New lead in Claudia Lawrence case as police reveal they have a DNA profile from a cigarette butt linked to mysterious 'left-handed smoker'

 

Crime Correspondent

A DNA profile from a cigarette butt found in the car of missing chef Claudia Lawrence could be linked to a “left-handed” smoker spotted on the route of her final walk to work, police have said.

In a new appeal to mark the fifth anniversary of her disappearance, police revealed that they had not traced the people whose genetic profiles were found in new searches of her home and inside her Vauxhall Corsa car that was at a local garage when she went missing in York.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, who is heading a review of the case, said that there could be a link between the cigarette and a man spotted smoking with a woman on a bridge at 5.35am on March 19, 2009, that Miss Lawrence crossed during her journey to work.

"Despite numerous high-profile appeals, neither the man nor the woman have been traced. We believe it is important to repeat the appeal for any information that could identify these people,” the detective said.

"In particular, the man who smokes with his left hand could be significant to the investigation in relation to the male DNA profile found on a cigarette butt in Claudia's car."

Despite the new leads thrown up by a review of the case, police denied reports that they had identified a prime suspect responsible for the 35-year-old’s disappearance.

Ms Lawrence spoke to her parents on the night before she went missing and officers believe that she went missing as she walked to the University of York.

Officers have re-examined her terrace home for the last two months and retrieved new fingerprints using new scientific techniques that were yet to be identified. Mr Malyn said: "There is also other DNA material from items examined in the house that have been recovered. Forensic work is ongoing in respect of these items."

Her mobile phone and rucksack have not been found. Police said that the mobile was turned off less than seven hours after the sighting of the “left-handed” smoker and the woman on the bridge.

Detectives in the original inquiry team said they believed the key to the inquiry was her relationships with a number of men. A former head of the investigation said they had an "element of complexity and mystery to them".

Ms Lawrence’s father, Peter, yesterday described the torture that his family had suffered during the five years of searching.

"It's now five years, which is over 1,800 of those days and nights. It is an awfully long time for anyone to be in this position. And it eats into you.

"It's actually like a cancer and it just gets worse and worse because there's no resolution until we know what happened to Claudia."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace