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No charges for men investigated over Claudia Lawrence murder

Claudia Lawrence was last seen in March 2009 Credit: Press Association

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed it decided not to charge four men being investigated over the suspected murder of missing York chef, Claudia Lawrence.

The four men, who are all aged in their 50s and come from the York area, were arrested in early 2015, one on 23 March and the other three on 22 April. The men were released from police bail while the investigation took place.

The CPS had been reviewing files of evidence submitted to them by North Yorkshire Police, but now they have decided not to press charges against any of the men.

Police say they are now treating Claudia's disappearance as murder Credit: Press Association

Miss Lawrence, who was a chef at the University of York, was reported missing six years ago, sparking a huge police search for the 35-year-old.

She was last seen on 18 March 2009 after working at the university. She spoke to her parents by phone on the same day and also texted a friend that evening. When she failed to turn up for work the following day, colleagues raised the alarm.

North Yorkshire Police later said they were treating the case as suspected murder although her body has not been found.

New forensic tests were carried out at Claudia's home in 2015, where police revealed they had found fingerprints, and became aware that others had spent time at the address in the lead up to her disappearance.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, the lead investigator in the case says the investigation has been 'compromised' by those with information about Claudia's disappearance refusing to co-operate with police:

I am sure that there are some people who know, or who have very strong suspicions about, what happened to Claudia. For whatever reason, they have either refused to come forward, or have been economic with the truth.

I am left with the inescapable conclusion that this case could still be solved if only people were honest with us. The fact that they are not is agonising for Claudia’s family and they should be ashamed of themselves.

– Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn

Martin Dales, the spokesperson for Claudia's family released a statement on their behalf, praising the efforts of police:

I know Peter, the family and Claudia's friends will be feeling that the search for what has happened to Claudia seems to have turned out to be yet another false dawn in an already forlorn situation.

The police have worked tirelessly to try and find answers but currently without success. It is nearly the 7th anniversary of Claudia disappearing and it seems that we're all back to square one: it's really quite depressing especially as someone is clearly withholding the information needed.

– Martin Dales, Lawrence family spokesperson

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