A prayer for Claudia, three years on

Peter Lawrence remains hopeful that his daughter is still alive. He says not knowing is 'the worst'

Peter Lawrence is living in limbo. He is no closer to finding out what happened to his daughter, Claudia, than he was when she vanished three years ago today.

The 35-year-old chef was last heard from on 18 March 2009 when she made plans to see family and friends. She has not been seen since. Her disappearance sparked one of the biggest investigations ever carried out by North Yorkshire Police.

One way Claudia's 65-year-old father has dealt with her disappearance is to throw himself into his work. Another was to move to York a few months ago. He now lives a mile from Claudia's house in Heworth, on the city's outskirts.

Today the quietly spoken solicitor will go to York Minister where he will say a prayer for her. If the weather is good he plans to go for a walk, before phoning his other daughter, Ali.

And this week he will visit Claudia's house. "It's something that has to be done. I just stay there long enough to see that everything's secure and that there's no water coming through the roof, that's it."

Mr Lawrence admits that lobbying for guardianship rights for families of missing people has helped him cope with Claudia's disappearance. "I hadn't actually thought about that, but I expect it probably has helped."

Yesterday he spoke at a 10km charity run in London's Regent's Park where he thanked people for supporting the Missing Rights Campaign.

But he is struggling to deal with his own situation. "It doesn't get any easier. It's the not knowing what's happened that's the worst. I've never believed that time is a healer." Claudia is on his mind "every day, walking down the street, driving in the car, I suppose the only time I don't think about her is when I'm working. Work has helped me cope with this."

Although it is "still painful" to talk about her, he is determined to keep his daughter's name from being forgotten. "As long as it's still out in the public mind, one day somebody will say something."

Mr Lawrence is convinced his daughter was abducted: "I think she was picked up and taken by somebody. She left everything behind and she would never be seen out of the house without handbag and jewellery."

He holds on to the hope that "whoever it is out there that knows about it suddenly has a conscience and says something". He does not accept that she may be dead. "I do not want her to be presumed dead in the context of the legislation that we are lobbying for, which is why I am seeking these guardianship provisions for families to be able to use after somebody goes missing until they are ready for them to be presumed dead."

The police investigation into the Claudia's suspected murder has been scaled down, but Mr Lawrence is encouraged that "information is still coming in". Det Supt Ray Galloway pledged on Friday: "We will never give up on the search for Claudia and those responsible for her disappearance."

Suggested Topics
News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsAll just to promote a new casino
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.