 or 13 March 2009. They were said to have been in their 20's and one of them had appeared to have been quite nervous and that they had appeared to have tried to open her door, either with a key or otherwise. The witness said that she had watched them for about 3 to 4 minutes as she was in slow moving traffic.

During their investigation, the police focussed on what was described as her complex web of relationships but her father said that she had not had many relationships and could count the number of boyfriends that she had had on two hands. However, the police said that she had had at least 12 relationships over the previous five years, many of them with married men.

The police said that they thought she had had a date two nights before she had vanished with a mystery boyfriend but they did not know who the boyfriend was.

The investigation was also taken to Cyprus where she had had a number of job offers. In 2012 the police also followed up a possible sighting of her in Amsterdam.

In 2015 four men in their 50's were arrested in relation to her murder but were not charged. They were described as Claudia Lawrence's drinking friends and had all been quite close, living in each other's pockets. They had all lived minutes away from Claudia Lawrence.

Police said that their investigation had been hampered by the reluctance of some people that had been close friends of hers to come forward and help.

A detective 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'.

They also said that they could not rule out the possibility that she had been murdered on the night of 18 March 2009 and they were interested in identifying a man that was seen in CCTV at 7.15pm in Heworth Place, York. Further CCTV footage was also found that appeared to show the same man the following morning in Lime Court, Heworth Road.

In 2016 a detective who had worked on the Christopher Halliwell case, the convicted murderer, said that he thought that Christopher Halliwell might have been responsible for her murder.

In August 2021 the police announced that they were searching Sand Hutton gravel pits for her body following information they recieved. Sand Hutton gravel pits is about eight miles outside York. However, in September 2021 it was announced that the search had resulted in no new leads.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.bbc.co.uk

see BBC

see Mirror

see Telegraph

see Telegraph

see BBC Missing Claudia 'probably harmed'

see My Death Space

see Daily Mail

see Wikipedia

see Express

see BBC

see BBC