Police fear missing chef 'has come to harm'

The detective in charge of the search for missing university chef Claudia Lawrence voiced fears today that she may have come to harm after meeting up with someone she knew.

Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway said it was "extremely rare" for someone to be abducted from the street by a stranger.

He was speaking a week after Miss Lawrence was last seen leaving work at the University of York.

He said it was possible that the 35-year-old had met up with someone the night before she disappeared.

"My focus is on the people that she knew," he said.

"She would not have got into a vehicle that she didn't know and she wouldn't have gone to meet somebody that she didn't know," said Mr Galloway.

"I believe that Claudia is with or has gone with somebody that she knows."

He said Miss Lawrence spoke to her parents last Wednesday evening and exchanged mobile text messages with two friends.

The next day her phone was switched off or powered down and has not been located.

Mr Galloway said: "She was a prolific texter. We have now gone through Mother's Day. She was somebody that was always in contact.

"She was very, very social. She was speaking to her friends and family all of the time.

"That stopped around about 8.30 on Wednesday evening. Why did that stop? I must be concerned that she has come to harm."

Police today released CCTV footage of Miss Lawrence arriving and leaving Goodricke College, where she worked, last Wednesday.

As she was walking home, she was picked up by a colleague and dropped off at her home in Heworth.

"Seven days on I am extremely concerned," Mr Galloway said.

"My professional judgment is that Claudia has probably come to harm."

He said that, while police had no "tangible" evidence of a crime, there was no reason to believe that Miss Lawrence had harmed herself as she was not depressed and had no financial problems.

He said police were focusing the investigation on people Miss Lawrence knew and appealed to anybody who knew of any relationship she might have had in the past.

He continued: "I would appeal to anybody who knows of a historic relationship or association she might have had with somebody and that's where it will lie."

Miss Lawrence did not appear on any CCTV footage from her normal route to work on Thursday morning, the detective said.

Mr Galloway said North Yorkshire Police were bringing in officers from other forces to help with the search but the focus of the investigation was still on York.



Friends and family described Miss Lawrence as a "creature of habit" and said her disappearance was "totally out of character".

Making a television appeal for her friend's return, Suzy Cooper said: "Claudia's a very sociable and popular person. Everybody likes her and she likes everybody.

"She's a very sweet-natured girl and she's also a creature of habit. She's not someone that's spontaneous and would just flit off somewhere, so the whole thing is totally out of character for her."

Yesterday, Miss Lawrence's father Peter, a solicitor from Slingsby, North Yorkshire, walked part of her route to work, handing out posters appealing for the public's help to find his daughter.

He described Miss Lawrence's disappearance as a "living nightmare".

Her mother, Joan Lawrence, of Norton, North Yorkshire, said she had offered her daughter money for a taxi to work but she turned it down as she "liked walking for the exercise".

Police said Miss Lawrence had no money, bank cards or passport with her when she went missing.

She is described as white, around 5ft 6in and of slim build, with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, blue skinny jeans and white trainers.

Police are appealing for help to find the small blue or green rucksack which Miss Lawrence used to carry her chef's whites to work and was believed to have with her when she disappeared.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform