Appeal for missing chef's partners to come forward

The detective leading the hunt for missing chef Claudia Lawrence, who disappeared 11 weeks ago in York, yesterday urged men who had a relationship with the 35-year-old to come forward if they wanted to be handled in a "discreet, confidential and controlled" manner.

Ms Lawrence was involved in relationships of "complexity and mystery", and kept those relationships secret from friends and family, police said.

Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway said: "The opportunity for people to come forward and rely upon my confidence is an opportunity that will perish over time. I need them to come forward now."

The detective ruled out Ms Lawrence having any involvement with escort or dating agencies, and said that the emphasis of the inquiry was "definitely not" focused on married men.

"I would particularly like to appeal to people either involved in a relationship, friendship, acquaintance with Claudia that was being conducted discreetly, or anybody who knew of a friend, a neighbour, a colleague who was involved in such a relationship. My real concern is that they, by not coming forward ... will be protecting the person or people who have brought her to harm." North Yorkshire Police has classified its investigation as one of suspected murder.