Minister promises action to help family of missing toddler

On 28 November 1981, Katrice Lee was in an army store in Germany with her mother who was buying food for her daughter's 2nd birthday party later that day.

Katrice disappeared from her mother's sight and has not been seen since. Ever since, her family have been highly critical of the investigation by the Royal Military Police.

Tonight in the House of Commons, Hartlepool MP (speaking on behalf of Katrice's father Richard) said the investigation had been "incompetent, botched and insensitive". He said: "My constituent has suffered the anguish of his daughter going missing every single day for 31 years.

"That anguish is deeper with the knowledge that the investigation has been botched from the start. Incompetence has continued for many years, and we are no further forward in finding out what happend to little Katrice.

"Thirty-one years is far too long. The minister needs to pledge firm action to reassure Mr Lee tonight."

Defence Minister Mark Francois MP promised the family a face-to-face meeting with the Head of the Royal Military Police to question him on the progress of the reopened investigation. He added that there would be no cover up of previous errors made in the original inquiry.

He said: "I understand and support the unwavering determination of Katrice's parents to uncover the truth of what happened, and I can assure them that there will be no attempt to cover up any past failings.

"I am happy to repeat previous assurances given to the family that the Royal Military Police will be open about any failings that are identified, and that when the time is right we will look again at the issue of disclosure.

"I also know that the Provo Marshal Army, the Chief Officer of the Royal Military Police - Brigadier Bill Warren - has indicated that at an appropriate point in his teams work, he will ask a civillian police force to review the entire investigation."