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Father of Claudia Lawrence dies aged 74… after 12 years of searching for his missing daughter 

Father of ‘murdered’ chef Claudia Lawrence dies aged 74 – after 12-year search for answers following his daughter’s mysterious disappearance on the way to work

  • Retired solicitor Peter Lawrence, 74, has died of a short illness in a York hospice  
  • Claudia Lawrence, 35, vanished 12 years ago and last seen returned to her home 
  • Peter had regularly campaigned to keep his chef daughter’s case in public eye  

The campaigning father of Claudia Lawrence – who vanished 12 years ago – has died without finding out what happened to her.

Peter Lawrence, 74, passed away in a hospice after a short illness, it was confirmed yesterday.

The retired solicitor made regular appeals for information to keep the case of his daughter, a chef, in the public eye.

Retired solicitor Peter Lawrence, 74, (pictured) passed away in a York hospice after a short illness, it was confirmed yesterday

Miss Lawrence, 35, was last seen returning to her home in the Heworth area of York from her job at the city’s university in March 2009. The search became one of the largest missing persons investigations by North Yorkshire Police.

The force has said it will never give up on the suspected murder case. Detectives say her ‘complex’ private life – which they believed involved at least one affair with a married man – was key.

Nine arrests were made, and in 2015 a file on four men was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service – but none was ever charged. Mr Lawrence channelled his experience into campaign and ambassador roles with the Missing People charity.

He received an OBE for helping to shape the 2017 Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act, known informally as Claudia’s Law.

Peter Lawrence (left with daughter Claudia) made regular appeals for information to keep the case of his daughter, a chef, in the public eye

Peter Lawrence (left with daughter Claudia) made regular appeals for information to keep the case of his daughter, a chef, in the public eye

Friend and spokesman Martin Dales said Mr Lawrence will be ‘sorely missed by his family and friends who request privacy at this sad time’.

Mr Dales added: ‘I still think there is somebody out there… who has information which can help the police to crack this case.’

Mr Lawrence, a retired solicitor, made regular appeals for information in the years following his daughter’s disappearance in an effort to keep the case in the public eye.

Speaking on the 11th anniversary of his daughter’s disappearance last March, Mr Lawrence said he believed the answer to resolving the mystery lay in the local community.

Speaking on the 11th anniversary of his daughter’s disappearance last March, Mr Lawrence said he believed the answer to resolving the mystery lay in the local community

Speaking on the 11th anniversary of his daughter’s disappearance last March, Mr Lawrence said he believed the answer to resolving the mystery lay in the local community

He said: ‘I think for someone sitting on information, it would take possibly a change in that person’s relationship, or perhaps a fall out with a friend, for someone close to them to then come forward.’

Mr Lawrence was instrumental in shaping the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act.

The law, known informally as Claudia’s Law, created a new legal status of guardian of the affairs of a missing person, allowing someone to act in their best interests after they have been gone for 90 days or more.

The new legislation means families can oversee the financial and property affairs of their missing loved one, if the person has been missing for 90 days – lessening what can be a huge burden at a traumatic time.

Mr Lawrence died on Thursday in St Leonard’s Hospice, York.

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