Missing chef 'seen in Amsterdam'

Salisbury Journal: Claudia Lawrence went missing in March 2009 Claudia Lawrence went missing in March 2009

The father of missing university chef Claudia Lawrence has welcomed the "first sighting we've had for ages" as a sign his daughter has not been forgotten.

Miss Lawrence, who would now be 38, has not been seen since she failed to turn up for work at York University in March 2009.

Martin Dales, the spokesman for Miss Lawrence's father, Peter, said a former private detective has contacted him to say he spotted someone with a striking resemblance to her a week ago in Amsterdam.

Mr Dales said the information has been passed on to North Yorkshire Police for following-up with their Dutch counterparts.

In a statement, Mr Dales said: "We are very grateful to all members of the public who remain vigilant in supporting both the Police and the family's attempts to find out what has happened to Claudia. We don't know if this is a sighting of Claudia or not but we trust that it will be fully checked out."

Mr Dales told ITV Calendar News: "The fact that the gentleman in question phoned me up to tell me about this and then followed it up with an email with the detail of the timings, where he was and the fact that his work had been in investigative sort of things means that people are aware."

He added: "Whether or not it'll lead to anything I don't know, but it's the first sighting we've had for ages."

The chef was last seen on March 18, 2009 near her home in Heworth, York. She never turned up for work the next morning in the university kitchen.

North Yorkshire Police launched a huge inquiry which has subsequently been scaled back. Detectives have said repeatedly they believe Miss Lawrence has been murdered.

A police spokeswoman said: "The investigation to discover what has happened to Claudia remains ongoing and this latest information shows that Claudia is still in the forefront of people's minds."

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